Friday, February 1, 2008

Why Black?

I've been reading some things on the internet recently about website and blog design, since I do all my own stuff. Specifically, the colors that are used on your websites and blogs, and why you use them. And I started wondering, will people understand why I chose the colors that I did?
I am a paranormal romance writer. It's one of the reasons I chose the orangey-gold eyes as my "icon". Are they wolf's eyes? Cat's eyes? I'm not sure myself, but they fit in with my paradigm, so I'm good with that. But, why the black? I'm not a goth-type writer. I tend more towards a touch of humor, perhaps a little mystery, and relationships where it's okay to laugh in bed with each other. I noticed that some of the writers who put out material similar to mine have lightly colored websites and blogs, with romantic pictures of flowers, men and women, or flowers near/on men and women.
Huh. And I thought, should I change my stuff to be closer to what seems like the norm?

Why not? It's simple, really. It has to do with two things.

1) I am a migraine sufferer. I know I've mentioned it before, especially when one hits and knocks me on my ass for a few days, leaving my characters wondering where I've taken myself off to. But because of those migraines I can't work with bright, shiny computer screens. I find that, if I keep things dark on my screen, by the third day of the onset of my migraine I'm able to get back to work. If things were shiny and happy and bright it would take me a lot longer. In fact, in the past I've stupidly assumed that because I didn't get the sharp sensation of shards of glass entering my eyeballs every time I glanced out of a window that I could sit for a few hours and play video games or read on my computer, usually in the white with black lettering that Adobe, MS Reader and .HTML books come in.
I was wrong. So, so wrong. Dare I say it? Painfully wrong.

2) Eye strain. I spend a lot of time at the computer, and for some reason I find bright white pages can trigger said migraines (along with stress; stress is not good). I get headachy within an hour of staring at black and white pages, making it impossible for me to work. Because of that, I have MS Word set to the blue background, white lettering option unless I'm in edits. If it's blue/white then I can't see Angie's comments, which might be why I missed some of the twitchy lips and eyes.
I know those are somewhat selfish reasons for why I chose the colors that I did. I've seen a lot of beautiful web sites done in soft, glowing colors that I envy and want for my own. But let's be honest. I design my own website, put up the pictures, edit and update information on a bi-weekly to monthly basis. I will spend a few hours getting it just right, rather than mostly right, because I want you to enjoy what you're seeing without having to worry that I've put up something not quite right or just plain wrong.
And, after a bit more research, I discovered that black may be... well... the new black. Taryn Blackthorne, Linda Winfree, Sherri L. King, Sherrilyn Kenyon, JR Ward... well, you get the picture.
And since I'm not at all fond of the sensation of Godzilla attempting to rip his way out of the top of my skull while I heave in a bucket, black it is.


Angela James said...

I don't read black websites (sorry, Dana!). I keep a handy little tool in my toolbar called zap colors. It makes the background white, the font black.

I spend an average of 12-15 hours looking at a computer screen each day and white on black kills me, so it's either zap the colors or not read it. It's just not reading friendly when you're straining your eyes so long on the computer each day.

But I know people use it because they like the effect so I'll just keep my zap colors tool handy :P

Dana Marie Bell said...

Huh. I have the opposite problem (obviously). =) But that tool sounds pretty cool. Maybe I'll do some research, see if I can find something similar.

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