Thursday, July 03, 2008

White on Black

Alas, the issue of my typeface has been raised again.

As Robert the Publisher would tell you, Gutenberg's Bible was printed black ink on white paper, and that wasn't merely a happy accident. Why mess with something that's so good? Typeface is designed primarily to convey meaning, not to look interesting. As it should be.

Yesterday, I got three emails about my typeface. They were all nicely worded, and because I'm a people pleaser I agree with their points and want to make everyone happy. I personally do not like to read white on black, since it makes my eyes hurt. However, I never have to read my own blog, so this is not a problem.

However, those of you who have been around these parts for awhile will remember the Typeface Change Scandal of late 2007. Basically, no matter what other color scheme I chose, people got cranky. Also, the black background reflects the darkness of my soul in a way that beige and green don't quite.

To solve the problem, I syndicated my entire posts a couple of months ago. This way, you can read the whole thing without even logging onto my blog. But I also appreciate not everyone wants to subscribe to my blog--I, personally, don't understand why ANYone wants to hear about my life all the time, but exhibitionist that I am, I am very happy that [checks google stats] approximately 89 people do. Yay! But still. That does not help the other people who stop by from abroad.

So I open the floor for discussion again. Should I change my typeface? We will do a little vote. Anonymous votes will not be counted. Also, I must warn you that if this whole maneuver goes farther than the vote, the democratic process will be dissolved and I will pick my own color scheme, and it will be a boring blogspot template because I don't have any internet skills or funds to hire someone who does.

Opinions, please.

41 comments:

Zoe said...

As an avid lurker, I think it's fine as is. Distinctive, interesting, classic...

Charles Gramlich said...

It doesn't matter one wit to me.

Jaye Wells said...

Dude, seriously? It's your blog. I happen to like the black, but I'd still read even if it changed.

cindy said...

i vote keep it as is! =)

and yes, i do remember the
debacle of 2007! what a mess!

Brian said...

This is not at all helpful but I primarily read you on Google Reader which defaults to black on white. I come to the site when I have a comment and so I don't spend enough time deciding if white on black hurts my eyes or not. AT least it's not purple on black, like half the fugly MySpace pages tend to be.

Maybe tell the people with concerns to read you via an aggregator? But that sounds hostile and inhospitable.

I'm with Jaye. It's your blog. Whatever floats you boat.

Natalie said...

For the longer posts, I'll admit that it hurts my eyes and sometimes I'll stop reading. But I think this is more of a type size issue for me. I've thought several times that if the type was just a smidge bigger then it wouldn't hurt as much.

Aren't you supposed to up the font size for white on black by 2pts? I don't, maybe it's just me.

Christa said...

I'm also an avid lurker. I agree that it's your blog and you should set what the layout looks like.

However, I do read it and it does hurt my eyes. With that said, I could always just subscribe to it like Brian describes (I'm just getting into the whole blog/reader thing, so still a newbie here).

If using reader dumps the text to black on white, then I'm fine on my end.

So in *my* ideal world, it would be easier on the eyes to read your blog. But if you want to keep it as is, I can work around that too.

How's that for a definitive answer?

Precie said...

LMAO! It was only a matter of time before that typography/style issue raised its ugly head again.

I like the current scheme just fine. And, to parrot others, it's your blog.

Perhaps a handy gadget on your sidebar could link to google reader and explain kindly that such subscription sites provide black on white screens.

btw--"Also, the black background reflects the darkness of my soul in a way that beige and green don't quite."
That statement almost convinced me to change my blog to a black background. LOL.

The Trouble With Roy said...

I like it as is.

But I like change for change's sake, too, and sometimes rearranging a room makes you feel like you're living in a whole new house.

So I vote: change.

Nancy Matson said...

I would never make an aesthetic complaint about someone's typeface choice, but honestly, it does make it hard to read. I was so relieved when you offered up an RSS feed (I am one of those 89!) but a black background is quite simply hard on the eyeballs. Going back and forth between a black background and then a white background is temporarily blinding. Sometimes, when I see a black background on a website or blog I don't know, I just quickly hit the backspace.

Christy Raedeke said...

Color me crotchety, but it seems that anyone putting out good, free content should be able to present their information any way they want. Here you are overworked, underpaid, and clearly dedicated to your job and in your scant spare time you inform, enlighten and entertain the unwashed (and now, thankless) masses of writers.

How about a little gratitude, people! If you can’t read it as presented, copy the post into a Word doc, crank the type up to 24 points and have at it. Let’s leave Moonrat to do what she does best and not send her on a design tangent. Unless, of course, we want to start paying for this content.

JES said...

I don't mind the current scheme at all. You mentioned the darkness of your soul, to which I say yes (or rather, I'll take your word for it), but there's nearly always a light tone to your posts and the comments so the white-on-black doesn't seem quite so... so... voice from the tomb, y'know?

Btw, for those concerned about the font size: all (nearly all?) browsers let you adjust the font size. In Firefox and I think in Internet Explorer, the simplest way to do this requires that you have a mouse with a scroll wheel: hold down the Ctrl key and scroll that wheel up and down. There's also a command off the View menu that lets you do this.

D. Robert Pease said...

I would agree with most everyone's comments. I do have a hard time reading white on black. I actually get a bit nauseous after a while. But I also mostly ready your site on my Google Reader, so unless I'm commenting, I don't see the white on black. As a web designer though, I honestly say, if your goal is to target as wide an audience as possible, I'd go to a light background with darker font. Not black necessarily, but a dark grey on white reads really easily. But... all that said. You have good content, and something as trivial as white text on black is not going to stop people from coming.

Colorado Writer said...

It's totally FINE as is.

Conduit said...

My blog also commits the sin of having light text on a dark background, and I'm a web designer. For accessibility, white on black is actually the highest contrast, but that's also what makes it a little tiring. My posts tend to be short, so it's not much of an issue, but yours tend to be longer, and let's face it, have more meaningful content. So, a switch to dark on light might not be a bad thing.

For easiest reading, use the Georgia font as it has more detail in the characters, thus the reader's eyes don't have to work so hard. Whenever I post an excerpt, I use a very pale grey background with a dark grey Georgia type face because it's easiest on the eyes.

If you want, I can have a fiddle with your template.

cindy said...

wow, i never knew people had a hard time reading white on black. i DO like bigger fonts, tho. but yours is fine. good luck digesting the varied opinions. haha!

just go neon green on hot pink. >=p

jjdebenedictis said...

*smacks dentures* Why, back in my day, the computer screens showed yellow-green or yellow-brown text on a black background. We woulda thought white on black was posh. We also only had dialup modem access, and the internet? Pah! All we had was our friend's crappy BBS. Plus it was uphill to school both ways and HEY YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!

(I like the white on black just fine. It's also more energy efficient, so you're doing your part for the environment. :-) )

ggwritespoetry said...

I like the white on black... It goes with your anonymity...

Linda said...

Naw... keep it white on black. I like light text on the dark (hey, it's what I use). Also, a good writer friend, an albino woman with retinopathy, told me that black on white was practically impossible for her to read. She's the one who helped me set up my blog, so I set it up per her consideration (she also reads yours, btw, and am sure she is appreciative).

Peace, Linda

Aerin said...

If one of the people who emailed you was the guy you took to lunch the other day, I'd definitely leave it black just to piss him off.

If /you/ are bored/unhappy with it, then change it, by all means. Puce is a nice dark-soul-color (not).

If you like it, leave it. I think it makes a statement about you the minute someone logs on.

As for Precie going to a black background.....I have to snort. *snort* Precie's soul is about as dark as a bright yellow daisy.

And yay that Jaye said "Dude, seriously?" It makes me feel less gauche when I say it.

Deanna said...

QUICK NOTE: If you SELECT the text, it reverses the type to make it easier to read.

Very simple solution and you get to keep your design.

Mary said...

I love everything about your blog. Once you read the white on black a couple of times, it's a non-issue.

Julie Weathers said...

I went with a dark teal background on mine with the pale gray type. I stare at a computer screen all day and tiny, tiny numbers on massive invoices so my eyes are tired at night. I needed something a little more soothing.

I do notice the white on black tires me out more quickly.

Since Stuart does this professionally, and has offered to play with it if you wish, what have you got to lose? You might like the change. If you don't then say thanks, but I like it better the other way. Just don't go hot pink and black. Someone else has that and I simply can't read that blog.

At the end of the day, it's part of your life. Do what makes you happy.

150 said...

Well, white on black is pretty hard on my eyes, but I don't see you losing many people over the color scheme. Have you tried the look of blue on white or blue on beige? We used to run business letters in those colors and it made all the difference.

Gabrielle said...

Well, it is kind of hard to read, but it's an even greater compliment to your blog that it matters not a whit to your readers!

Perhaps making the letters slightly bigger or thicker?

Katelyn said...

Something to think about that I'm not sure has been mentioned: I just ran across your blog for the first time about a week ago, and I read some of the posts and enjoyed it (hence my being back here now), but if I was seeing it for the first time today, I probably wouldn't have read enough to realize that I want to come back. I know, I know, it's bad to judge a book by it's cover--but people do it, and white-on-black is hard to read (plus it kind of reminds me of the angsty/embarrassing blog I kept in middle school, or of creepy people--but I guess that's a personal problem on my part haha). Anyway, someone who hasn't read your writing before isn't going to take the trouble to copy-paste it into a word processing program--they probably won't even take the time to highlight it, because people are lazy. If you're not worried about attracting new readers, then obviously don't worry about it--suffice it to say I'm glad I found this blog before the facelift, because I'd hate to miss out on good content on account of aesthetic issues. Sorry this is so long, I guess I got carried away. =)

Lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vanessa said...

Another lurker here.

Just in defence of your colour scheme: White text on a black background is supposed to consume less energy than the reverse. So, go Moonrat for caring for the environment :P

Loreth Anne White said...

Love the blog -- but do find the white on black a tad difficult to read, especially the longer posts (since you're asking ... it doesn't stop me coming back, though :))

writtenwyrdd said...

I would like a type that doesn't disappear when I read your blog at work, but that seems to be a work computer problem and not yours. I prefer light font on dark background, too. Easier on my poor light sensitive eyes. But it's your blog. If they want to read it, they can get the feed or suffer.

Michael Tyler said...

I like the white on black. Doesn't bother my eyes, it's different, and besides, it is your blog.

Mario said...

I like your blog, but cannot read it for more than a post or two because the white on black gives me terrible after images. I get kind of sick reading it, so I have to stop.

Not that you should care, but you did ask.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this blog but cannot read it for long because of the white text on the black background. It makes me nauseous. Which sucks because I don't sign up to RSS feeds much. I guess I'd better. Anyway, thanks for such a great blog.

Jeff VanderMeer

Anonymous said...

It is just fine as is. Don't mess with it. It's you. If your readers don't like it, they can stop reading. And surely, more than 89 are reading these. I'm anonymous and will remain so. I suspect I'm not among the counted. So there. Leave well enough alone. It's your voice we appreciate.

Chumplet said...

I have a little trouble reading it, but I just hit my mac command that increases the size of the typeface and then everything's fine.

Mags said...

My husband is legally blind and uses an adaptive software program called ZoomText on the computer. One thing it does is turn the page white on black for him, because he's much better able to read with the contrast reversed.

So, whenever he yells, "honey, come look at his!" I discover he's a lost Nigerian prince with a lost Nigerian bank account or that there are indeed ways to enlarge his penis over the Internet via white print on a black page.

Thus, your page feels like home to me, Moonrat. I haven't noticing you offering my family crowns and untold riches if we send you our bank account numbers anywhere in you archives, however, so it's a bit low-rent for my tastes, but that's alright.

Mags said...

Oh, and people don't need to RSS you at all. They can just open comment page for the entry and click the link below the title that says "18,704 Comments - Show Original Post" and the whole post pops up nice and black-on-white (if you're into that sort of thing).

See? We CAN all get along!

Mrs. Jones said...

Isn't it a reflection of your "reverse" personality? I'd keep it the way it is!

jellybean said...

The current typeface hurts my eyes. Sorry.

ChrisEldin said...

I think you should also put the text in black so we'll have to highlight it to read.
That'd be cool. Like opening a present every single day.
:-)

JKB said...

I have been around for some time (not stalkin, just readin) and I like this new look. It does not hurt my eyes.