Re-designing my site, wanna share some thoughts?

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  1. #1
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    Re-designing my site, wanna share some thoughts?

    Hey guys, I've decided to give my site a makeover before the workshop (meaning, I like to shoot myself in the foot whenever I have the chance!)

    My goals for the re-design:

    1.) Make art more acccessible - right now it takes 3 clicks to see my artwork, I want to have this down to 2.

    2.) Try not to pigeon-hole my style as cutesy vector art. I want to give some emphasis to the digi paints and sketch work that I do.

    3.) Kill off the old content and naturally update it... duh.

    Obviously I have some time constraints, so I have chosen a fairly generic but tried-and-true format. I worry that although it's super-easy to navigate, it's too generic to hold the interest of the veiwer or keep me fresh in an art director's head.

    I also worry that it's giving off too much of a girly vibe. X_x

    I could use some fresh eyes on this - any thoughts, good or bad, would be appreciated.



    The portal:

    Re-designing my site, wanna share some thoughts?

    ((Icons will NOT be stretched, but will be those dimensions))

    An icon page:

    Re-designing my site, wanna share some thoughts?

    ((I am probably going to have a new window open for each piece.))

    Thank you guys, see the lot of you on Friday!

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  3. #2
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    Uhhhhmmmmm lets see, right now the distorted thumbnails are really throwing me off, but you say it wont be that way and im not gunna worry about that. My biggest critique is the type face that says flying clam, no offence but I think its really ugly, and the fine type is illegible and the bad kerning annoys me especially where the O and M meet. It doesnt fit in with the sans serif font that you are using for the menus either. Personally I like the menu type, but I would make it slightly bolder. Also to unify your website pic fonts that are not wildly diffrent for the big header up the top, maybe Even the same font just a condensed bold version of it.

    If you do bold or semi bold the menu type, I would also make it smaller by one or two point sizes, makes it seem more precious and compact, its nicer to the eye.

    I like the colour palette, but I think the gray crema behind the thumbnails isnt good, it works as part of the image on the top one but not as a background on the bottom, it seems almost like a muddy colour, its not crisp enough, in that case i think you would be better off leaving the white of the background the thumbnails will have a much nicer impact.

    and btw, just as an aside pump the levels on the pugfish itl make it pop just that bit more. Dont mean to sound like a douchebag and im totally nitpicking and its alread ybetter then a thousand other portfolio sites up there, this is just my own sense of design and thought process certainly a good start. I look forawrd to seeing it with all your updated work.

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  4. #3
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  5. #4
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    Ooo, I've been busy planning out a website redo the past days also. I've been learning Flash again, and doing all that possibly annoying superficial stuff. Anyway, it's looking good Steph, I'd say on your thumbnail page, you can probably use borders and pack them a smidge closer (like they are on the portal page). Can't think of much, I think pulling the pugfish on the portal page into focus more like Rook mentioned might work well. Are you gonna use flash at all? It does have the downside of added filesize and requiring people have it, but your site looks like it would get more out of it than the crap I'm using it for.

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  6. #5
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    I don't think you need to make it complex to hold interest -- the art will do that. Are you thinking of making a popup or direct linking the images so the user needs to click back to get the gallery? On paper, popups are great. You present new content and the user stays on the parent page. But everyone pretty much hates them and you never know if a someone has a blocker. I would direct link the pages and have the user click back.

    But, if you want to add a little zing to your site, check out the free script called lightbox (link), the CA web people use it for the gallery at the top. I like it because the user doesn't have to leave the page he's on. He's not getting a annoying popup that can be blocked. And if he doesn't left-click (thinking he'll get a popup) and right-clicks-open-new-window it still works. It's pretty easy to implement too.

    Good luck!

    Roger

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  7. #6
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    wow lightbox is a pretty freaking neat solution I might use that for my redesign. Thanks for pointing it out I wasnt aware it was so readily available as a script

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  8. #7
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    However, some ppl have javascript turned off in their browser. Maybe a little warning may be useful.

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    turning js off will result in the picture opening in the current window.

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  10. #9
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    I'm in the process to of redoing my site too, for pretty much the same reasons as yourself. I like what you have so far. Looking forward to the new version.

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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ah.heng
    turning js off will result in the picture opening in the current window.
    Still, no permanent url for the picture. The best galleries are those where I can copy a URL straight from the address field and paste it into chats, forums, mails, whatever, so everyone can see the picture with the according site. Lightbox is great, don't get me wrong, but it lacks what Steph is trying to achieve quoting accessability. If a click on a thumbnail opens up the lightbox picture AND adds the url pointing to the page and opened lightbox picture, that's accessible and would make Lightbox the best gallery system. I haven't seen that yet, tell me if I'm wrong.
    Back to the topic: The site's layout is ok, colours are a matter of taste, but oh well. The typography needs some help tho, as pointed out. The kerning isn't as good as it could be, and the title font is a rather bad choice. My advice would be a handwriting font, elegant but not too noble. You could try something like the CA Atelier banner above, a semi-serif font with some graphic elements.

    The background on the icon page is unnecessary. Leave it light like the rest of the sheet. Personally, I think rounded corners are fine, but maybe with a smaller radius (half of what you have now). This looks rather childish, Fisher-Price style.
    Last but not least, I'd tone-down the copyright notice. It's unimportant. The only reason you have it there is because you have to have it there.

    I hope this helps,
    Jannis

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  12. #11
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    I like what you're going for overall, but I think all the type is waaay too big and most of all I really don't think that "broken typewriter" font represents you or your work very well... but I disagree with Jabo about using Trajan (the font on the CA Atelier banner), I think you need something more playful than that. Also, the fact that the horizontal and vertical distances between the thumbnails are not equal bothers me a bit.
    Just my two cents, hope it helps!

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  13. #12
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    Bah, I was writing a reply then the power went out. >_< Grr. I have a link for you to check out. http://www.momscorner4kids.com/fonts/

    Fun free fonts. Say that five times fast. Looking good so far.

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  14. #13
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    Whoah, thank you guys for so many replies and crits!

    Re: Lightbox vs. Browser windows - I had never considered lightbox before! It looks pro and certainly would cut back on hotlinking, but Jabo had an excellent point about not being able to go straight to an image URL, which could be annoying for art directors. I am on the fence about how to handle the image presentation, I think I will mess with lightbox tonight and see...

    Re: Fonts - haha, yeah, that's a cheesy font. However, I didn't want to go too juvenile (yes, I will be hardening the curves on that holding box now that it's been brought to my attention!) Even though I've been paying rent by drawing cuteness, I want to age up my artwork, so I don't want to sell myself based on the "Awwwwh!" factor. Of course, I also do not want to go too stuffy or elegant, I feel like my artwork is anything but elegant. I will check out those fonts that others have reccomended (huge thank you, guys!) and play a bit... I think I might also try a handwritten scan or something as a happy medium.

    I will post an update tonight, maybe a dummy page to test out scripting. You've all been a huge help so far, thank you!

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  15. #14
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    I like where you have gone with it so far, and I actually like the font a lot. Although, the font might not go with the girly-ness of it all. To me, it seems like the upper portion (where the links and your name are) seems a little too clean. Maybe it needs some sort of graphics to fill in some of the white. Hmm, I'll see how you've updated it in your new post...

    By the way, I don't think I've told you how much I love all of your pug characters. Sooooo awesome! I think it's because I'm a pug owner. Pug hugs for you!


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  16. #15
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    That's a nice layout, cool color choicefor the content areas, but the pink/purple background might be overwhelming on large screens.
    My only comment is that you should try using 2 typefaces for the text, keep flyingclam.com as is, and maybe change the second line to something more structured, like century gothic or even arial.

    good luck.

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