Another week has passed and I've made good final progress on the design. In fact, I feel I'm where I want to be to start hacking graphics and coding the design into XHTML and CSS templates for the site.
Since my last post I've wrestled with colors. My original intent was to carry forward the colors from my old weblog design, in more muted tones. As I continued to look at the burnt orange, teal and purple, I felt these were just not working with the new design. They felt dated, probably because I've been looking at them for years.
After color discussions with my pal Andy, I decided to make a break with the past. Last week's chips showed muted blues with burnt oranges. Andy suggested a burgundy might be a nice accent, so I began experimenting with burgundy on my layouts. I liked the contrast, and realized burgundy is a color I love (two favorite shirts prove it).
You can see my progression from greenish-blue and burnt orange to the addition of burgundy on 03.8a, 03.8b, 03.8c, 03.8d and finally 03.9. In the end, I liked the color balance: cool, muted blue, rich burgundy, warm burnt orange as an accent color and the ever useful gray.
As you can also see, I've kept the plain text navigation (which will be built using an unordered list) and have added an orange tint and orange diamond to differentiate it from other blue section headers while staying consistent with them. My thinking for these is to use background images for the navbar graphics. I may also utilize the hover feature of links to create a rollover effect... we'll see.
I wrestled with the Three (3) vs. Two (2) column design a bit as well. Three columns offered nice flexibility and readability for the site, but also meant that I would need to fill a third column — specifically a "sideblog" (Notable) and the quote section (Quotable). The quote section was an add on from the start, so it was relatively easy to leave off.
The Notable section was harder. I wanted to have an outlet for links in a sideblog, for busy days when a full post is difficult. However, reality settled in. I have very limited time... why was I adding another weblog to my list of to-dos? I would much rather invest time into quality weekday posts than into maintenance of a good sideblog.
Lastly, I felt the need to simplify the design — going to two columns resolved the complexity issue and put focus back on the post section of the weblog — another goal from the outset. Writing is after all, the whole point.
Bye Bye Radio Waves
As much as I liked the idea of radio waves, they just never worked as I'd envisioned. I tried textures, airbrush techniques and fine lines, but each variation seemed to bother me when intersecting text on the page. Following my gut and the simplicity rule, the radio waves had to go. Maybe at a future point I can add them back — if a solution presents itself.
Other small details were added: rounded edges for nav and sectional bars, slightly larger fonts overall, new icon and tweaked text for Lowdown, adding my name to the "World Famous Designer" tagline up top (that tagline is a joke, BTW), and a gradation on the bar behind the globe.
Hack & Code
So, with my design settled, it's time to start the graphic hacking and XHTML/CSS coding of the template. So let the fun begin. I plan to have the template completed by next week, but as I'm off for vacation the week after, it may move into August. We shall see.
Have a great weekend everyone! :-)