Redesign Edition 3

An article by David Brooks on September 24, 2007


Some time ago I decided this site desperately needed a redesign, I don’t think anyone argued with me about that point. After some procrastination on my part I started the seemingly never-ending process of a redesign. The original idea was to go for aesthetics but some things like functionality and usability showed up on the “fix me” list and it all took me longer than I thought it would. Some months later, here is the result of my work.

It all started with design

I began the redesign without any real direction in mind. I knew that I needed to keep a certain number of things and remove a certain number of them as well. I even decided that this edition of the site would be brighter and wouldn’t be based on black. That is probably a shocker to some people who know my track record in design and how it usually focuses on the dark side, hopefully not as a reflection on my personality.

At first I didn’t have any direction at all and I turned out some pretty terrible work at that point while trying to conceptualize, but I think it seems to be a trend when producing work for yourself. It was at that point that I stumbled across Khoi Vinh’s articles Grid Computing… and Design and Oh Yeeaahh! With those articles fresh in my mind I started to work on a grid system of my own, which actually turned out to use a similar horizontal grid to For me, having a grid in place allowed me to visualize the “canvas” better and move things around in Photoshop with purpose.

A little while later into the process I found two atmedia2007 presentations, Diabolical Design: The Devil is in the Details by Jason Santa Maria and Five Simple Steps to Better Typography as well as the written series by the same name (Five Simple Steps to Better Typography ) by Mark Boulton. These articles and presentations helped me nail down the direction I wanted to go with my typography which made me revisit the vertical part of the grid on my original design.

I experimented with a lot of different options to enhance the overall feel of the site but in the end none of them stuck. I decided to go with a minimal approach and just let the content that I produce, photography, design, etc. stand out.


Once I had setup a few mock pages with the design I pushed them aside for awhile. One of my co-workers kept asking me when I was going to launch it, but I just wasn’t ready. I knew there were some things that were glaringly wrong about the way my site was setup in the first place. I did set this site up over three years ago and I haven’t touched the content management system much since. So, I started going through the simplification process even while my old website was still on it. I simplified the number of templates I was using, the Textpattern forms, the article tags, etc.

When I had completed all that I could do with the old website I decided it was time to roll out the new design. Once the design had been applied I had to go back in and add the functionality that I had designed the site around. The thing that was possibly the most important concept to me this time around was providing links to the things that I have done recently. So, I added in more lists of recent work, relevant content and recent content. My thought was that the recent information is probably most important to the average user and the old stuff can still be found on the archives page.

A Work in Progress

Though I’m acknowledging today as my “official release” it’s still obvious to me that there is more work to be done on this site. Some of that will be fixed within the next few days and weeks, other parts will be an ongoing learning process for me in relation to typography and Textpattern specifically. I even have some features that I will be adding in shortly. I simply realized that I could keep on adding and tweaking forever and that I just had to write about it so that I could produce content about other topics. So, here it is, the newly redesigned

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About David Brooks

David Brooks is the owner of the small creative studio, Northward Compass, based out of Orlando, Florida. He writes electronic and ambient music as Light The Deep, and fantasy stories about a place called Elerien.

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