Design Indecision

I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on the new design, which I appreciate even though a lot of the elements of this design come from the incredibly nice Kubrick template for WordPress which deserves every bit of popularity it gets.

However, the most important critic of this site doesn’t particularly like this direction — me.

It’s a nice, functional, slick looking design. It’s also full of last years design trends. Minimalism is out. Detail is in. White is out, brown is in — and while I’m not particularly interested in slavish adherence to the latest design trends, I also realize that this design doesn’t hit the design aesthetic I want.

The best design for this site, IMHO, was this design, started in mid-2003 and running with some variations for over a year. The light tans helped the blog stand out from the rest of the blues and the grays, and Voluta Script is by far one of my favorite script fonts. It’s dramatic, yet old fashioned. This design, codenamed “Jefferson” really fits with the whole aesthetic of a site about conservatism – an ideology that looks to the past for inspiration and a design that does the same.

The “worn” look is currently in, and when you see sites like Photodude and Jason Santa Maria’s design blog you see how this aesthetic can make a truly stunning site. If you look at the old-fashioned design aesthetic from the “Jefferson” design of the site, you can start to see how the “worn” look really takes that concept and runs with it.

So, I’ve made the decision that this design is going to go. Granted, with the end of the year coming up and the fact that working as a web developer full-time makes me want to do anything but do design when I get home, the “worn” aesthetic just calls to me in a way that this design doesn’t. Plus, it lets me return this site to its roots – including large serif type in body articles and a design that looks more towards the past than the future. As nice as this design is, and as nice as the Kubrick design that inspired it is, it strikes me as a little too sterile for my tastes. Clean is nice, and I like clean, but it just doesn’t do it for me. Give me a little grunge, a little age, a little gravitas — which is hopefully what this new design concept will allow me to do.

One thought on “Design Indecision

  1. I don’t know if my design stands up to Jason’s, but thanks for the kind comparison. I also noticed that Jon Hicks went through something similar … he put up a new design, most people loved it, and then he decided he found it irritating. His re-redesign wasn’t major, but it was driven by the same kind of feeling you seem to be having.

    The whole “designing after getting home from a day of designing” thing was a real catch 22 for me as well … and I work at home. I seem to have only so many lucid quality hours of creative brainpower to offer per day, and in Oct/Nov, clients were eating most of those. I did most of the twiddling on the redesign over a couple of weekends, because I could “turn off” client demands then (though not wifely demands).

    I’m a big fan of the slightly distressed look as well. I was a bit worried that going to it would be viewed as overdone or imitative, so I tried to keep it subtle. In fact, viewed on a Mac (with its gamma difference in display), it’s probably a bit too subtle. But having “lived with it” for over a month now, I’m still pretty pleased with it.

    I’ll look forward to seeing what you come up with.

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