Sunday, April 18, 2010 redesign

Regular visitors may have noticed some recent changes to this blog.

Firstly, my byline has evolved over the last few weeks and, having shed a few words is now looking a lot trimmer and to the point.

Secondly, the name has changed. The Journey of the Buckle was one of those off-the-cuff, "let's just get this thing going without much real thought to the name" sort of things. It resulted in some really strange Adwords being placed upon the page. The title of the blog is placed into the "title" tag of the site and Google obviously places a lot of importance upon these words. So I was getting ads for saddleries, belts, leather, you name it, all thanks to the word "Buckle" in the title. I figured the same thing would happen with search engine rankings once I get into the whole SEO thing. Changing the title to obviously made it clear to Google that this is a name, not the subject of the site.

Finally, I have been redesigning the site using Inkscape. This is a whole new skill set for me. I don't usually give a lot of thought to design, other than to pick out what is wrong with someone else's design. Designing something from scratch is a scary process for me. Being a programmer, I tend to muck around with HTML and CSS straight up rather than lay out the page in a graphical editor first. So, as well as focusing on the aesthetics, I have been learning how to use Inkscape, an open source free alternative to Adobe Illustrator.

The current design is another element that was just knocked out quickly for the purposes of getting the site up and running. I created the header graphic myself in GIMP, using one of my own photographs, but it isn't something I spent much time over. The template is a modified standard Blogger template.

The process of designing the site has been a good one for teaching me how to use the software. I have learned some useful keyboard shortcuts, and general vector principles. I used the Inkscape templates delivered as part of the 960-grid package. I kept the designs fairly simple and typically blogger-esque but got a bit bolder with colours as the process developed. Hopefully I will soon have this built and implemented, but until then, here are some of the designs I came up with.


  1. Nice designs Lins. I like the new banner. Not sure which colour scheme I prefer, I guess I like things simple so just plain old white for me, but I guess there's not much flair in that!

  2. Thanks for the comment Praj. The white is rather appealing, isn't it? I'm pretty sure I know which one I'm going for. Still need to do some colour checks for contrast etc. for accessibility. But I won't give it away. I'll let it be a surprise.

  3. I like the second one and the fourth one, but then, I'm a gradient fiend as you now know :) Seriously though, I think the gradient that blends to the background gives the impression that there's always something more to find. I'm not so keen on fully bounded text - it seems too formal and blocky. You may return that 2c to me at any time ;)

  4. Thanks Ben - good points. I too like gradients but I'm not sure about the blue. I think the colours stand out more on the black and white backgrounds. I'm now thinking that a dark grey gradient might be worth a look instead. I think if I was to pick a blue gradient I'd go for the second one but I quite like the bright colours in the later designs.