12 Jun 2009 2 pm eastern


The zeldman.com redesign is up. You’re soaking in it. It’s old school. It’s brand heritage, baby. It’s retro 90s web. It’s so retro it’s nowtro. Because old is the new new.

Mainly, the redesign is content focused. After so many years as a web designer, and after creative directing so many influential projects, I naturally considered doing a wide, three-column, ultra-modern design—something cool, detached, polished, and glowing with rich media and fancy-pants sliding-drawer JavaScript effects. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things. In the right circumstances, those things can rock hard. But this site is mainly about my writing. So I crafted a simple look that encourages reading and hearkens back to this site’s early years.

Read more about it here, here, there, and elsewhere. (Don’t freak out; these old posts are now in the new layout, adding a layer of surrealism to the experience, since you’re looking at a blog post in the finished new look that links to and talks about cruddy early versions of that same look.)

If orange hurts you, there’s a style switcher in the footer that will remember your preference for an off-white background. You’re welcome.

WordPress implementation by Noel Jackson.

Rotation script by Mark Huot.

Thanks, fellas! And thanks to all readers who critiqued the public beta.

[tags]zeldman, zeldman.com, redesign, redesigns, webdesign, design[/tags]

Filed under: Web Design, Web Standards, wordpress, work, Zeldman, zeldman.com

185 Responses to “Redesigned”

  1. Ryan Barr said on

    I love the new design, Zeldman. I do personally prefer the off-white though. Too much orange otherwise.

  2. Andrew Mager said on

    I like how things line up perfectly.


    Easy to read.




    Excellent work @zeldman :)

  3. George Kelly said on

    [this is good]

  4. Justin Billington said on

    Simple, clean and content-focused. Not extraordinary, but to the point. Bravo.

  5. Tory said on

    Very nice! But what happened to the option to change background colors?

  6. Mark Nichols said on

    Excellent use of orange in a web site.

  7. Darice de Cuba said on

    Love the new design! I like simple designs that are content focused and the retro look is just very well done. Reminds me the day I got the first edition of the famous orange book “Designing With Web Standards”. When all the web standards topics where hot and new.

  8. Zeldman is Redesigned | jcksn said on

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  9. Christopher Fahey said on

    This looks like one of those web sites I’ve heard about.

  10. Ben said on

    Personally I am getting of the tired old (it is now) “web 2.0 look” as everyone likes to call it. This is timeless, will still look good long after gradients and reflections are popular…Oh, and I love orange.

  11. Antoine E Butler Sr said on

    Congrats. Biting where it needs to be, soft where it has to be. Off-white is my personal preference.

    I definitely enjoy the throw back feel. That is without marquee and blink tags of course.

  12. shishira said on

    it does remind me of the layout you had back in 99 i guess, luv the orange

  13. Chris Wallace said on

    Not sure it “encourages reading” but rather “encourages leaving.”

  14. Nancy Speroni said on

    Your new design is perfect, content is KING!

  15. Mandy Brown said on


  16. josh said on

    Switching from the orange to the off-white is like crwaling out of the spa and jumping into the pool.

  17. Nathan Arnold said on


  18. Ryan Burrell said on

    Clean and minimal, but I miss some of the texture and embellishments of your previous site. The scheme is solid, but seems to be lacking something to give it a little jazz to engage interest. I’m thinking something different with the sidebar…

  19. Karin Merx said on

    Love it!

  20. Brad Bice said on

    Very nice. Thanks for helping make content cool again.

  21. Ryan Masuga said on

    This takes me back to the days when I was just beginning to take my talent to the web.

  22. Michael Kozakewich said on

    When this design becomes more ubiquitous, I’d love to see a t-shirt with some reference to this design, and blazing construction-worker orange sides. You just can’t get a PROPER bright orange from a monitor.

  23. Mike said on

    Woe, the orange really messes with my eyes; and so, I prefer the off-white to it but I love the old school style. Nice work.

  24. Craig Hockenberry said on

    Reading this on an iPhone and very happy with the changes. Well done, sir!

  25. Beto said on

    Zeldman and orange have gone hand in hand for years. Like your brand of sorts. This is a welcome comeback. And yes, while it is always tempting to use the latest and greatest whiz-bang effects and technology out there (the “I got skillz” showoff part of web design never quite fades away), focusing on the content is what will pay off in the long run, every time.

  26. John Moynihan said on

    I like the new look…clean, easy to navigate.

  27. Chris Wallace said on

    @Beto Spoken by a true buttkisser.

  28. Guy Carberry said on

    It’s like slipping on an old coat with a new lining. Love it. A renaissance of both content and design. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Sam Wilson said on

    Like the favicon ha

  30. deb said on

    Off white is much better for my liking. The idea of content being of more importance here is very true, but i am really/seriously expecting something more from Teh Zeldman! :)

  31. Rod Galindez said on

    Looks fantastic! Glad to see a non-iphonish, text-shadowish new design, but one that sticks to the fundamentals of visual design.

    Just a minor note though. The “Why Ask?” text renders a bit wacky in Safari 4.

    Again, great work!

  32. eraevion said on

    Love it. Retro look has a character and definitely differs this website from 2.0-charged rest of the Internet. And this set of colors = GOODNESS.

  33. james said on

    This looks like the websites I develop when I am just getting all the content in the right place… you know, before the design is approved. If this is what people are happy with now, we can save a pile of money by getting rid of our designers.

    Wake up people. This may as well be the default wordpress theme.

  34. Tuomas Tolppi said on

    I like it, great work Jeffrey! Let’s see if this ‘nowtro’ will become new trend in web design.

  35. deb said on

    Agree with Chris Wallace there. My expectations of a site from Z-man would be to have simple layout like it is now, but with small small visual treats, something like Microformat.org has.

    You know a design which does not have to appear like macish/iphonish/jqueryfied but looks cool with some highlighted elements.

  36. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    @Rod Galindez: I’m guessing the “Why Ask?” text renders that way because of a setting on your machine (“Turn off text smoothing for font sizes __ and smaller” in the Appearance section of System Preferences).

    @Chris Wallace: Criticize my work all you like, but don’t insult other commenters here. Or daddy will spank.

  37. Brett Sinn said on

    Not to be nit-picky. But does the background look red to anyone else?

    Your header (div#header: #FF6600) looks orange.

    Body (#CC3300) looks red to me.

    Other than my own personal problems, everything looks nice and clean. Love your work.

  38. Bruce Porteous said on

    It’s looking good!

  39. PEZ said on

    Your writing is plain awesome. It deserves being in the focus like it is now. And orange is great! –@CoBPEZ

  40. Paul Grunt said on

    I like it. Simple and content driven.

  41. Ara Pehlivanian said on

    Sweet! Looks nice. Tight design. Good work Jeffrey.

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  43. Dave Smay said on

    Nice job, sir. Congrats from all of us.

  44. Neal G said on

    I’ve noticed a few comments state that the design “seems to be missing something”. My best estimate of this is the design uses almost zero images and I think that’s probably what a few people’s brains are focusing on. People have come to expect little bells and whistles here and there in designs now and I think this is the angle they are taking.

    Perhaps including something as the BODY element’s background would jazz it up a bit, like a small almost unnoticeable pattern on the red/orange background?

    @Chris Wallace & Jeffrey Zeldman: If you really want to be put down have Andy Rutledge review your new design, he’ll have you in the fetal position in no time.

    Now I think we all need to peer pressure Eric Meyer into redesigning, his blog design is starting to bore me.

  45. mario said on

    smart, simple end effective as always, great redesign!

  46. Tim Jarrett said on

    One visual glitch caught my eye: on Firefox 3.0.10, Windows XPSP3, the post on the NSFW tag has a lot of black missing-character glyphs in the blockquote. Probably because the blockquote is rendering as a monospace font (Courier New?) that doesn’t support curly quotes.

  47. Sean said on

    Was the decision to make the allowed XHTML tags in the comment form all caps just a product of making your style for text-transform to upper?

    Seems like if I wanted to copy-paste that code into my comment (as people might do), the tags would render as caps, and thus not be as XHTML-y as one might like…

    or I could be wrong.

  48. Sean said on

    I was, for the record. Nice redesign :)

  49. Ethan said on

    Oh, how I missed the orange.

  50. nrbd : Redesigned.... said on

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  51. Ambrose said on

    I think you can get away with it because you’re Zeldman. I think if it was some unknown, folks would maybe not appreciate it so much. Or at least some folks. ;)

  52. nomad-one said on

    Wow, this is like so Zeldman. LOL

    But then, in Firebug you see the real beauty. After teaching a few HTML crash courses this month including a few bits of standards looking at the code makes me want to cry.

  53. nomad-one said on

    Doh, the Pixel Image of you with the beany hat has not alt tag, This is heresy, burn him at the stake!!! :) LOL

  54. Brade said on

    In all honesty, I’m not blown away. But it has some good things going for it. The classic DWWS orange is welcome.

    But there are little details that are irksome: 1) the tiny hyphen after the “hot or cold” text box, 2) the “previous reports” button, which I’m not a fan of anyway, is slightly smaller and less padded than the “submit comment” button just a few pixels above, 3) the link to each post on the home page is obscurely placed on the post date rather than post title, which took me a while to discover, 4) search box doesn’t clear when I click into it, 5) multi-line headers have more space between the lines than between the bottom line and the text below it.

    IMO those are all fairly easy to correct, so hopefully the design still evolves over time!

  55. Ryan said on

    Whew! Thank goodness for the off-white version. (Eyes feeling better now.)

  56. GP said on

    Reading pleasure at its best. Majestic.

  57. Frak said on

    It’s orange. Holy cow orange. Doesn’t rhyme with anything orange. It’s “my frakkin’ pants are on fire” orange! HOLY SMOKES IS THAT ORANGE OR WHAT?!?! orange.

    The layout is nice.

  58. Randy said on

    I dig it yo. Takes me back. I used to have a preference for the neon green ala early Webmonkey and HotBot. Now when are you going to try and design with the new fangled TABLE based layouts I’m hearing so much about? ;)

  59. Martijn van der Ven said on


    [T]he Pixel Image of you with the beany hat has not alt tag.

    This is absolutely right, it shouldn’t have a textual alternative as it is for presentation only. Giving it a text would hurt the text flow for people with images turned off or people with screen readers and the likes.

    I live the new layout but it seems there is no :focus on links? It was very hard to navigate by tabbing. Also, the ‘why ask?’ question on the spam protection is hard to tab to.

  60. Derek said on

    @Chris Wallace – well, fair enough … you do seem to be much more of a fan of Dan Cedarholm’s style. Much more of a fan. Ahem.

  61. Levi Figueira said on

    I like the content area and I even like the color orange but… burns the eyes after a little bit looking at the content with so much orange around it (1920px monitors with browser at ~70% screen width)

    Still like the content and textual areas… Highly readable! :)

  62. Ryan Cannon said on

    Wow…so few pictures of text. I love it.

    Plus reminds of when orange was the new black. And when everything was the new something else.

    But I think my favorite part is the blue strip in on the bottom of the page. That’s the sort of thing I would never think of, but it really ties the room together, man.

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  64. Dave Rau/Red Labor said on

    A great example of great designers realign!

    Since I visited this site in the 90s I’ll say, I love the throw back. Jeffrey, you’ve got a tighter grid and bigger type; those are great improvements to a well-known and quirky style! I’m also loving the type size changes all around, some are subtle (like the intro and body shift) but the titles are nice and strong, which is very fitting for the tone of the site.

    Love it. Great work Sir!

  65. Steven Clark said on

    Nice, Jeffrey. I like the simple approach, often blogs get overloaded with trying to give me everything at once and it gets a little tiring.

    I did come here cautiously though, I was very partial to the palette on the older version. But when I saw the orange (yes the first book) then I had a chuckle. Excellent.

    Thanks for sharing. Hopefully less is more blog redesigns will become a growing trend.

  66. Jan Vantomme said on

    The new site looks great. Legibility has improved a lot in this design.

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  68. Ray said on

    Ah, there we go. Been waiting for this with anticipation.

    Nice to be back in the Orange. Long live #c30.

  69. David Sutoyo said on

    The simplicity is great, and not to take anything away from this one, but I have to say I really liked the previous design. If I were to nit-pick I’d add some left and right padding to the text of each comment block.

  70. Manuel said on

    Happy that orange is back. I feel back at home now.
    The “Tags” and “Filed under” things are quite confusing btw. Seems like their used interchangeably.

  71. Brandon Eley said on

    Love the new design Jeffrey, simple yet refined. The content SHOULD be centerfold, because you’re an amazing writer and that’s what I enjoy most about this blog (and I’m betting many others too).

  72. Jody said on

    I really missed the orange and I’m super glad it’s back.
    Something rhymes with orange and I like the footer black.

    Nice type, too!

  73. Jason Stanfill said on

    I just have to add another, looks great. I was putting together a design very similar when I realized my site is not focused on my writing (as yours is very much so) but my portfolio so have to refigure. Anyway straying off topic.

    Zeldman.com is the new black!

  74. Jason Stanfill said on

    I also have to ask how you were able to put a span around just the first letter of the post, very cool.

  75. Sam Ryan said on

    This is pretty cool – the site looks like an old Penguin sci-fi paperback from a distance.

  76. Huck said on

    Great design! Two whinges:

    1. Why is that vertical gray line there? IMHO, the content makes it’s own line just fine.

    2. The headers on the sidebar look a bit waifish. Thin, light-colored text on a dark background doesn’t look that great. Maybe it could use some bold?

    Anyway, it’s much easier to criticize something already done well. ;)

  77. Felix said on

    Looks easier to read. Nice first letter & first paragraph treatment.

  78. Sam Brown said on

    Stellar redesign Jeffrey, looks gorgeous. The h2‘s on the homepage should be links though, at least that is what appears to be norm these days. #permlinks

    Love the throwback look, we should all be so lucky! :)

  79. archmond said on

    wow.. cool!

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  81. Maarten said on

    Sorry, but why is this a nice design? I don’t like it at all, it’s just a boring orange blog design.
    But I must say it’s really cool you can make something like this and get away with it :)

  82. Shane said on

    I didn’t like it, now I do. Yeah, it’s nice.

    Old Zeldman + Jason Santa Maria + Twitter methinks.


  83. Tomas Caspers said on

    There were no rounded corners back then.

  84. Dimitri Giani said on

    Great! Contratulations, I like it!

  85. alessandro said on

    Great design. I like the orange background and the black in the header.

  86. nsmithmorgan said on

    Love the new design. And the back is so neat too!

  87. Dino Baskovic said on

    Very torn. Half of me calls outs out the bullshit of this being anything other than an off-white blog template on blood orange back. The other half adores the blessed, skeletal simplicity that hearkens back to circa ’90s web design.

    At the very least, it’s a change of scenery.

  88. Tony said on

    Are all these people leaving complimentary comments on acid??

  89. Dino Baskovic said on

    Most on Acid2, Tony. A few on Acid3.

    Okay, that was bad…

  90. Ken Howard said on

    I love the retro/non-edgy feel… And, I’m a fan of 2.0 footers. Great work Jeffrey!

  91. Andrew Boardman said on

    Mazel tov. All of the new typography rocks.

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  93. RayMcK said on

    It’s orange…. again. Nice.

  94. Daus said on

    Kind of agree with David Sutoyo on the padding of comment blocks. Too tight.

  95. JodyFerry said on

    Hot. Passionate. Strong. Footer is very jsm (in a good way). Do you like how comments wrap around avatars? Depending on the character length of our names, sometimes its a bit tough to scan comments because they begin in different spots. Nice work!

  96. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Do you like how comments wrap around avatars? Depending on the character length of our names, sometimes its a bit tough to scan comments because they begin in different spots.


    I like that avatars float left and comments to the right of them (as intended), but I don’t like the amount of padding (agree with comments it feels tight). This is something I fixed in the prototype but which got left out of the final CSS by error. I’ll fix it soon.

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  98. Eric Meyer said on

    Neal, the shortest path to making absolutely certain that I will not do a thing is to peer-pressure me about it.

    Besides, what I need is not a redesign, but a realign (especially if I ever get ’round to merging my “Recent Links” content into the main flow of the blog, the way all the kids do these days). Further, I must say I’m impressed that you’re only just now starting to get bored by my site’s design. Most of the audience was bored by it the day it launched!

    Jeffrey: very nice indeed, sir.

  99. Régis Kuckaertz said on

    div#maincontent blockquote p { font: normal normal normal 14px/18px 'American Typewriter', Garamond, serif; }

    Hearing Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing, oh so sexy!

  100. redg said on

    Can’t see what everybody is raving about… surely content is king but there are better ways to present your content than this… it looks like a regular wordpress theme. Is everybody on Xanax here?

  101. Lauren said on

    I love the new design! It is totally retro-ninties web! I’m just a wanna-be, my designs are very pre-k and I have a blogspot URL for goodness sakes, but at least I don’t have any delusions that I’m a web-designer! It is fun though, I have been a fan of yours for quite some time and have your books Designing With Web Standards, which are great. I have commented on your blog before but it was eons ago, prolly when the first book came out. I also follow on twitter of course and always enjoy your tweets so I thought I’d come back by & say hello and thanks. You’re the best. ~Lauren

  102. Steve K said on

    Quite simply, great redesign. I was a little bit worried after seeing the first iteration of this but you’ve pulled it altogether nicely. The orange hurts my eyes before my morning cup of tea but who would want to look at pastel colours all day long anyway?!

  103. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    My bro Noel Jackson just nipped in and fixed the padding on comments. Thanks, pal!

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  105. Matt Robin said on

    Nice to see the new design up and running Jeffrey; I like it!

    Old skool is the new skool, err, sort of thing :)

    Other blog sites seem to be going the other way, trying to do too much, stuffed with junk and un-needed extras, while this site is far more clean and is a better place to visit because of it.

  106. Chris Lee said on

    Great redesign. I think I do like the off-white though.

  107. alasca said on

    I miss the web standards. Is this kind of coding the future of the web?

  108. Egor Kloos said on

    But where are the 45 degree angles? ;)

  109. Jumptronic said on

    Love the simplicity of the redesign. I would enjoy the option to change the b/g color tho…. It is somewhat difficult to “Take-in” over a longer period of reading (just my 2-cents….)

  110. Francis said on

    All this orange make me puke! Is too much to ask for sobriety?

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  112. Tiffany said on

    Love the layout. The color is a bit bright for casual reading.

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  114. Magnus Spång said on

    Hate the orange. It´s killing my eyes.

  115. Travis Fleck said on

    Does it ever bother you that the leading between the first and second lines of the double line header looks bigger than the leading between the second line of the double line header and the body text of the post?

    For the single lined header it looks wonderful but for the double it looks odd to me. I’m assuming it is because you’ve set the page to a baseline grid…amiright?

  116. Jeffrey Zeldman said on


    Yes, I set the page to a baseline grid, and yes, I’m unhappy with the leading on long H2 headlines. Now that the new design is up, I intend to write shorter headlines. (Yes, really.)

  117. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    All this orange make me puke!

    You might want to use the style switcher to switch to the off-white background. It will remember your preference.

    Hate the orange. It´s killing my eyes,

    You might want to use the style switcher to switch to the off-white background. It will remember your preference.

    Love the layout. The color is a bit bright for casual reading.

    You might want to use the style switcher to switch to the off-white background. It will remember your preference.

  118. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    surely content is king but there are better ways to present your content than this… it looks like a regular wordpress theme.

    I’d be intrigued to know what those better ways to present this content are.

    It looks like a WordPress theme because it is one.

    WordPress themes spring from Blogger themes. Blogger themes sprang from what Dave Winer, Jason Kottke and I and some of our friends were doing on the web in the mid-1990s. (I also designed some of the default Blogger themes.)

    So it makes sense that my blog would look like a blog, and that a retro redesign of my blog would look like a primordial blogging template. It’s a zag away from the modern trend of making blogs look like newspapers or Flash sites or movie posters or other things.

    That trend is interesting and those design explorations by other people can really be wonderful and can push web design in new directions.

    But that’s not what I’m doing here, as noted in the “blog post” that precedes these comments. What I’m doing here is resurrecting early blogdom, with modern typographical niceties made possible by better standards support in modern browsers—you’re welcome!

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  120. John Foliot said on

    Dear Mr. Zeldman,

    When using a screen reader on your blog posting, it is unclear where the links to “here, here, there,” actually go to.


  121. oogwe said on

    Love the redesign, I think you accomplished exactly what you said you were setting out to do. I prefer the off-white background, and as a user I appreciate being given the choice. The off white is just much easier on the eyes for prolonged reading, and it makes me appreciate the spots of orange much more because of the contrast. Well done.

  122. Adam Souders said on

    Love the redesign. Retro is cool.

  123. devolute said on

    I like it. Sure, it’s not blowing my mind or anything but it’s pleasant enough and I feel instantly very comfortable, which can only be a good thing right? It’s not like you’ve got anything to prove anyway.

  124. jen said on

    Mr. Foliot, the “here, here, and there” is clarified right afterwards by ” (Don’t freak out; these old posts are now in the new layout” so I don’t think they really need explanation to screen readers.

  125. Trevor said on

    Your use of ‘you’re welcome’ in your post and in your comment is a little pretentious, isn’t it? Who said we were thankful for the style changer? If content really *is* King, then…

  126. Louis said on

    I like the design, perfect for Zeldman.

    And BTW – Your “dropped initials” at the start of each article are getting cut off in IE7 on my PC.

  127. David Orlowski said on

    I like it. I only hope that your glamorous life will still be a part of the site in the present and future.

  128. Travis said on

    I prefer the off-white background.
    I love the footer.
    I dig it.

  129. bruce said on

    Top notch, sir.

    Reminds me of when was young.

    And I like orange.

  130. Travis said on

    I see your header is 1 image with it’s text included in the alt attribute. I’m curious as to how you came to this choice? I would think a more semantically sound way would be to make that text h or p elements with image replacement so as to keep the info hierarchy intact sans-css.Your thoughts?

  131. Todd said on

    Everyone is a critic. Not everyone will love it. I love it, and I know where and how to look for the style switcher. Great job, Jeffrey! :)

    All this orange make me puke! Is too much to ask for sobriety?

    Then put down the bottle.

    Style switcher is located in the footer. FYI.

  132. Bill Alexy said on

    The new design is almost avant-garde in a “We have no sense of history” sort of way. But for those who were brazen enough to design on the web in the early days this exemplifies all the web should have been then.

    The design highlights some of the web’s limitations as well (like the very ragged right because of poor typographic controls). I don’t think that this is a “content is king” sort of design. The design itself is also in a state-of-being because it has a history and it serves the moment. Whether intended or not, for me, this design is good because it shows that there are inherit limitations in web design and that we’ve also progressed. I wonder what this site will look in ten years.

  133. Bob Jones said on

    If someone hadn’t specified where to find the style switcher I’d be stuck in the day-glo Orange inferno.

  134. Alexis Bellido said on

    Hey Jeff. I love the new design and the idea of old is the new new.

    Orange doesn’t hurt, at least no in my case, I like the way it takes you to the most important part of the design: your content.


  135. 5x5 said on

    It works, but might I suggest you run this page through http://validator.w3.org ;)

  136. Able Parris said on

    Mr. Zeldman, fortunately you do not have to worry about what naysayers think about your new (old) design. Keep up the good work.

    Having said that, I was expecting something more be more like Zombo.com. ;)

  137. MrAnger said on

    I dont like it sorry looks like you couldnt be bothered.

  138. Shane said on


    It brings a nostalgic tear to my eyes… nice one!

  139. Ryan said on

    I like it, but am definitely opting for the cream background.

    Seems like a lot of the thumbs down comments are poo-poo-ing the simplicity? I have to say, in my experience, as a web designer gets better/more experienced at their craft their personal sites tend to get simpler. They start to leave the jQuery sliders and textures for the client sites. (I realize that this makes my own site point a finger toward in-experience).

    I heard it said once (I forget who, EJS maybe?) that the first thing you should ask someone when building them a website is “If you had to choose would you want people to notice your website or read your website?” This is definitely a read me website, sublime in it’s subtle simplicity. I find myself reading the post almost immediately and usually that’s the last thing I look at.

  140. Kris Kendrick said on

    Kudos, JZ. Everything old is new again… including us!

  141. Billee D. said on

    Wow. Never have I seen a redesign of someone’s blog cause so much bad mojo. Don’t be a playa hata. ;-)

    Personally, I like it (and I already said so to you on Twitter). The design feels so nostalgic for me and the typographical nuances are really slick. Like I said before, great stuff, Mr. Zeldman.

    I also thought the follow-up to the comments on “it looks like a WP theme…” were spot-on. And it kind of goes along with my last blog post on why 90% of all websites suck. People are too focused on the glitzy-glam, “look at me I’m a Photoshop wizard” style of design when content is the meat of any website…unless you happen to be one of those people who “think needless ornamentation equals great design.” Or if you hate design, period. ;-)

  142. serdar said on

    It’s good but there is nothing special about it except it’s at zeldman.com ;)

    Please people, I know it’s very hard to seperate content (it’s the great Zeldman’s site with great reading…) and presentation (…oh so how wonderful this resdesign is!) in our minds/perception of ‘things'; but try to think as if you see this while browsing randomly at some other place: What would you think, you would think? :D

    (I don’t mean there is anything wrong with this design. It’s perfectly solid and to the point as is.)

  143. Andrew M said on

    A polarizing web design! I mean that in a good and bad way.

    I’m not sure users know what to do anymore when they comment. Agree and say “this is awesome”, disagree and say “how could you” or say something neutral like “thanks” or “yah!” And then there’s the ones waiting for you to slip up with “it’s not valid.”

    I like your commentary, ALA, AEA and all you do for Web Design so you can color this anything you’d like and I’ll still follow you.

    Tangerine rules!

  144. Zeldman on Blog Design | jcksn said on

    [...] Redesigned – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report. Sphere: Related [...]

  145. Francesco Improta said on

    I love new design…more focused on content and readable.

    Nice work!

  146. Richard said on

    Gotta say… Old Skool rocks even harder!

  147. Gr aham Bradley said on

    I don’t think any attitude you’re getting is necessarily directed at the actual design; I guess they just expected ‘more’. If anyone else made this big a deal about unveiling this design, they would be met with far worse.

    Anyhow, I can’t say I love it, but its certainly pleasant (off-white at least) and easy to read. Does what it says on the tin, as they say.

  148. Xavez said on

    You may want to consider respecting a vertical rhythm in your comments though, this is especially true for the avatars, that do not line up at all.

    Furthermore: very nice stuff, instant classic! ;).

  149. Tim Wright said on

    oh man…. you didn’t just use 3 “click here” links…

  150. Philip Barron said on

    Vive l’orange. I like it.

    I noticed, though, that the search template hasn’t (yet?) been redesigned. Search results still sport the previous look.

  151. Jeffrey Zeldman said on
  152. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    oh man…. you didn’t just use 3 “click here” links…

    Accessibility, like design, is always a matter of judgement. The links, “here,” “here,” and “there” are no more blind to a disabled user than they are to a temporarily able one. It’s clear from context (and the rest of the paragraph) that that these are links to earlier blog posts discussing the then-design-in-progress.

  153. Joshua Parker said on

    It takes some getting use to the color but it is a good design.

  154. Shapia web designs said on

    I feel it is better always to design a site content based rather than designing a site with only attraction. The site attraction can bring visitors but it will not repeat the visitor. The content based websites will bring repeated visitors.

  155. Francis Shephard said on


    I’ve been waiting for this for 5 years plus. Sitting under the stairs asking unfamiliar passers by through the crack in the door,

    “is Zeldman still Olive green” -?

    they’d answer

    “yes, he’s still the color of feeling nauseous at sea………”

    I’d hunker my arms around my bent legs, pulling my knees towards me and rocking back and forth I’d wonder when I could go back onto the net again!, when would it be safe?

    But one day, finally – the man in the orange work suit has appeared and he’s answered through the door under the stairs…………..

    “he’s back to his orange best, come out, its safe to go into THE INTERNET once more and feel happy and bright and bold” -!

    Finally the balls have dropped for the second coming! and the Zeldman true core has revealed itself, the hot pumpkin magma of clear thinking and the magnum 57 and long dangerous hair.

    The new footer area is a great reason to use more images, which is a nice add on for the new look and its an ever present reason to scroll all the way down…. just incase something new and decent has arrived.

    The Blue Line at the very bottom – a hat matching success……………

    Welcome back to big ballsy design land Zeldman……………… where the contrast is high.

    Welcome once again Zeldman to the true pleasure of irreverent pleasures and publishing,

    Now to complete your web based zen, all you have to do is moon the camera on your apple laptop and post the video on youtube and you will enter an XHTML strict Nirvana of marked up Enlightenment…………..

    an indi markup demi-god……….. status awaits you……………

  156. Mike Whitehurst said on

    I like the style and colours, but I don’t find this serif font easy to read at all. I’m much more likely to read your content if it’s sans-serif.

  157. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    @Francis Shepard, I salute you, sir!

    @Mike Whitehurst, are you on Linux?

  158. Hudson said on

    I’m afraid I fail to see what all the fuss is about. To my eyes, it’s a fairly bog-standard two column layout. Nothing more, nothing less. Yes, the content is easy to read, but it’s not like you’ve got a lot else on here fighting for the space it occupies.

    A couple of quick things…
    * You need to make your post titles links. Seriously. I’m surprised you’ve neglected that.
    * The pre-populated text in the search box could perhaps do with auto-clearing on focus.
    * Maybe do something with the “tags” block. It currently bleeds into the post too much. Maybe a bit of margin? Put it in a box (similar to “Filed under”)?

    I’m not questioning all you’ve done for the web community, but as someone has already said, if anyone else had built up such a buzz around a new design over a matter of weeks before revealing THIS with a great “Ta-daaa!”, they’d be met with a chorus of “Is that it?!” (and possibly some not-entirely-undeserved p*ss taking).

    Some of the repsonses posted here have really had me cringing (and Mr Zeldman, you cannot deny that more than a few have been OTT and bordering on sycophantic).

    Sorry to rain on the parade, but a little perspective is needed, I feel. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that it’s nothing special, and certainly nothing to make such a fanfare about.

  159. J. Ibanez said on

    When I clicked “off-white”, I was like “Sacrebleu!”.

    Damn, you never fail to astonish me.

  160. Jeffrey Zeldman said on


    I didn’t intend it as a big “ta-da!” I was just sharing my design process, as I’ve done many times before. This interests some people and bores others. I don’t share it for the people it bores, I share it for the people it interests.

    I can see that it might sometimes be hard to tell the difference between happy sharing and undeserved bragging. That’s a risk with all writing, and especially with all self-published web content. Anytime anyone on the web writes about their work or beliefs, some people reading what they have to say will think, “So what? Your work is nothing special/your ideas are not that original” and so on.

    Of course that effects gets exaggerated when the person doing the writing has a following, has been around a while, and at times presents him or herself to the community as an expert. I get it and I expected some good-natured piss-taking.

    That said, comments like “It’s nothing special” don’t bother me (a) because there’s no context; what’s special to you might suck to me, and (b) it’s not trying to be anything special. As I said in the post, I wasn’t trying to blow anyone away. I was simply improving on an old design—removing unneeded or ill-considered details, enhancing readability, and so on.

    Judging it on those terms, its own terms, if you find it hard to read, or ill-balanced, or you see ways to improve the typographic hierarchy, those are critiques that matter to me, and to which I pay grateful attention.

    Criticizing it for lack of awesomeness is like attacking Stephen Colbert for not being serious enough. To me, anyway.

    Or maybe that’s just what I tell myself in the long, tear-filled nights.

  161. Hudson said on

    @ Zeldman

    OK, I take your point(s). Perhaps it sounded like I was having a go at you for simply sharing your design process and then failing to deliver the most world-beating cutting-edge pant-wetting website ever. That wasn’t my intention.

    The general thrust of what I was saying was more directed towards the “ZOMG this is awesome!!1″ tone of some of the responses here (slightly exaggerated, but you have to admit some have definitely had that vibe). I really don’t like seeing knee-jerk reactions (especially not gushing praise) for something based on factors other than it’s own individual merit; something which I think has happened here (“It’s Zeldman therefore it’s automatically the most brilliant design ever”). Nothing personal; it just gets my goat in a massive way, and I’ve clearly got too much time on my hands so I feel the need to publicise the fact ;o)

    Thank you for repsonding though; much appreciated.

    Take it easy.

    *off to Google Stephen Colbert*

  162. Old is the New New — John Ibanez said on

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  163. Dan Rubin said on

    You can never have too much orange. Nicely done, sir, with extra kudos for resisting the urge to overcomplicate.

  164. stephen said on

    Long time lurker, probably only the second time I have commented:
    Yes, this is very reminiscent of the early designs of your site. Same orange as your earlier book. Yet I prefer the previous site layout. I’ll be sticking with my black and white design.

  165. Codester said on

    Dear Zeldman,

    I love the new design. Clean and everything is ready to read and focused on what really matters. I do have one thing that bothered me a little – the fact that the titles don’t link to the permalink but the date on top is a bit odd….not as natural as the post title.


  166. fritzthecat said on

    Gosh that orange is terrible, and the typography in the RHS headings… man what were you thinking.

    I give it one year before you get bored of it. In fact, you’ll probably get bored much earlier than that, but won’t admit to it.

  167. CAESAR said on

    New design is great! J. Zeldman you super :)

  168. Mike Whitehurst said on

    @Zeldman – no I’m on Firefox XP. I think it’s rendering in Georgia as intended – but I find it hard to read, and near impossible to scan. Perhaps consider a font-family js-switcher?

  169. The zeldman.com redesign is up. You’re soaking in... - *Безымянная овца said on

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  170. William of Orange said on

    Hah! I knew my time would come again!

  171. UK-Dance: Discussion: Friday, 19 June 2009 said on

    [...] later this afternoon in a few months everything will be sporting a retro 1999 web look after this: http://www.zeldman.com/2009/06/12/redesigned/ [...]

  172. Ray said on

    As per a previous reply, the masthead is still sans rollover. You said the Olive site had a ‘too subtle’ rollover. Absence is the new subtle? ;)

    After reading all of the criticisms, I fiddled around with a user stylesheet in Firefox to address a couple of personal nits. Here’s what I found.

    Re the H2 leading:
    I changed the line height to 1.2em and 1.em, and after looking at it that way for a few moments, it still looked hinky (for lack of a better term) and now I’m getting used to the existing leading. Shorter headlines is a good fix. Nuff said.

    Re Georgia, Times and Blockquotes:
    As to the body text, I’m not seeing a problem on WindowsXP and FF.

    What I am seeing is that you haven’t specified a Windows font face for blockquotes. So, at 1680×1050 I’m finding the blockquote text a wee bit small. I looked at your site on the Mac, and the blockquote font is significantly more readable at 14px than Times New Roman is on FF. I tried subbing out for Georgia, which is more readable but there’s less visual separation between blockquote and body copy. I tried Lucida Console, and that looked pretty cool, but the addition of the extra typeface busied up the site and I wasn’t sold on it. Still…

    Re tag links:
    The tag link text appears smaller on Safari Mac. They sort of assault the eyeballs on FF Win. Might also be a Win font substitution issue? As per Hudson’s comment, but I don’t think they need to be boxed. That they are upper cased sans-serif and large is probably where the issue lies, the effect is better when scaled down.

    That was the end of an hour’s worth of fiddling. I’ve deleted the Firefox user stylesheet. I didn’t improve much, but I learned some. Too bad some of the more vitriolic critics didn’t try this tack.

    Last words from me:

    Re Orange
    Pardon your history… but your own archives are missing an inclusion of content in the legacy orange design, the one with the table-based masthead and the orange background. I think it’d give some of the nay sayers a bit of historical context. Or have I overlooked something?

    And, William of Orange, clever! First comment that made me laugh.

    As an aside: the old orange design featured vertically repeating dashed lines, three of them, about 70 or 80 pixels off the left viewport? Do I win a prize for remembering details?

    Post title permalinks
    Another Zeldman tradition. The Daily Report (get it, daily?) has been organized around dates for as long as I remember (about a decade) and since the advent of WordPress on this site the URLs are date based, so the date is the logical permalink. It’s funny to me that critics are saying “it looks too much like a WordPress theme, and can you please make the titles permalinks?” Seriously.

  173. Mike Whitehurst said on

    There’se something wrong with this form, I can’t see the text box in FF XP, I’m typing into an invisible box woahhh. I bet I have typos :o)

  174. Elliot Merrony said on

    Indeed – everything from “Name required” downwards, including the whole footer, is missing (Vista, FF 3.011). Footer appears OK on pages where there are no comments.

  175. Will said on

    A redesign is a redesign. We do it for our own reasons of our own personal sites, and yes Jeffery Zeldman is an expert in the field of web standards among other things. He has carved a huge path for many of us and I thank you.

    My issue is of legibility.
    The bold orange links fight for dominance of attention over the rest of the content. I feel these links now take precedence over the content. So my question is in doing this are you now stating that external links are more important than the content? What is the purpose of having such a strong contrast of marking a link so strongly?

    It is your site, you’ve clearly thought about it, so I’m asking.

  176. John said on

    Sorry, but Will is completely right.

    And Jeffery may have made a big song and dance about web standards, but even after all these years his own website still only validates to XHTML 1.0 Transitional.

    The previous website did a good job of masking the designer’s complete lack of understanding of typography and spacing, but this design makes those issues especially stand out, among others.

    This is a mediocre design at best which many amateurs may praise Zeldman for, but if you stood this up against any true professional web designer’s work then everyone would see clearly what a poor effort this is.

  177. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    And Jeffery may have made a big song and dance about web standards, but even after all these years his own website still only validates to XHTML 1.0 Transitional.

    My name is spelled Jeffrey.

    What’s wrong with XHTML 1.0 Transitional?

  178. Codester said on

    @ray – re: permalink titles. I get that @Zeldman arranges everything by date. All I’m saying it’s a matter of usability. I bet my ass that if you pick a bunch of users and check where they are going to click first, the title would be it. Only then, they’ll realize it’s the date. It has nothing to do with the looks…

  179. What’s happened to your site? « Steve Rydz said on

    [...] It’s OK, there really is no need to worry. I have striped pretty much all the styling from this site as I am working on a redesign. My reason for this is that I am working from the content out in a similar way to the way Jeffrey Zeldman did recently. [...]

  180. ianf ⌘ - FriendFeed said on

    [...] longer have to rely on harsh chemicals to enjoy the summer. – ianf ⌘ Zeldman Redesigns – http://www.zeldman.com/2009… June 12 from Hivelogic – Comment – Like – Share The Godfather of the Web has redesigned, [...]

  181. Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report said on

    [...] 12 Jun 2009 2 pm eastern [...]

  182. Andrew said on

    I know this is a relatively old post now, but I’ve only just taken a look at your site today. I have a habit of investigating the code that other developers produce to see how they do things and if there’s something I can learn from it.
    But I have to wonder why you’ve set your font sizes to be in px. I’m assuming this is in support for modern browsers only and not including IE6? Is this the modern trend now, because I wish I could say the same and have no clients who require IE6 to be fully supported.
    I also noticed the content in the right hand column on the homepage drops below the main content in IE6.
    And that your timestamp wrapped in a H3 is before your article title thats wrapped in a H2.

  183. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Thanks for writing, Andrew.

    My timestamp is wrapped in an H3 because it is of lesser importance than my article title, which merits an H2. It would be wrong to give the timestamp greater structural weight than the article title merely because it precedes it. It would also be wrong to change the design to force the H3 below the H2 merely to please people who like to see grammar school outline style expressed in order. It is okay to have small type above big type. In newspapers and in advertising layout there are many names for this, including “eyebrow” (the small text, often italic that precedes the headline).

    I could easily introduce hacks to my CSS that would move the sidebar where it belongs in IE6, but this is a site for web designers and developers, and in particular for standardistas, very few of whom are using IE6 as their daily browser (except perhaps when forced to in an office situation). A standardista forced to use IE6 at work, who uses Safari 4, IE8, or Firefox 3+ at home, will understand and accept that zeldman.com isn’t overly concerned with niceties of layout in a nearly ten-year-old browser whose bugs vis-a-vis web standards are legion and legendary. The One Ring was Isildur’s Bane, and IE6 is our bane (as Netscape 4 once was). While in most commercial sites, I and all of us still probably need to create a separate IE6 style sheet, or hack up our single style sheet with mind-dead “rules” that compensate for most of IE6’s tragicomic deficiencies, we don’t have to do that on *every* site, and I choose not to do it on this one, where I don’t have to.

    I set my font sizes in px because every modern browser now supports PAGE ZOOM rather than TEXT ZOOM and px enable greater accuracy when you create both vertical and horizontal grids, as I use on this site, deceptively simple though it may appear to your eyes.

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