Last week, I mentioned the progress in the site redesign.
For those of you who find this sort of thing interesting, tonight I want to walk you through some of the re-design process. Enough of you have emailed about it, so some of you like this art stuff.
I had a specific structure in mind, using Tabs to keep different types of content separate — more on this later. As to the artwork and design, my office uses a firm that is very big amongst the Hedge Fund/Financial Services crowd. I really like their work, so I asked them to do the site. They said they wanted to get more into blogs, and less into hedge funds (Damn! I missed that — great insight!)
Once we worked out the pricing, we had a meeting as to what I wanted — then began going back and forth by email:
Any ideas for the header graphic? I have been stymied trying to come up with something for that, but then I am not nearly as creative as you . . .
My web designer, a funkified dude named Remo (he does all the wacky photos for the office), wrote back:
I feel like the header should have to do with the name, The Big Picture. So, is it a movie screen? Is it something obscure like a frame or hands framing? I don’t know, we can think of it more. Because the name says there is a lot more than just financial. You have something for everything on the site. So it should be more vague.
How about these . . . ?
(Click for larger versions)
Above is the 3 column version, below is a variation, and a 2 column version:
I wrote back:
A few thoughts on the initial design:
1) The key visual identity of any blog is going to be that top header.
I like the concept of some sort of full graphic across it (as opposed
to all that blank space). I’m having a hard time conceptualizing what would go there – I was
thinking of a roller coaster which would look like a stock chart.
I’ll continue to play with ideas and hunt around and see if I can find
something interesting but I do want a graphic of some sort across the
top as that becomes the prime visual cue for the site.
2) The two column design seems to work much better. The White
background you did works better for the larger left column– its much
easier to read text on. The soft beige tone works well for the smaller
right hand column.
3) I do like the tab structure you created – but let’s stay away from Orange as it’s kind of harsh.
4) The nav bar (about, contact, managed assets) might work better as a
more neutral color – beige or black, with the letters changing colors
on rollover. It could also be less prominent — about half the current
5) I found a bunch of interesting icons for the tabs – I’ll send also.
Remo wrote back to me: Barry do you like these sort of icons for the top portion of your site. We can get a consistent style and these are simple. Let me know.
I liked those, and so Remo came up with this new design: (Click for larger versions)
It was an interesting idea, but I didn’t love the monitors — looked too much like a trading desk set up.
Note that the layout of everything else was coming together — the Nav bar links below the header, the RSS/Search/Email bar, and the 2 column structure — all ended up getting used in some form.
We tried a few variations. Lots of small pictures (way too busy):
Less pictures, not as small (still too busy):
I liked the logo above, but didn’t love the color combo. I also wanted more clearly identifiable monitors as tv screens. I was thinking along the lines of Robot Chicken-like visuals.
Note the structural changes we made — the right column menu became dropped downs, and the column itself turned white. Very clean and simple designs for the side bar
We made many changes to the final version, but by this point, all the key elements were falling into place: Logo, tabs, nav bar, side bar, lay out.
What does the site look like? Well, it should launch tomorrow . . .
Tomorrow — whats up with all those tabs ?