Redesigning is hard to do

Since November, I’ve been attempting to refresh the design of this site, particularly the journal section, but each time I keep coming back to the same design.

Each of my redesign attempts has resulted in just a little tweak here, or image added there – nothing on the scale I was intending. The leaf illustration on the left is one such result of the one of these attempts.

Looking at sites like JustwatchtheSky, Jason Santa Maria and Airbag with their attention to detail and originality makes me lust after some of what they’ve got. They’ve thought their sites through, and it shows in the execution.

Why bother redesigning? Redesigning is the new staying in, its where its at. Its two turntables and a microphone. Dave Shea(twice), Doug Bowman, Ryan Sims, Ethan Marcotte, Adam Polselli, Zeldman and Nathan Borror have all unleashed excellent redesigns so far this year. Doug Bowman even released a ‘limbo’ redesign, a plain white minimal space inbetween designs. In a strange sort of reversal-of-the-universe, Scrivs has conversely kept the same design for at least a couple of months!

Seriously though, its nothing to do with any of that. As a designer, I like to keep things fresh. When I look at sites I’ve designed for clients, after a while I wish that I could improve this, redo that, introduce X feature. I can’t, but I can do that to my own site! You just feel the urge to change sometimes. I also look at my site a lot (usually when responding to comments) and I get a bit sick of the sight of it. Problem is, no new design I do looks good enough!

A few weeks ago I announced I had a new design almost ready to go. Then after taking advice from Leigh and a mysterious one-eyed sock monkey, I dumped it. There were many things wrong with it, but basically it came down to this. Why replace a design with something not so good, just for the sake of keeping things fresh? I still like what I’ve got here, whereas all my new ideas just looked like a copy of someone else’s site.

So this is the plan. There’ll be no radical change at hicksdesign, I’m going for a Simplebits approach now. Keep the general look and layout, but freshen it up. Not reinventing the wheel, but polishing it certainly. A print css file here, new images there.

Thats all I’m going to say on the matter. I don’t want this to become a blog about a blog!

The Hickensian is the journal of Jon Hicks, one half of the creative partnership Hicksdesign. Take a look at the work we do.

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