An update on profile colors and themes

On April 12, we’re saying goodbye to custom colors and fonts on Medium profiles — here’s why

Harris Sockel
The Medium Blog

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Update as of April 12, 2023: We’ve ended support for custom background colors, accent colors, and fonts on all profiles. If you notice any issues or want to share feedback, please leave a response here — and check our blog for more updates.

Three years ago, we introduced new tools to help you customize your Medium profile. You could set background colors, accent colors, fonts, and more. Our goal was to help you make Medium yours — a place on the internet where you can create context for your readers and establish your brand (similar to a personal blog or website).

Many of you tried it out! We’re grateful that you did.

Yet, in the time since launch, we haven’t seen the widespread adoption we’d anticipated. More importantly: We want Medium to be accessible to everyone — and as much as we appreciate the flexibility of custom profile themes, we know they can sometimes make reading more difficult. That’s especially true for readers with color blindness or other visual sensitivities, but it applies to anyone. If you’ve ever abruptly switched from dark to light-background pages while browsing Medium, you know how tiring on the eyes it can be.

There are lots of potential solutions to the accessibility issue: We could limit the color options available to writers, or build reader-only filters (like Dark Mode). Those are all on the table — but we also want to focus our resources on our core mission: building the best place for people to share their stories, experiences, and knowledge with the world. And investing more effort in optimizing custom themes doesn’t feel essential to that mission.

For these reasons, we’re ending support for custom profile background colors, accent colors, and fonts on April 12. If you’ve set a full-page custom background color on your profile and story pages, it will revert to white. Profile accent colors will revert to green. Profile fonts will revert to sans serif for headings and serif for body text (that’s the font you’re reading right now).

Profile headers will not be affected by this change — your header background and logo are still fully customizable at medium.com/me/design, and we don’t plan to change that. Publication background colors, accent colors, and fonts will not be affected by this change, either. (Though we do have updates in store for publications! Watch this space.)

I know many of you have put time and care into designing your profiles, which is why we’re giving you advance notice. You can always leave a response here or email us at writersupport@medium.com with any questions, concerns, or feedback.

Lastly, check back on our blog for future updates to the Medium story page. We’re working on improvements that put your words first, limit distractions, and let you (once again) customize the size of images in your stories. Overall, we want to return to a more focused reading experience, and a writing experience where you can do the fun part (write) without worrying about extraneous settings.

As always, if you have thoughts on what we should build next, let us know! Drop a line in the responses. We’ll be reading every response that comes in.

Here are some answers to questions we anticipate you might have. I’ll update this section based on questions I see in the responses:

  • What about stories in publications? Stories in beta publications will retain their custom background colors and fonts, but those themes will be going away in a future update later this year. We’re moving toward black text on a white background for all story pages on Medium.
  • Will Medium build dark mode? We’re considering it! We’re also considering other reader-facing customizations to meet specific accessibility needs. We know there’s much more we can do to make Medium accessible for everyone, and this change is just a first step. If you have suggestions for customizations we could build, let us know in the responses.

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