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Inkscape = awesome; geek blog designs

In the process of working on my blog replacement in Clojure I decided to draw some images to throw on the page to add a bit of color. My web site designs are usually cold and colorless and monotone and can use all the help they can get.

Of course looking at the images again just now, I noticed they're almost entirely devoid of color. Ah well.

It turns out Inkscape is pretty awesome. I found some images on google, drew some dots on top with the pen tool, dragged some curves around, slapped on a couple gradients, and there you go. It's nothing earth-shattering but I plan to use them faded out almost transparent as a background, so it doesn't have to be that good. I think it's passable for a couple hours' work.

Penguin Monitor Book

For inspiration for my upcoming new blog layout, I looked at the blog of everyone who belongs to Planet Larry and Planet Ubuntu. I figured this would be a good sampling of blogs designed by geeks.

Turns out there isn't a whole lot of inspiration there. Apparently most geeks like to use stock themes that come with their CMS/blog engine, or a stock theme from a theme download site. There are a handful of good, original blog designs but they are in a bit of a minority.

Where's the love? I guess there's nothing wrong with using a stock theme, but I think a person's web space is a pretty personal thing. I like to put time into mine and make it look original. "Original" is my goal because "good" is probably beyond me, but original is halfway to good.

There is wide gulf between graphic design and programming, of course. I have difficulty with graphic design myself. My brain doesn't work the right way. I come at things from the wrong direction. The code comes first, the design comes last and works around the code. For a good design it probably has to be the other way around most of the time.

But I try, at least. It stretches the mind in ways that are probably orthogonal to the way programming stretches the mind. Mostly it's just fun.

March 01, 2009 @ 3:54 PM PST
Cateogory: Programming

1 Comment

Quoth numerodix on March 01, 2009 @ 8:41 PM PST

It's because people care about some things but not others. Now that the blog thing is with us things have changed for the better. But before that how many sites belonging to valuable projects or accomplished people were styled in Times New Roman black on white? Some people apparently don't pay attention to that. I even remember seeing this acedemic-y web framework that was supposed to be oh so clever in how they solved the various technical challenges. But lo and behold it spit out lovely xhtml without a trace of stylesheets. Indeed, there was no trace of css, it hadn't occured to them. What kind of myopia is that?

Interestingly, I think Wordpress has done the world a lot of good by emphasizing the importance of typography on the webs. It always had standards for this where other blogs/cmss didn't bother to try. Even now if you browse the Wordpress theme repo there are some themes that are very attractive visually, but then you realize they paid no attention to the font and the readability of the text. What could be more self defeating for a blog? And people in general have poor intuition for this, despite the fact they spend most of their time reading.