When I decided to retire the “disco pink and black” layout of this site and go in a new direction, it was fueled by one lone desire: to zig where others zag. I’d seen the trendy design memes getting passed around the blogosphere. Horizontally split layouts. Dark backgrounds. Widescreen layouts. Gradients. Oh, the gradients!!! And there’s nothing wrong with following trends. I follow some trends and will probably follow some of them for quite some time. Trendyness doesn’t change a good thing. It’s just that what I was aiming for was to point my canoe upstream, as it were, and paddle against the current. Do something both representative of myself and oddly different from the vast majority of designers’ sites. So I sit here now, look at my new site, and feel a twinge of regret that I didn’t take this as far as it could go. Sigh.
I could make excuses. I’m good at that. ;) I had a self-imposed deadline. What I had looked pretty good. There are a lot of good ideas in what I did. Et cetera. But the truth is, I’m not really proud of this work—not like I was after finishing The Pink Design. You know that feeling? It’s clear when you’ve raised the bar for yourself, and it feels good. And I just don’t have that feeling. You could say I’m obsessing, and I’d say that’s great. I’d rather obsess and succeed on all fronts than settle for average and never feel satisfied.
This is, of course, all purely subjective. I’ve had dozens of people compliment me on this here Hot Chocolate design. And that’s cool. I think they’re right. This is not about popular opinion, it’s about an internal goal—one that I know I haven’t reached.
So is this goal reachable with a few tweaks here and there? Um, no. I feel that I simply took too “safe” of a creative direction here, and I need to start anew and plow headfirst back into my original idea. Even though I’m only at the beginning (again), I can say that I’m much more excited about the direction my design is going. Am I breaking new ground? Probably not. Will everyone’s jaws drop when they see the next incarnation of this site? I doubt it. This renewed effort is about staying true to myself, ignoring the temptation to make visual design decisions based of what I think others will like, and feel proud of what I’ve done—even if what I do elicits a “dude, what were you thinking” response from my general readership.
Safe is BAD. Don’t ever aim or settle for safe. And if you suddenly, accidentally, and traumatically find yourself in a safe place, consider breaking out of there—especially on your personal webspace. This is a place for design to try new things. And maybe cause a ruckus.