HEY HEY WHAT Now Has a Website

Not only does my documentary finally have a title, it now has a website. You can view it here.

The design is obviously related to the Art in Print site. I wanted to sort out some ideas I’d had based on that, and this was a good place to do that. I’m okay with being a bit of a scavenger with my own work – taking the leftover bits of one thing and using them for something else, and there’s some of that going on here. So the color scheme and font choices borrow heavily from some of the ideas I couldn’t get to work for AiP.

It was important to give the site strong horizontals, based on the proportions of a movie screen. The large logo up top defines the horizontal space, as do the navigation and all-caps titles. I think of the top section as being a curtain or proscenium, framing what comes below. It’s a little heavy, but it works.

I decided to try something different and hand the logo design off to someone else. Just to see what would happen. I asked my friend and colleague Stefan Gutermuth if he’d be interested in taking a shot at it. No promises, of course, since I’m very particular and this project is my baby. After he agreed I was overwhelmed by second thoughts. This is my work, after all, and it has to represent my vision. What kind of designer asks someone else to do that for them?

Not surprisingly, Stefan delivered. Being a consummate professional he took the jumble of ideas I’d thrown at him, added his own sense of the project, and delivered half a dozen variations, all of which worked in a way I would never have come up with. That right there is why I like collaboration: it multiplies the talent of those involved.

Of the logos he delivered, this was the one I liked most:

That’s a really great W. Makes the whole thing work. The downside was that it looks very soviet/futurist, especially with the bars above and below. And it’s very square instead of horizontal, and I’d already decided that the logo needed to establish a strong horizontal. I bounced some changes back to him and he sent back this:

Perfect.

I distressed it a little for the website (punk rock!) but didn’t want to take it too far down that road. I could still go back to the very crisp version he delivered at some point, but as of now I’m leaning toward a looser, more lived-in quality of what’s currently live.

I don’t mind long lines of type, obviously, and for this site with the horizontal emphasis it makes sense. Others may disagree, and I would certainly consider changing it if this was for a client. I did bring the column width in for the blog, as that’s the most word-heavy part of the site.

I’ve been hesitant to use web fonts since I had seen problems with their implimentation before, and honestly it just seems too good to be true. I’ve been beaten into submission using only 8 fonts for so long that it just doesn’t seem possible to design without that crippling limitation. Chris encouraged using them for AiP, and now I’m sold. This is like having more than 8 colors available – it fundamentally changes design for the web and makes it more like design. My only regret is being so late to the party. The font used for all of the titles and navigation on the site is Oswald. It’s a little too wacky for this site when it’s lowercase, but all upper it looks great. Some extra letter spacing in there to let it breathe a bit and we’re good to go. I liked it enough to switch titles for this site over to it, even.

 

The site was built using WordPress. It’s the single greatest tool out there for small-scale sites, hands down. The only plug-in that users will see is MailPress, which has come a long, long way since I first used it. It’s a very powerful and flexible tool and, like many things associated with WordPress, suddenly seems like a real professional option instead of a cut-rate freebie. It’s amazing how well executed it is, and how solid their support is. Now if they could just make their home page a little more usable…

 

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