The germ of this new design began with my frustrations over blogging my travels. The daily blog format is alright for people reading every day as you are travelling and blogging, but a year after the trip is over and they come across day 12 of your round the world trip they have no idea where they are or what is going on.
I spent some time surfing blogs I’d found on sites like css beauty and web-graphics searching for ideas and planning things in my head. After deciding that I like the 2/3 column format that stopdesign did so well I sketched out my design on good old paper. In terms of laying out the content that sketch is still relevant to this day. The next part of the design was the hardest for me – picking out a colour palette.
Thankfully And All that Malarkey came to the rescue with an excellent article about using someone else’s colours. Why pretend that you have style when you can use others! I’d been following the vector graphics section of flickr in bloglines and when I saw the picture of a skeleton at a computer on the phone I realised that it would be my inspiration.
I spent a hell of a long time with photoshop learning how to get the gradient style of the elsewhere and latest thoughts sections but didn’t want it too glassy so I just ended up doing my own version of it. At the same time I was struggling with banner issues. I wanted to make the travel section look like it was written by an australian because I was getting heat in the Missy Higgins lesbian post because people thought I wasn’t an aussie. I tried doing vector graphics of thongs and laptops with aussie maps on them but they all looked shite as you can see.
I’d also toyed with doing some retro luggage with travel stamps banners but it was really depressing also. In the end I realised that I’d fallen in to the trap of concentrating on the prettiness and decided to get back and work on the content. I spent a lot of time with movable type testing out plugins that would achieve the kind of stuff I wanted to do and did it all with minimal styling. Once I sorted out the content and navigation part the rest would flow pretty quickly.
Finally happy with the content I tried doing a weezer t-shirt type logo with my web site address but was still really unhappy so I decided to give in and pay for it at gotlogos.com. I told them my colour scheme and what the site was about and they sent me the image you see up in the top left. It was enough of a catalyst for me to have some luck with the rest of my banner and a few image cuts, blue layering and a vector graphic of me and I had a banner. After that the rest came quickly. UNTIL… I discovered that movable type wasn’t far off a spiffy new beautiful version and I figured I’d wait until that was out and see how it all worked before unleashing the new site on the world.
Coding, testing, importing, testing, breaking, and plugging in became the next step of the journey while I tried living my life at the same time. It’s hard to come home and do the same stuff you were doing in the day but I do enjoy challenging myself with the new technologies. As I’m not naturally graphically inclined I find this really tough but I’ve now reached a stage where I’m really happy with what I’ve pumped out and feel it is my closest design yet in terms of describing me. I only hope my examples of failures haven’t turned you off completely and make you appreciate the final output even more. 🙂