A fresh coat of paint

A fresh coat of paint is a useful thing to throw around. It can lead to better looking spaces and refresh your feeling about a place.

I’ve thrown a new coat of paint on this website, cleaning out some of the old bits and simplifying it even further from the previous incarnation. The changes are mostly cosmetic, so let’s take a look at those first.

This site, version 3.0 (created in October of 2012).

This site, version 4.0 (created in June of 2013).

As you can see, I’ve kept the same basic principles behind the site the same, but the implementation of them has changed a bit.

Typography

The site is now using the most excellent Freight superfamily (Pro and Sans Pro, in this case) by Phil’s Fonts. After recently purchasing a subscription to Typekit, I was itching to move away from Georgia.

Aside from the typeface itself, I’ve paid a lot more attention to such typographic features as leading, measure, and vertical emphasis/rhythm.

Regarding that last point, I used Modular Scale to generate a nice typographic scale based off major third musical intervals. Font sizes are all em-based as well, allowing for great resizing just by changing the base size.

Colours

Whereas previously I was using a monochromatic blue scheme, I’ve spiced it up a bit this time by adding in the accent colours of orange and blue, which complement the base shades of grey.

There was no strategy in picking these colours apart from the fact that they should contrast well and “pop” (whatever that means). I picked them all by clicking randomly in the Photoshop colourpicker until I got ones that worked.

Workflow

The core technology running this site is still the same (see my post about the previous update for more information), however I did change my workflow significantly this time around.

I depended a lot more upon git and the features it provides for this version. The power of branching was much appreciated as I worked to solve different problems, because I could try out different solutions and switch quickly between them.

One thing which I did a bit overzealously with this workflow was commit. If you look at the repo for this site, you’ll see that, before the redesign, I had committed 32 times from October 2012 to June 2013. Since starting upon my redesign journey, I’ve committed 85 times over 4 days.

In future workflows, I’ll try to not commit incremental changes as much as I did here. I’d like my commit style to be a bit more restrained, and perhaps limit it to implementation of features, or significant work towards doing so.

Content/Navigation

One of the most frequent complaints/points of confusion with the last incarnation was the lack of navigation (other than the link to the home page in the header). This was a major issue. It’s now fixed.

I also decided to rewrite my content (already published articles excluded) to be a bit more casual. Amusingly enough, I’d been trying to do so with the last version; but I hadn’t gone quite far enough.

Along with this rewriting, I reorganized and cut down significantly on the amount of content I had that wasn’t article-based. I didn’t need a whole page dedicated to contacting me, so I got rid of it. I added some useful links to the footer, but I didn’t surround them with too much explanation. They can speak for themselves. This is something that we need to do a lot more of—cleaning out and sorting our virtual garages, if you would.

To new adventures

This past year has had many big changes in it for me. I decided that this would be a perfect time to rebuild something I’ve always considered a rather core part of my identity, at least the online part of it.

I look forward to the new adventures coming for me and this site. I’ve got exciting things cooking, and I hope to be revising the design with new features from time to time.

As it has always been, the core of this site remains its content. I hope the content is strong enough to stand its own without a fancy new coat of paint. But the fresh paint certainly does make it nicer on the eyes.

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