38 thoughts on “Designing from the content out 2”

  1. This definitely compliments the Zeldman Golden Age look you’ve got going.

    You know, I really like how the new masthead graphic looks with more white around it – I noticed when I disabled styles to peek under the hood.

    Overall, though, it feels cramped. Why so narrow? Why not a nicer pad on the left and right? I realize these conventions exist in the current version so I can probably write it off as personal taste. But given the chance, I’d double the padding to the left of the left column, on both sides of the column divider, and again to the right of the right column.

    All that said, the type looks hot!

  2. I’m struck by how stark this design is shaping up to be. (Not that I imagine it’s near completion.) What a refreshing change from all the crazy gradients & textures floating around these days!

  3. In general very nice! I would love to see some of the blue in the footer also in the head part. Also I think font size in right column are too big yet. Is that a mistake?

  4. Hey… You were one of my early influences into the realm of embracing good design so I thought your new design would be cool.

    However, you seem to be one of the many techie’s that have a ton of followers and the ego takes over. I find no value in your new design.

    It’s nice to know that orange is still your favorite color and it makes you cry, but I really don’t care and probably most folks don’t either. But if they do more power to them!

    Sure.. maybe it adds a little bit of personal flavor but I’d rather see blue and yellow. If I wanted to frequent a site with an orange color theme there are tons of them to choose from. And while I do frequent some sites with hints of orange, that’s not why I chose to follow you, but it is the reason that I’m choosing to not follow you now.

    Take the color palette to something else and provide some value.

  5. He’s back
    Glad to see the old Zeldman spirit is still intact. I thought old age had turned the once Magnum 57 toting Jeffrey into a olive green hugging push over, but no, the inner pumpkin has returned.

    Come on Zeldman bring back a boldness and courage to the web with your clear bright designs. Do it for the pleasure of it. Bringing back real honesty to your personal web publishing, not just well considered pieces that suit ones audience, and the correlation to your commercial activities, but instead brave pieces which are just for your own satisfaction, exploration and discovery rather than fulfilling the expectations of the madding crowd.

    More Icons, yes! More gifs, YES! why not. The era of broadband should really be the era of large scale animated gifs!!

    Come On – be braver than ever before.

  6. The Clarendon header shortens my breath in the most fantastic way. I truly enjoy the direction you’re heading in for your personal site.

  7. Reminds me of Rands in Ripose, typography is nice but for some reason I think there’s something missing, maybe another column…

  8. @RayMcK: Good one.

    The site is looking good. One thing I noticed, though, is that the drop-down ‘W’ doesn’t show while the page is loading — it’s the same colour as the background, and the white doesn’t show until all the text is loaded.
    Would it look too strange if you gave that span.drop a backgroundColor of white?

    (Also: I don’t know if I’m going stupid or something, but I have to think for a second about your anti-spam question. Last time I commented I actually got it wrong and had to try again.)

  9. The only thing I don’t understand is why you’re still doing it so it fits a 800 pixels wide monitor. Do you still get a lot of those, Jeffrey? It’s been some years since I’ve seen them drop bellow 1% of the users.

    Nice masthead!

  10. I don’t know…sure maybe it adds a little bit of personal intrigue but I’d rather see 90% value and 10% fluff.

    *ducks*

  11. Geez I like that. Like it has been said, it’s like seeing an old friend after a long absence, and it harkens back–which I love.

    I notice there’s no rollover effect on the masthead to signal it as a giant home link, something that was pretty subtle on the olive site. Also noticed the fully spelled out “Made in New York City” as opposed to the “made NYC USA”. You love New York, it shows. Bravo.

  12. The biggest thing missing from your design is breathing room. I would recommend — not sure if you even want critique — using increased padding. Your logotype seems frighteningly close to the edges of the document. Still not really fond of those black borders.

  13. Talking to an old friend is nice, until you start talking to him and notice how much he has decayed over the years.

    In all honestly, I find it a very unpleasant site to look at. Especially the tweet section looks like a bunch of random letters thrown together right now.

    At least I hope you keep the images on top, or alternatively go for a “full rss” option so people can just read your articles in their rss feeds.

  14. Everyone has a million opinions about colors and graphics and textures and all that, but I love that you walk your own talk here and it really is about the content. Too many designs these days are getting in the way of the meat of site.

    Reminds me of the old days

    Switch it over to Zeldman, whose recent compliant, standards-based redesign is smart and snappy. Zeldman uses orange, which everyone knows is the new black, so that wins major points already. He also uses a simple layout, with clean, reasonably sized type, along with well placed links.

  15. It’s on a good, bold track. But I agree with the person who’d like to see it stretched beyond 800px. Also, since we’re going for a retro-vibe, I’d like to see that taken all the way with some schweet pixel art. And once again, I must submit my request for “previous reports” to become a link instead of a button ;)

  16. It certainly fits with the rest of the design which reminds me more of a neighborhood newspaper. It does have the Zeldman look and I’m sure you are designing for yourself. I’m curious though as to whether you think this redesign shows your growth as a web designer or whether you are going for a signature look or even something else.

    I’d like to think my design skills have grown over the past 14 years of making sites, but I’m not sure I see that here. Nevertheless, it is *your* site and I think the header works well within the overall page design.

    Thanks for sharing in the design process.

  17. Wow! It’s so different, very streamlined and bold. My brain automatically associates zeldman.com with mellow earth tones, so this is quite a change. I like the newspaper feel as well.

  18. The only thing I don’t understand is why you’re still doing it so it fits a 800 pixels wide monitor.

    Great question, @Thiago Cavalcanti.

    I’m doing that because it feels like the right width for the content. 970px is great for a multi-column ad-powered newspaper layout. It’s great for heavy content sites like A List Apart, AIGA, etc.

    But it would not make for a pleasant reading experience on a personal site that’s focused on blog posts.

    To widen this site would be to create multiple sidebars filled with photos, etc. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it would distract from this particular site’s primary content, which is written.

    Either that or it would force me to create an ultra-wide content column, which would then require gigantic text size to avoid creating an unwieldy measure.

    Ultra-wide blogs can also work if you’re art-directing every blog post, like Jason Santa Maria has begun doing. That’s a great approach if you write two long posts a month, but not so good if you write pretty much every day, as I do.

    That’s my rationale. Make sense?

    The biggest thing missing from your design is breathing room. I would recommend — not sure if you even want critique — using increased padding. Your logotype seems frighteningly close to the edges of the document. Still not really fond of those black borders.

    @Daniel Carvalho

    I think I agree.

    Working on the footer now; will re-look at header afterwards.

    I notice there’s no rollover effect on the masthead to signal it as a giant home link, something that was pretty subtle on the olive site.

    @Ray: It’s too subtle on the olive site. There will be some kind of rollover effect on the final header.

    In all honestly, I find it a very unpleasant site to look at. Especially the tweet section looks like a bunch of random letters thrown together right now.

    I’m still working on the Twitter section. Thanks for your feedback!

  19. I don’t know… I know this is a work in progress but it is still missing something… Maybe something to do with the orange background?

  20. I like the new header and am very happy with the current column width.

    Orange? …ehh… I could take it or leave it.
    (It’s better than the current olive theme which is kind of blah.)

    Keep up the good work.

  21. Yes, it does make sense, especially since you don’t seem to like bigger text. I do like big text, and in fact I have your blog configured to load-up with the zoom level already cranked up a few notches and, apart from the pixelated images, it all looks fine to me, on my 1280 pixels wide monitor. I’m only slightly myopic anyway…

  22. Yay, back to orange, just like it was back when we were outside a hotel in Seattle, smoking and discussing Istanbul.

    Happy days, and a happy colour.

  23. Something kinda retro about the new design, but I like it.

    And I’m comforted by the fact that even the master still sweats the colors/layout/type/etc. :)

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