What Is Goth?
By J. Thom Mickelson

In the Beginning

The earliest days of the World Wide Web (1992-95) provided essentially one background color for Web pages, at least by default: grey. By 1995 or so, you could create a background graphic and the BACKGROUND="nameoffile.gif" offered an alternative. Or, in the interest of a briefer load time, you could specify a Websafe background color in place of a background file; in other words, BGCOLOR="#FFFFFF" for a white background or BGCOLOR="#000000" for a black one.

Goth as Cool
The first generation of geek designers to so use this option often chose the latter, because it was considered "GOTH." As in "gothic," you ask? I doubt it. As in "VisiGoth?" Perhaps. But black provided a rich saturation, helped other colors stand out and just looked cool

The Dark, Spiritual Connotation

But does a Goth background on a Website give it Satanic overtones? Only if you want it to be, I suspect. If you want to talk about Spiritual issues, you should explore other sites so focused (including one of my own under development. And it, by the way, chooses light over darkness. In both contexts.)

The deadly Columbine twosome of 1999, as I recall from news accounts, dressed as Goth cultists, only further purveying such symbolism. There is enough Goth, intentional or otherwise, in Website design to diminish any consistent correlation it might suggest with the Prince of Darkness.

This site, for one, does not intend to lead its readers along the way of darkness, either implicitly through color choice or images, or explicitly through its text content.

Practical Bottom Line

But the most practical argument against a black background on the Web is that it makes text more difficult to read. So if you choose to use a black background, as I have with this site, it argues for providing links to "printer-friendly" versions of pages likely to be sent to a printer. After all, most printers (and browsers other than recent versions of Internet Explorer) dislike white-on-black pages even more than the human eye.




Copyright © 2001, J. Thom Mickelson. All rights reserved. Reproduction permitted for reference only.