If you’re here on the ol’ www domain and not off somewhere remotely viewing from RSS-Land or Content-Aggregationville, welcome. Take off your shoes, grab a pillow and have a seat by the coy pond. That’s right. Feels, good, doesn’t it?
So this is it. The skin of my identity for the next indeterminable length of time. It’s quite a departure from what was here before, but such is my way. I didn’t sign up for the CSS Reboot this year, but I suppose it’s logical to lump this redesign into that event. Then again, I may sign up _ex post facto_-style.
Let’s Talk About Type.
I find that my design inspiration often revolves around typography and color. I’m typographically challenged, but I know what I like and I know what mood I want the type to set (pun totally intended). For this more earthy and Zen-like idea I had in my head, the search was on for a new primary typeface (I still love you, CHANL. We can still be friends.). My logo had long been buried in a stomp box, and, upon moving it out into a position of more prominence, I needed a font that would compliment its angular shapes while still posessing some character. I dabbled quite a bit, mixing and matching fonts with hues. Color schemes came and went — until I settled on the double-barreled salvo of Serifa BT and Clarendon. Serifa BT’s chunky serifs provided a perfect compliment to my logo while its rounded shapes maintained a friendly, woodcut attitude. And Clarendon is just sexy.
On Color and Going Wide.
The color palette evolved from simply taking the time to play. Too often “playing” is perceived as a waste of time, but it’s in those moments of freeform expression and doodling that some of the best ideas can come. Pink was a color I wanted to stick with, as it has become a color associated with this site. I also like it quite a bit and didn’t want to lose it. Brown just kind of fell into place as an interestingly neutral, serene counterpoint to pink. It also reinforces the earthy, woodcut look and feel of the logo and logotype. In retrospect, it’s pretty much the colors of Neapolitan ice cream which is fitting considering my bottomless love of ice cream (and basically anything containing sugar).
This new design also takes a little leap in layout width, from 750 to 900 pixels. To be honest, it feels a bit weird but I’ll come around. And I know you all have monitors the size of Buicks, so I’m not worried. The extra width gave me the space to rock the 3-column layout the right way. My Back In Black design from a couple years back did the 3-column thing, but it always felt a little tight around the waist.
Designing From The Deepest Page.
I don’t recall exactly where I ran across this advice, but it’s sound all the same. With only about 25% of my site traffic entering through the traditional “home” page, it has become apparent that sub pages — individual articles and portfolio pages, to be exact — are my new “landing pages.” That being the case, I designed the deepest page on the site first and worked my way back to the traditional Home page. I’m not sure if doing so affected the design in any measurable way, but I did find myself considering simple things such as “What else would someone reading this page be interested in? How can I make it easy for them to get there?”
I don’t know if that’s the correct term, but I’m going to use it anyway. I’m a fan of Garrett Dimon’s navigation (which I shall call conversational, again) for the way it wraps navigation in a natural sentence. I like this idea and thought I could apply it, at least in part, to my Home page. While there is no “traditional” navigation on this page, all the navigational links found on the site’s sub pages are present there — just fitted into headlines and conversational elements. It’s a bit unusual, and I’m curious to see how it does.
- Have fun.
- Try something new, and perhaps less “safe”
- Maintain my identity (and hopefully my brand, but that’s really up to you now isn’t it?) while exploring new visual styles.
- Use design as a means to revitalize my passion around the things this site expresses.
- Use redesign as a ceremonial platform for introducing a podcast.
- Refamiliarize myself with CSS and Textpattern.
- Implement a consistent, global search.
- Feature Portfolio works on the Home page.
- Retire the old “Audiofile” section (links to music, later absorbed by Loving…
- Add Flickr badge, since I have become more active on Flickr
- Reduce footprint of Plugged In links on Home page, as that list has been less updated over time (but it’s still relevant)
There will no doubt be endless amounts of tweaking and refinement over the next few weeks, as is my wont. Your comments are always appreciated!