Disturbing, eye-unfriendly light/dark contrasts in menus and icons

I notice again (like in Cubase 10) that the newly introduced contrasts in menu interfaces and icons are simply not eye-friendly.
This unnecessarily strains the eyes and simply nerves at work.

It was good as it was in Nuendo 8.3 and I hope that Steinberg would leave it at the premium product with the good ergonomics, but unfortunately not.
You don’t have to break good and mature things just for the sake of change ?!

We all know in IT that screen work is exhausting for the eyes.
Does none of your developers / product managers have a healthy feeling for ergonomics anymore ?

Please undo or at least make it switchable, then everyone can load his hip “skin” if he has other/strange views on this topic.

An example where you can see this very well: Steinberg Hub.
Nuendo 8.3: Black writing on a light background is much more eye friendly and easier to read.
Nuendo 10: Bright writing on a dark background results in a very unergonomic and eye-unfriendly contrast.

The icon bar was also more eye-friendly to read before than now with these crass bright/dark contrasts.

Too bad, according to Steinberg Support it can’t be changed.

But then Nuendo doesn’t make sense to me either. Then I’d rather stay with Cubase 9.5 and wait until that changes again.
During that time, potentially years who knows, I won’t be able to buy product upgrades :-/

Among other things, I was looking forward to ARA, it’s very frustrating that these GUI changes now block me for getting ARA support.

Now I had sadly to cancel the crossgrade from Cubase 9.5 to Nuendo (as I had to do before with Cubase 10).
And now I’m stuck at Cubase 9.5 :-/ Potentially for years until it changes back or never …

It’s unbelieveable that a “professional” company like Steinberg makes such drastic and unnecessary changes to their software.

I am obviously very dissatisfied and frustrated with this direction as I upgraded this product since Cubase version 1 and feel kind of lost now as all upgrade paths are blocked for me now by this.


The Nuendo 10 GUI is as enticing as a funeral. And even more depressing.

I don’t really get on with Logic Pro X, but their dark interface is at least useable. The contrast ratio is just about right. And of course you can make it look however you want with third-party themes. Steinberg should fire their designers and replace them with designers sensitive to human beings.

“How much more black could this be. and the answer is none… none more black”


tip: buy a new/better flat screen or adjust the settings… ^^

N10 looks really good on my 4k screen - great GUI improvements! it’s really fun to work for hours with it.

See Adobe´s darker GUIs!
Modern tft´s are much brighter, but there are no real white colors. A high proportion of blue, harmful to the eyes . Because of that: dark GUIs.

Nevertheless, I hate Logic´s toyish GUI design, in S1 the 2D flat GUI design is horrible and so bad on the eyes, especially if you work with more than 50+ tracks (LOL) comparatively. :confused:


I quite like dark UIs, but the text is too bright on top of it.

Whatever happened to the UI colour controls :frowning:

Black writing on white background is easier to read on paper.
On screens it is the opposite, white writing on black background is easier to read and more eye-friendly.
That is because a screen creates light (active) while a paper absorbs or reflects light (passive).
A white background means that far too much light comes directly to your eyes and they will be tired much sooner.
You have no idea what you are talking about and I could bet you don’t even talk from experience but from a wrong theory and so your entire thread makes no sense.
Calibrate your screen properly.


Literally no one in UX design proscribes putting full-white text on hard-black background.

Look at the style of ‘dark mode’ on most user interfaces, like mac os. The background is a dark grey and the text is a light grey. Even back on DOS days with a black background text was still a light grey rather than full white.

But the UI of Nuendo is also not full-white on full-black. I know that there are nuances to that but basically you go for light writing on a darker background on screens.

Light text on dark background is something I absolutely hate. As soon as I look away from that area my eyes need to adjust. Much less so when it’s the opposite.

Agree. But doesn’t this thread demonstrates the exact dilemma faced by Steinberg. Human taste. Person 1 thinks Person 2 is an idiot for liking something different. One might notice while eating that we have different types of Cuisine and not everyone likes the same food (i.e taste). It’s one thing to state your preference, as MattiasNYC did above, but…

To go beyond that and presume that the way YOU see, and I’m talking about myself here as well, is THE correct way to see and behave as though you speak for everyone is Ludacris. And yes I know speech-to-text just put a rapper’s name in there but I kind of dig it so I’m leaving it.

The most productive and immediate solution is to learn as intimately as possible the end-user options for colors in the main work areas and get it as close to what you prefer as possible. Any ranting about the “correct” color and contrast to use is never going to prevail since there will be someone else who feels quite differently. No way Steinberg can get everybody happy at once. So maybe reshape your Nuendo colors to the best of your ability, go to therapy if needed, and then find peace with the world.

You guys made my day.
Thanks for beeing refined and civil, with subtlety.

“I love the smell of sarcasm in the morning”…

But questioning Steinberg’s professionalism is okay? I wouldn’t have said anything if the thread starter wasn’t going that far as well as polluting other threads as well with that uninformed opinion. So maybe read the starter’s post again and talk about being refined and civil.

No you read me wrong Teh Asphyx,
I wanted to thank you both for putting things right into place.
You may have read the other thread https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=291&t=159018 where the OP from this thread came as an arrogant and disrespectful person towards me because I was showing enthousiasm about the new GUI.
As you used the exact formula he used, I saw it as a give back. Which I really appreciated.
Same goes for Getalife with his analysis.

I found the move elegant and much more civil than the way the OP came across on both threads.
Well enough for me now.
Have a great weekend.


now, that’s the spirit !

Which is why most websites (including this one) are dark text on white? Most text writing programs such as microsoft word?

Wtf are you going off about mate?

What software are you experiencing? Video programs maybe, that’s because if one is working with video they don’t want distracting colours/light - they only want to be monitoring that within the video itself, not the video editor.

The only reason there was ever white text on black is because the early days of computer that was the most sensical low power way to display any graphic on screen. The modern reason today, would be in coding programs, but that’s because coders color-code the different types and sections of code to make it easier to identify different parts of what they are working on which otherwise just looks like a jumble of text, ie it’s hard to see yellow on white, bright green on white, etc, etc…

I have a relatively new screen, it’s a LG ultrawide, not quite 4k, but it’s in the 3k pixel range, everything looks clear and is easy to read until I start looking at Cubase dialogue boxes, preset lists, etc, etc. This is undeniable. Terrible GUI design.

There are already pages and pages of people on the Cubase forum discussing this.



no contest as to which is better.


Not to mention, the darker a screen, the more it becomes reflective to external light… lights in your room, gear lights on your desk, sunlight, etc.

Teh Asphyx is absolutely right, and there is no doubt. Almost any coder in this world uses a dark background, which is the default for ANY serious text or code editor in this world. Have a look at the top 4 editors:


So, are you actually saying that coders, the people that probably spent the most time with screen work, are all mistaking? This has nothing to do with ‘old times’, but avoiding too much brightness from the screen is simply the best way to avoid stress and eye injury with unhealthy jobs like screen work.

Websites and classic word processors (like -uhmmm- MS Word) cannot be taken as examples. Regarding word processors, it’s clear that they historically aim to give the user a preview of a print out. This is pretty okay. Regarding websites, I think (cannot give you a proof though) that we see a clear tendency of darkening backgrounds. At least for professional products. Look at Steinbergs website (sic!), or Native Instruments, Protools/AVID, Universal Audio, Adobe (partially). Do you notice something? They all are completely dark or have at least a increasingly dark tendency (menus, footers) if you compare them with their older counterparts.

I highly recommend you: Give it a try. After some time, you will never look back.

No he is fundamentally wrong. Did you not read my post? I addressed your question before you even asked it.

There is no clear tendency at all of darkening backgrounds. at all.

@WastingYourTime: Of course I read your post. Regarding editors for code, most (if not all) can be switched to a light mode, and the readability will not suffer. I just tried that with Visual Studio in some common languages (btw. in my earlier days as a programmer I actually used VS with white background!), and all contrast remains pretty fine. If not even BETTER.
One important point is that people with astigmatism (which are approx. 50% of all humans) can read black text on white far better and more sharp than inverted text. But that doesn’t mean that this is better for the eye or brain. For further information have a look at https://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/52833/which-color-scheme-to-choose-for-applications-that-require-long-work-hours/52947#52947.
Still, when working for more than 7-8 hours per day, especially in dimmed environments, the dark background is very welcome. Glasses should be used to overcome the issue with astigmatism.

The more I test C10 and N10, the more I want the old Nuendo 8.3 graphic back so hard. Steiny, is it possible to make it selectable between the 8.3 and the 10 graphic? Please, the new graphic is a pain in the eye. :frowning: