Version Three

Okay, so I promised to go more into depth on version three of this fabulous site. It’s 2:30 (which is 3:30, really, because day light saving just switched) and I just returned from a Halloween party, so I’ll take a few minutes and say hey and explain why this site is such a big deal.

Firstly, the design of this site is a huge departure from the static, tight lines of the previous iterations of this site, replaced by a somewhat jello-like fluidity… with some restrictions. Texts sizes are way up, and generally I feel like the site is less stuck up and a lot more honest. Version Three is the honesty version. Less posturing to make me sound like some fancy pants talking head. Screw that. I spent so much time worrying about what other people thought about my talent as a designer that it began to impede the design process. This site, from initial conception to final unveiling, took just shy of three months. I began to draw mockups the day I walked out of my last full time job. That was August first. Today is the 29th of October. During that time, all my design efforts were directed at this site. You heard me right… that means I did not earn any money through graphic design for three solid months.

Why? Well, that gets us into what this redesign has taught me: to hell with perfection. I am by nature a perfectionist, and even worse, I am the son of a perfectionist. I won’t break down my long, sordid history with perfectionism and the ensuing anxiety and inevitable depression, but I will say that with this site, I found myself at a point where I was so frustrated and creatively blocked because I could not live up to the false perfection I had built up in my head. It became a vicious cycle: you’re frustrated and depressed because you are creatively blocked and running out of money, and you’re creatively blocked because you are frustrated and depressed.

Eventually, everything bottoms out.

I came to that point after a long phone call from my father. I won’t lie that we’ve had a strained relationship in the past, but my eyes were opened that day. Long story short, I walked away from that conversation realising that if perfection means no creativity and no results, then who in their right mind wants perfection?! I sat down at my 50th mockup of this site, looked at all the minute changes I’d spent the past week fiddling with and realised how pointless and frankly destructive they were. I hit command-z a few times, got the design back to a basic state, and went from there. The layout/mockup was done that day. The markup and integration with my new CMS (I’m a “textpattern”: man now) took a while, especially due to my requiring certain plug-ins to do things they couldn’t, which lead to me hacking and rewriting several of them. It was frustrating, but things are at a state where I am pleased and things generally work. Everything is right in line in the modern browsers (even IE7, which required absolutely no fixes). Of note, however, is the fact that thing are a little loose and not perfect in IE6, but in keeping with the “eschew perfectionism” outlook, I’m not worried. The site still looks good, makes sense, and most importantly, everything works.

There is one really bizarre bug I’ve noticed in the Create section, however. In Firefox on my mac (but oddly, not on my PC), the lightbox image overlay effect is slightly messed up. Everything still works, but for some reason, Firefox isn’t respecting the @z-index@ of the overlay, causing the fixed footer elements (the face and the navigation) to stay on top. If you have Firefox on a Mac and you see this, or if you don’t see it, please let me know. The bug is missing in Camino, and missing in Firefox on Windows, so perhaps it’s just my install of Firefox.

Anyway, enjoy the new site, sign up for the new RSS and ATOM feeds (it’s a new address, kids, so the old one won’t work) and I hope you take this one bit of knowledge home with you: If it isn’t helping you be more creative, it’s probably just being destructive.