A Bit Easier on the Eyes

Hi, and welcome to a slightly modified Collective Inkwell.

You’ll notice that the black background that was behind the content is now a bit lighter and, we hope, easier on the eyes.

While we both LOVE the original background, and particularly the way the cream colored bolds and the orange links popped off the page, many readers said they had difficulty reading light text on black. So, we listened and made the change. Since words are 90% of what we do here, we feel you ought to be able to read them as easily as possible.

We’d love to hear what you think of the new colors and anything else you like or don’t like about Collective Inkwell. This is Version 1.2 of a site that, if my track record of frequently re-designing my sites stays true, will be just one of several.

I have a few thoughts on what I would like to change here, but I’d like your opinions, also. While this is our home we’d like to think of it  also as your home and we want you to feel comfortable.  No, we’re not installing a bar. Not before the indoor swimming pool, anyway.

For those who wonder about such things, the site design you see in front of you was one of the first ones I came up with during the planning stages. Close to launch, I started reconsidering the darkness of the theme and almost went with an almost all white, ultra clean look. Who knows, I may still elect to go that way. However, Sean and his lovely wife, Cindy, both convinced me that the darker theme was much better.

(Edit: Thanks for the feedback on the text and background! We have since changed the background from the light gray to a slightly darker one, and returned the text to a lighter one. We hope this is a decent compromise and provides for easier reading than the light text on a completely black background. If not, we will continue to tweak until we (and you) are satisfied.)

(Second Edit: After much thought, we have gone back to black. However, we have used a gray text, rather than a brighter, almost white text, which we hope increases readability. We’ve also increased the font size from 14 pt. to 15 pt. to help in ease of reading. We will continue exploring options to achieve the best appearance and function.)

Some of the other things we’d like to know:

Would you prefer more frequent but shorter posts?

Do you enjoy reading Available Darkness on Friday or would you prefer another day?

If we set up a separate Twitter account, what would you most like to see us tweet about?

So, feel free to leave a comment below, or email us at collectiveinkwell (at) gmail.com

Don’t forget, we can redesign your blog as well, along with an entire suite of services such as SEO web copy and custom blog posts.


  1. I like it, I’m one of those that has a hard time reading light text on black backgrounds and this is much easier to read. The only thing I have to say, and I hate to break it to you, is that all the finest bloggers have pink themes.

    I like less frequent, meaty posts on a blog like this rather than short, frequent posts.

    No opinion on Available Darkness as I’m so behind that I’m waiting for the book to come out.

    If you had a separate Twitter account, I’d like for it to get into grammar wars with other writing site Twitter accounts. Loudy, messy, public 140 character grammar wars.

    Tracy’s last blog post..Paying the Piper

  2. I feel the most important part is where your content is. The best is black words on white background. The one that you have now (black words on grey background) makes it hard to read because of the lack of visual contrast. Hope this helps.

  3. I come here to feed my writing self. Doesn’t matter if it is a morsel or a full meal. The color of the plate is less important, although I’m old school with the black text on white and do not like this black on grey.

    A Collective Inkwell Twitter account, eh? Hmmm … I guess I’d like to see links to sites, images, ideas that inspire creativity; give and take that makes me smile; and challenges to improve my writing.

  4. Really dig the new background (the black was a bit difficult for me to read).

    Whenever you guys write, I read.

    As for a Twitter account, anything that goes along with copy, writing illustration or content is what I would like to see you guys tweet about. Really excellent idea.

    Dan Miranda’s last blog post..Thirteen?!? Really?

  5. I loved the look of the white on black but was one of those who had trouble reading it for any length of time. I’m sad to say, the black on grey depresses me, detracts from the blue sidebar and is hard to read. Sorry. I appreciate that you’re asking us and trying to make it a great place to be. Maybe try the white and see what folk say? Black and white set off your graphics beautifully.

    I love knowing the story’s on a Friday – the theory being I can read it sometime over the weekend. The reality is, I read it as soon as it arrives!

    I’m happy with whatever you guys are inspired to co-create.

    janice’s last blog post..A Patchwork Post: Authenticity Quotes, Book Giveaway Winners, Link Love and Spiritual Pioneering

  6. Hey guys,

    You know, the black background didn’t bother me too much, but the gray is a bit easier on the eyes.

    I love the sticky note, the pen icons, the fonts and the CI button (alot).

    I’m not sure I like the side/background lettering, but it wouldn’t deter from visiting or coming back.

    Less frequent posts, like Tracy said. Although my definition of “meaty” is under 1k words.

    Also like Tracy, I’m going to have to wait for the book, so no prefs about Darkness.

    Overall, I do love the site.


    Tumblemoose’s last blog post..Community expansion challenge

  7. Hmmm, maybe I’m weird but I found the old one easier on the eyes, and more dramatic. I almost didn’t offer an opinion, but as you asked…

    As for posts, I prefer less frequent, more meaty. Not only does it tend to make posts more of an event, it takes the pressure of trying to keep up! No strong opinions on the other questions, but I love what you do here, so as long as you do too, I’m happy.

    Emma Newman’s last blog post..Confession

  8. Hi guys. Recently discovered your blog and have been enjoying reading it. However…to my 50 year old eyes, the new colors give me an instant headache. How about a lighter gray background. I have light bluish gray background with black lettering on my site which is easy on the eyes. At least I think so.

  9. I’m with Emma, I liked the white on black and had no probs reading it.

    The black background made your blog stunning.

    If you stick with the gray try making it a little lighter.

    Regardless of the colours the writing is wonderful and I enjoy the frequency of posts as they are.

    Paisley (Paisley Thoughts)’s last blog post..The Last Word

  10. Tracy: LOL on grammar wars.

    Whatever damage I do to my eyes is totally worth it for the old design. That white on black could make me wear a dog collar if it wanted. But we love y’all so whatever works for you.

    : > )

    Sean’s last blog post..May

  11. Although I never mentioned it, I too would be one of the folks who have trouble reading light on dark. I do LOVE the look, but my eyes don’t. I am feeling a little sheepish here, however, the truth is I read this through google reader and only come visit when I want to comment…


    Daisy’s last blog post..Can’t decide?

  12. I’m just being a pedant here, but you can’t really have “the black background that was behind the content is now a bit lighter”. The black background is now dark grey, right? 🙂

    Anyway, much better.

    Alan’s last blog post..2009 Australian Shadows Awards open

  13. Much better guys. Only thing is scrolling down the page after reading the post and comments I’m met with a glaring white comment box 🙂

    The way the navigation bar connects or blends with the sidebar is like your signature Dave, I like it.

    I’m not so sure about the header though. I mean it’s just text. Header images are something you excel at, in fact it’s one of the services you offer so why is it missing from your own front page?

    To be honest (and I honestly don’t mean offence by this) I thought your skills lay solely in cartoon drawings but since seeing the graphic for Available Darkness I’m blown away by your talent. Perhaps you can expand on that and come up with something as the header for CI.

    Speaking of Available Darkness I’d vote for Fridays. It seems to be working anyway so why change it now.

    Twitter. I don’t know. The biggest problem you’re going to have is deciding which account you should tweet from. Of course some things will be obvious such as a new post on Writer/Blogger Dad but more often than not you’ll be wondering if you should tweet something from your different account.

    The logistics of handling multiple Twitter accounts can be most overwhelming. I can attest to it, I’m sure Sean can as well. You can’t do it via the web interface unless you use something like Google Chrome’s incognito mode. Tweetdeck doesn’t support multiple accounts but Twhirl does. Unfortunately Twhirl becomes unmanageable as your follower numbers increase.

    Of course there are advantages to having a specific Twitter id associated with your blog, branding and focus for example.

    I don’t know guys. I’m having difficulties with it myself so I’m not much help sorry. Keep us informed though. Hopefully we can all learn through sharing our trials and tribulations.

    Marc’s last blog post..Journey Through Life Like a River

  14. I loved the drama of the white on black. You will never please all of us anyway 🙂
    Layout and content are appropriate for the offering.
    Available Darkness on FRIDAYS – Please.
    Twitter: though I recognize direction to specific sites/blogs is necessary for spreading the word…. I sometimes feel it gets overdone. I may be out to lunch on this, but I feel CI would be well served to use twitter to offer nuggets or wisdom from current or past posts more frequently than just promoting links directly to CI posts. My thinking is: those intrigued by your clever tweet will check your twitter site and follow a link to the CI blog for the whole deal. I know there are so many more layers to the thoughts surrounding twitter, but thats my offering for now. Havimg said that, I also think it is perfectly natural for WD and BD to tweet about CI, and the rest of us to tweet/RT as we are so inclined 🙂

  15. The designer in me loved the original look, but as one with a disability I must advocate function over form in the interest of those having difficulty reading the white on black. The light gray on dark gray is better, but still not enough contrast. Here’s a good article on this subject that may help: http://wdvl.internet.com/Graphics/Color/color2.html

    Regarding the frequency and length of posts, your posts have been informative and enjoyable regardless of length and/or frequency. Please go at a pace that works for you, one that allows you to meet your goals for this site without undue stress. I’m confident that your readers will support you.

    I look forward to getting my Friday dose of Available Darkness, but if another day works better for you I’ll adjust!


    Michael’s last blog post..Picture This: Day 5

  16. Hey there. I prefer less frequent, meaty posts too. I love the grey background here, but I have to say that it is difficult to read the white text on the black background. Especially with the lighter, serif style font. Maybe using a sans serif would help, if you want to keep the black background? Just a thought.

    Davina’s last blog post..Mindful Melancholy

  17. Tracy – Yeah, if only all blogs were pink! As for Available Darkness, why are you waiting for the book?!

    And we’ll get on the grammar wars right away. We’ll be incredibly jingoistic in our war!

    charles – Thanks for weighing in, yes, it does help!

    Lori – Then you’ll be pleased to see that we slightly reverted (again).

    Dan – Thank you!

    Janice – Thank you, the gray is gone. And Available Darkness will remain on Fridays.

    Vered – Thank you, we appreciate it.

    Tumblemoose – Thank you for weighing in. Which side/background lettering do you not like? The background graphic on the page? Or the font in the sidebar? We adjusted the font colors in the sidebar to better pop out against the color.

    Emma – Thank you, and we always appreciate your opinions on the site.

    Robin – Thank you. If you check the comments again, please let me know if you like the current version (black background and light gray lettering). I played around with the blue and it just wouldn’t work with the sidebar we have now. Short of a complete redesign, which I am considering, I’m thinking we’ll stick with the darker color for now. We hope you’ll continue to stop by or read us in a feedreader or via email.

    Paisley – Thank you for your thoughts.

    Daisy – No need to feel sheepish! I read almost all my blogs via an RSS reader and visit when I have time, or something worth adding to the conversation – or something funny to add. Thank you for stopping by, we appreciate it.

    Alan – You may be correct. I was thinking in terms of color addition and subtraction, to me, when I start with one color and then alter it, I consider the new color an alteration of the original until in my mind it becomes the new color. But yeah, you are correct. Thanks.

    Bamboo Forest – Thank you! We try.

    Marc – Thank you. As for the header, I am partial to the text look for this site. I played around with several different images, including some incredibly cartoonish ones, but none of them rang true with the vibe of the site. I’m actually getting more and more into typography and am looking forward to using it to even more dramatic effect in future designs.

    Thank you for the kind words on my art. You may be interested to know that the pen nibs in the sidebar graphics are hand drawn. I was looking all over for a free or cheap image of a pen nib and was not happy with any of the ones I found. So, I decided to draw them. Not sure if they will make it to the next design, though.

    Available Darkness will remain on Fridays, which is the day I prefer, anyway. I hear you on the Twitter thing. I secured an account for this site a while ago, but have simply not found the ideal use for it yet. Thank you for the suggestions.

    Trina – Thank you! And yes, AD will stay put. Thanks for the great Twitter ideas, we will consider them.

    Michael – Thanks for the nice words and suggestions. I am going to consider the font and colors carefully and may wind up re-designing the entire site rather than put a bad background color in the content area that doesn’t compliment the rest of the design.

    Davina – Thank you, I will experiment with the different font types. Feel free to comment at any point.

  18. You may be interested to know that the pen nibs in the sidebar graphics are hand drawn.

    Now that’s something you’re going to have to write a blog post on :0

    Plus I wouldn’t mind reading your thoughts on typography, maybe a series of tutorials or something.

    The writing on this site is truly outstanding and is indeed inspiring but lets hear more about the other stuff in your 125×125 ad such as illustration 🙂

    Oh and I’m starting a vote. Everyone who thinks Dave should keep the hand drawn pen nib on his next design say aye.


    Marc’s last blog post..How to Destroy Your Chance of Getting a Link to Your Website

  19. Yay – the black’s back! Much more stunning, and the content is worth any eye wobbles.

    janice’s last blog post..Back Up, Pass On…

  20. I really like the gray on black! Combined with the change in font size I think it works very well.

    Oh, and AYE like the nib too!

    Michael’s last blog post..Picture This: Day 6



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