Design inspiration

Building Flexible Components With Transparency

I sometimes forget that transparent colours can solve certain contrast and design issues like the following:

The panel is using a subtle gray (#ddd) to draw a border between its contents and the surrounding page. But when the page background gets closer to #ddd, the design doesn’t work as well.

Using transparency, we can keep the same effect on white backgrounds while ensuring increased contrast on other backgrounds. Here I use a black color set to 0.135 opacity instead: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.135). This matches #ddd on white backgrounds but automatically appears darker on other backgrounds:

This technique also works well on lightly colored backgrounds. The panel will pick up the underlying colors and display them through the transparent black: