Design is a funny thing.
I’m thinking that my blog layout is getting a bit tired, and I need to have a redesign. But I seem to be incapable of coming up with interesting ideas of my own. What I can do is identify the bits of other people’s I like, and gawk in wonderment at some others (like, how does Matt Webb come up with – count ’em – five enigmatic and beautiful styles for Interconnected?).
I’m a bit worried that maybe I don’t have any original web design thoughts. But like the archetypal art non-expert, “I know what I like”. And what I like at the moment seems to be a lot like Sarah’s [old] site. It’s uncluttered and clean, and the focus is almost (apart from Naked Lady) on the content. There are no links on the page, no untidy blogrolls. There is minimal navigation, and no posting dates and times. The only thing to get your attention, and bring you back, is the content. (Lucky she’s good at that too.) It’s kind of ballsy really – with none of the usual blog context that a reader might expect, all there is to get to know the writer is the content. And that’s perhaps as it should be.
Hmmmmmmm. Re-reading the above it seems I’ve defined not a design, but the start of a blogging manifesto. Ok, so let’s not be wanky and call it that, but how about this: the blog as being not about the writer, and not about who they know and who they link to, but being about the stories they tell. If those stories are good, they’ll attract an audience, an audience that may even form a micro-community of its own through commenting. And if not, well, the blog was really for the writer’s benefit in the first place, so what the hell?
So maybe I should stop worrying about design, and think more about what I present and how. And at least now I have a plan.
Which is just as well. Having tried Sarah’s blog layout and styles on my content on my little dev blog here on my iBook I can see that theft just won’t work. I was reading my words and hearing her voice (if that’s the right way of putting it, seeing as how I’ve never met her – but you know what I mean). It was a slightly dislocating experience. <coff!> Got to get some distance there.