Getting Started

After getting an idea of what I wanted to accomplish with the site (which I detailed in the previous post), I was ready to begin designing.

Table of Contents

Sketching

I normally start out with sketching some ideas. Conveniently, I was going to Seattle for winter break, so the hours on the flight sans internet was well-used.

I find sketching to be useful for figuring out layout and the flow of content. I was now ready to start making some mockups.

Mockups

I use Affinity Designer for all of my computer graphics work. I used to use Adobe Illustrator before I switched computers, and the overall workflow is very similar, which meant a pretty low learning curve for the transition.

Home

I started with the home page. I tried to keep it simple, and allow it to act as a hub to all of the other pages.

The index of the site

I also wanted to keep the terminal, and ultimately decided on adding a little flip tab to reveal the “inside” of the site.

The hidden terminal.

About

One of the first conditions for the About page was that I had to include a picture of myself. However, images always raise the risk of disrupting the stylistic consistency (especially when the photo isn’t that good). I eventually decided to add an overlay of the theme color.

Both the desktop and mobile layouts

Art

A huge reason for the redesign of the site was because I wanted a place for me to show off the things that I draw and design. This is where the design things got interesting.

For the home page of the Art section, I wanted to keep it as a simple mosaic layout, without any text. In fact, in the original design, I had envisioned tiled and interlocking blocks. The goal was to have a wall of art, and clicking on one would lead you to a page explaining the piece in greater detail.

Mockup for home page of art

This detail page was more interesting to work with. I wanted to cast attention primarily upon the work, so I chose a dark background. The piece is displayed prominently as the first item, but underneath is the same layout as a blog post.

Detail page for a specific page. Note the unappealing background color.

This is probably the least polished part of the site. Some concerns I have about the details page is how the colors might clash. The current color is far from neutral.

Blog

I wanted to keep the blog as a separate entity from the rest of the site. This informed some of my decisions, such as having the navigation at the root of the blog be a “go to website” button, instead of the nav bar as shown on the rest of the site.

Table of Contents for the blog. Probably page that changed the least from design to development

The blog is mainly text-based, so I stuck to a black and white color scheme, like ink on paper. I’m satisfied with the very minimalist aesthetic.

I struggled more with the page of an article. I had a couple of choices to make.

  • Typeface:
    • I planned on initially using two typefaces: Open Sans for headers, and a serif typeface for body text. However, it looked kind of busy, so I ultimately decided against it. I may revisit the idea in the future, though, because I kind of like the look.
  • Cover photo:
    • I was unsure of how I would handle cover images. Initially, I planned on making the cover images fit into the width of the article, but I ended up preferring the expansive feeling of having the image stretch across the entire width of the screen.
Mockup of a blog post

Projects

I probably struggled with the Projects page the most. I tried 5 or 6 different card designs before settling on one that I liked. I played around with working project-specific colors into each card, but I figured that would be too busy.

So many variations of the card.

I added a subtle drop shadow just to keep things interesting.

Post Mortem

Overall, I’m very satisfied with the design of this site. Nonetheless, there are still a couple of things that I may change in the future.

  • Art Detail Page
    • As I previously alluded to, I’m not entirely satisfied with the design of this page. I have two main concerns.
    • I’m not happy with the color choice. It looks kind of muddy, and doesn’t really allow the pieces to stand out that much.
    • The presentation of additional images is flawed, especially since some images don’t contrast as well against the background, and they’re currently very small without a way to zoom in on them.
  • Project Cards
    • I’m still not entirely sold on the design of the project cards. I think the presentation is a bit too plain.
  • Blog Post
    • Font color is something I’m still working on with the blog. The color of links is harsh, and stands out too much. The pure black text on a pure white background also seems jarring. However, I like how sharp it feels with that much contrast.
    • The Table of Contents needs to be dealt with to make it more interesting, or at least more visually appealing.