Controlling contrast is a good method for establishing Hierarchy and dominance in a layout. When looking at the color spectrum on a black background, the eyes are drawn first to the colors with the highest luminosity, yellow and cyan. You might notice the dark blue later because it contrasts less with the black background.
If you then compare the same color spectrum surrounded by white, the lighter colors such as cyan and yellow do not stand out as much because they contrast less from the white background.
By understanding contrast, you can have a greater control over the impact that the layout elements such as color, font and imagery, have on your design.
You can use this tool http://webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker/ to check the contrast of your chosen foreground and background colors. It will tell you if your chosen colors pass or fail.