This little blog is now workin’ the internet runway sporting a new logo and design. While I love Lucian Marin’s Journalist template that I launched Smarterware with back in January, I wanted to add custom imagery to the site, something readers would see in their tab bar and recognize immediately.
People in the biz call this a “logo.”
Since I’m the coder sort, I’m kind of thick when it comes to these matters. Thankfully, logo designer extraordinaire Annedien Hoen hooked me up. She and I first talked back in February (7 months ago!) and it was the first time I worked with a designer directly on anything. From the Netherlands to San Diego, our initial consultation was an intense hour and a half discussion–not about lines and colors, but about inspirations, motivations, intentions, and feelings.
Yup, it was a therapy session. I yammered on at Annedien about computers, teaching, learning, writing, habits, goals, cyborgs, automation, creativity, productivity, motivation, brainwaves, my childhood, and stuff I like to look at. She asked well-placed questions, and got me to tell her what I’m trying to do on these pages in ways I hadn’t articulated before. Then she turned all that into an image. I’m so pleased with the simplicity and containment of the result. I’ve got ideas about what the logo represents, but I’ll let you interpret it on your own.
Once the logo was done, Patricia Forest at 3ones waved her magic wand and designed the site’s pages around it. Trish wasn’t even a little bit judgmental when I confessed my love of circuit boards to her. As always, she did beautiful things with color and typography and made the posts and comments here look downright spiffy. This is why when you need online product development work done and ask me who to talk to, I send you to 3ones.
Finally, because I thought it would be a fun learning experience, I decided to turn the HTML and CSS Trish gave me into a working WordPress theme myself. I’d modified WordPress themes before, but never built one from scratch. Late in the game I got worried about this undertaking: When I asked my Twitter followers for tips, I got replies like “gird your loins.” But, call me a sadist. I really enjoyed pawing through the WordPress codex and getting it all to work bit by bit. Trish’s markup was clean and modular, and I speak PHP, so the process was pretty smooth and very satisfying. My favorite “WordPress can do that?” moment: Figuring out how to configure multiple sidebars and display them based on context. You’ll notice the sidebar content is different on a post page than on the front page than on a user profile than in search results. Booyah.
I finished up the theme in a mad dash that ended just before 4am, so most likely things are broken and it’s all my fault. Give the new look and feel a spin and let me know what you think in the comments. (They’ll look really good when you do, I promise.) Thanks to Annedien and Trish for all their work. I am going to bed now.