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Design is tough, at least for me. It’s not my strong suit. I’m more of a do-er. Tell me what you want and I can execute it. I can figure out HOW to do it no problem. It may take some time and a little reading, but I’ll get there. Design, on the other hand, feels foreign to me. Not that I can’t do it, it’s just that it takes much more effort than someone that is more design inclined. Lisa is pretty good at making design decisions, but it’s tough for us to focus on those kind of tasks when we have a 2 year old, a dog, jobs, etc.
When I was in grad school (the first time, Penn State), we studied creative problem solving and one of the paradigms we looked at is Kirton’s A-I theory. It’s essentially a framework for how you view people’s problem solving ability and how they express their creativity. It assumes that EVERYONE is creative, just in different ways, i.e., no one is better than anyone else. It’s a continuum from Adaptive to Innovative and you fall somewhere on this range. If you’re on the adaptive side of the range, you prefer to work within existing structures and tend to make incremental changes when you approach challenges or day to day problems. Adaptive people don’t like reinventing the wheel and they don’t do well with ideas that are way off the wall. Innovative problem solvers prefer much more out of the box thinking and don’t do well with existing structure. If a manager asks an adaptive person to come up with a way to reduce gas consumption for example, they might suggest more fuel efficient cars, better tire pressure, etc. An innovative person might suggest we invent a space ship instead or power the car with bicycles. Get the idea? It’s a pretty interesting way of identifying people’s strength’s and weaknesses and can be effective when assigning projects to people as some problems and projects require small improvements, others big ones.
I’m on the adaptive side of the range if you haven’t noticed. Thus, I’m not great at coming up with novel ideas out of thin air. I’m much better if I find things I like then make small changes to suit my taste. Which brings me (in a very roundabout way) to our next blog theme. To get some ideas and a feel for what Lisa and I are thinking for our redesign, I’ve been looking at a good number of blog themes out there.. here are a few that I really like. We’ll be trying to come up with something somewhat similar in feel.
(via House of Earnest)
House of Earnest: I really like the clean look of this theme. It’s simple, a white background with a black logo. Sort of has a classy feel to it. I’m not a regular reader of this blog since style isn’t really my thing, but I routinely swing by to gleam some design ideas. Very efficient look.
(via Chris Loves Julia)
Chris Loves Julia: And we love this theme. Again with the light background and high contrast photos. It’s simple, not busy at all and yet effectively shows you your viewing options in the menu without being cluttered. Great look and great blog too, btw.
(via Blog Milk)
MOD Theme: This magazine theme has a bold and simple title/logo and almost reads like a newspaper. The photos pop against the white background. It’s in very much the same vein as the first two themes. I don’t like some of the font choices and I’d like to possible add some texture where there is none. All changeable in CSS I know, but I very much like the idea of starting from scratch. Blog Milk, btw, is where ChrisLovesJulia got their theme. There were able to customize theirs nicely.
(via Theme Foundry)
Watson: Are you seeing a pattern here? What strikes me about these themes is how they all follow a very similar formula in terms of looks, background, etc, yet each has their own unique feel, however subtle.
So these are the kind of themes that we’re keeping in our theme idea book at the moment. I realize that the stark black and white looks can be cold and uninviting, but for the moment, they feel the most like us. We’ll see. We’re drawing the site in Photoshop at the moment and then we’ll get to the HTML and CSS. We’ll share that process with you too as soon as we finish up the looks of the site. We don’t have much of a time table for the redesign. Whenever it gets done.
Here’s a sneak peek at the font we’re using for our new logo at the moment..
Our electrical permit for our the TV in our sitting room was also just approved, so I’ll be wrapping that up later this week too.
Those of you that just designed your sites or those that are in the middle of a redesign, where did you look for inspiration? Are you more innovative or do you find that looking at existing ideas is more helpful?