Once again I felt that itch. Looking at my web site, I started to feel more and more like it was stale, like it no longer really represented me well. I go through this fairly often, actually, but generally the effort of redesigning and lack of time due to my other, more lucrative, projects, allows me to ignore the urge and live with what I have.
After 2 years, however, I could no longer ignore the little voices, and took a little time from my evenings and weekends to craft a new image for the site. This time around, I settled for fairly minor changes. I still love the thin vertical layout, but the searingly bright colors and fields of white negative space in the old look had started to hurt me eyes when I looked at it. Also, the navigation elements had started to look chunky. I hate chunky navigation.
So anyway, here it is. Hope you like it. I am rather pleased.
In the process of creating the new look, I looked back over the design changes Strange Gaze has undergone, and I thought it was interesting to observe what the previous designs told about the development of my personal style.
Below is the original Strange Gaze web site. Note that this is not the first site I did for myself, but I am going to save myself some public embarrassment and not go back to my earlier days. We'll settle for the first site under the Strange Gaze name.
I was exceptionally proud of this design. It probably represented the first time I had taken a design concept (for myself anyway) and carried it all the way out to a fully functional site with no embarrassing "under construction" pages. I still like this design a lot, even if my own tastes have diverged a bit from it. I was still developing my own style at the time, and so this design has a lot of "sci-fi" (or so a friend said) feel to it. I kept this design for over 2 years, reluctant to throw out the many hours of hard work it represented, even when I knew I needed to update my look.
It was not long after that 2 year mark that I started working more heavily with database driven sites, in which content could be separated from design, giving far more flexibility and allowing for redesigns without having to recode and re-enter every bit of content from scratch. I therefore embarked on an effort to redesign Strange Gaze. I went about as far as I could, from a stylistic standpoint, from the old site. The old design was "tech", and rather dark, the new one was almost painfully bright and made every effort to distance itself from a tech feel.
I got a lot of comments when I did this. Some nice, some not so much. People variously exclaimed "it's just not you!" and some friends flat out told me they hated it. I figured if you get reactions that strong, you have succeeded, and I was pleased with he result. Since I am the boss, the design stayed. This one, however, did not quite make it to 2 years, and now you see the new look.
Obviously, the new design is not far removed from the previous one. The layout is generally the same, the changes being confined to color palette and a fairly minor alteration of the site navigation. I think I did pretty well in hitting a mid point between the original design and the second, oh-so-bright one.
I am happy with the result…for now.