Clarity of Communication

Well, yes, if what you are doing is writing something you expect
people to read, you would not want to put light against black. But
you just proved my point. You did not read what I said. I said "I am
for art first and legibility afterward, as long as it is the art I am
trying to present, because most people don't read anyway." It is
right there in the part you quoted.

Naturally, if I write something that I really want people to read, I
will not put it on a background that makes it even harder for people
to read. We web designers and developers tend to be much more
literate than the ordinary run of people. If we weren't we would not
be here communicating like this. But even we get in the habit of
just scanning over it and drawing inaccurate conclusions about what
was written. Happens all the time, and you can find frequent
examples right here on this list if you look for them. There will
probably be one or two more later today.

Not so long ago, I wrote a brief essay explaining how a small plugin
for a piece of software works, and gave it to someone whose name
shall never pass my lips, but who is a consummate expert in that
software. He did not get the concept from the two or three paragraphs
I had written, and asked me question after question about things that
had nothing to do with the subject, but which he had somehow thought
of while reading my words. I had prepared a set of instructional
step-by-step screen shots for newcomers, so I showed them to him. The
only text on them were just names like "Step 1, Step 2, etc" ... and
some arrows.

He looked at the first screenshot closely, nodded his head in
understanding, and went to the next one, then the next and on to the
end. Then he looked back and forth at the different screenshots,
nodding his head and making enlightened comments. He never asked a
single question. He got it.

There was nothing in those pictures that wasn't clearly and simply
described in the words, and this person is literate if anyone is.
Possibly more so than you and I.

So, again, I am not saying don't use white backgrounds under black
type. I don't have my e-mailer set up that way, and would be
surprised if anyone does. I am saying do what is effective. If you
are creating certain kinds of art that looks its best on a black
background, the text is secondary, and may not even be necessary. If
it is, you might be well advised to put it on another page.

... Doug