In Notes Basic, all Unread messages in the Inbox are the color Red. Instead, these messages show in Black font, and the only indicator these messages are Unread is the asterisk (or star) unread mark indicator. Here's a screen shot depicting this problem:
Unread messages are not the color red. Instead, they are in a black font
The cause of this behavior is the User Preference "Use System Theme" and/or the "Use System Colors" setting which are stored under File --> Preferences --> User Preferences, "Additional Options".
This setting is only found in the Notes Basic build, yet affects the Standard Build as well.
For more information about the "Use System Theme" or "Use System Colors" options, please refer to the following
In addition to changing the User Preferences, this setting can also be applied through the Desktop Policy's option "Use System Colors", which is stored under Preferences --> Miscellaneous. If this Setting option is set to "Enabled", then all Unread messages will appear in the font color black, and not red.
Note: The "Use Theme Colors" is not an available option in the Desktop Setting document.
Although this setting is only found in the Notes Client Basic UI, it will also impact the Standard Client. If the option "Plain Red Text" is selected under Preferences ---> "Fonts and Colors" ---> "Unread Mail Indication" the unread marks will still appear in Black font. This also includes setting the Unread Mark font color using the Desktop Setting Policy option.
Another cause for the unread mark color to be displayed as black rather than red is the OS setting to "Use High Contrast" in Window's Accessibility Options. When option this is enabled the client can no longer change their Windows and Themes setting as that option is greyed out. For further information see technote: 1440332.
Lotus Notes 8.5.1 Basic
Lotus Notes 8.5.1 Standard --> Only if the "Unread Mail Indication" is set to "Plain Red Text"
Diagnosing the problem
To diagnose this issue, verify if the user (or users) have the User Preference Additional Option "Use System Colors" enabled.
Resolving the problem
This behavior is working as design. With the "Use System Colors" option, the Notes Client will retrieve your OS settings "Message Box" Text color. This setting can be found in the Desktop Properties --> Appearance, Advanced button:
To view unread marks in the color "Red", change the color in the Desktop Properties, Advanced Appearance section from "Black" (default) to "Red".
NOTE: All Message Box text on the OS will appear in Red font, and it will only change the font color in Basic. The Standard client will still show the unread marks in the color black, with the option "Plain Red Text" enabled under File --> Preferences --> Fonts and Colors, "Unread Mail Indication"