Yesterday was a really eventful one for the design and development of NewsPlay. I can’t take all of the credit, either. There were quite a few friends and readers involved in different elements. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I lost a lot of sleep developing this concept. And I think (hope) it was worth it. I’m still a ways from complete, but I think it’s finally something worth looking at and talking about.
Borders and Color Palettes
I always have trouble with color choices, and this case was no different. I was chatting with someone I work with at Aspiring Indie about it (via Campfire) and she made a good point.
She made a good point. If I want this to really take on the look and feel of a newspaper (and be mold-able by others) I need to keep the canvas somewhat open. Thanks, Ashley!
Oh, and I’m really excited about the border style. It’t pretty unique (that’s what she said) but it’s really growing on me.
…that’s what she said.
Teaser Images in the Masthead
This one really took some playing with. I mentioned this in an earlier videoblog, but basically I want the top section of this theme to operate the way the topmost portion of a newspaper does; that is, to highlight stories within the publication.
Here’s what I started with.
That’s from the gray box design I started with. From this I went through a few different renditions. Least of which was this.
Pretty nasty, right? I should get points for disclosure in showing you the steps I take!
After some design and deliberation, though, I came to this. I think it’s a pretty cool way of showing off what’s new.
Oh, and thanks to Scott from Phoreo for pointing out that the color in the header was tough to read. Fixed it, for the sake of eyes everywhere.
I like this way because it gives lots of space, has a nice tight size of the display image, and doesn’t take too much away from the header. What do you think?
The Sidebar, Before and After
I had some nice feedback from readers in my last post regarding the sidebar, and hopefully this will reflect some of those ideas.
I’m playing with the idea of adding the date and breadcrumbs to the top of the sidebar, thanks to the suggestion from Neil in the comments the other day. It’s not quite in the header, Neil, but I’m hoping it might pull off a similar effect. Thoughts?
I really like this way of bordering (is that a verb?) the images in this theme. What do you think?
Typography truly can make or break a design. I will talk about keeping a vertical grid later (something which greatly improves a site’s design) but right now I want to explain the decision to switch from sans-serif to serif on this theme.
One reason for the switch is that serif type better reflects print typography, in that many printed publications will use serif since it’s (arguably) easier to read on paper. Another reason for the switch is that I think Georgia looks prettier than Helvetica for this theme. Screens below.
As always, I’m open to suggestions. And changing this part of the theme will always be pretty simple, thanks to the beauty of CSS!
Thoughts Moving Forward
This post was much easier as a regular text post than a videoblog. I look forward to some more screencasting as I start cutting the theme together, but that’s a few days away right now.
Here’s the most recent PSD, as recent as the one sitting open on my laptop. I’ve incorporated Ulrich’s thoughts and contribution into this new one, so be sure and take a look. This is starting to take life a bit! (Thanks for the ideas, Ulrich!)
I will be experimenting next with a fluid two or three column option. What this means is I will want to have a design that looks good in a number of different ways. We’ll see how it goes, but I think it will really make this theme. Oh, and of course it will be built on Sandbox, if anyone is familiar.
Thanks for reading and participating in my little experiment here. I look forward to more feedback!