CSS Design-a-palooza in London

Molly E. Holzschlag and Andy Clarke will be hosting a CSS design seminar in London this year. I’ve had the pleasure to meet and watch these two in action and can imagine how great this seminar is going to be.

I am a conference junkie. I studied fine art, photography, and radio communication in school. I’ve learned web development via books, web sites, and conferences. I’m sitting at the Business Blog Summit in San Francisco right now. Earlier this year, I flew to London for @media and Vancouver for Museums on the Web conferences. None of these conferences were paid for by my employer. I went for my own sake, not theirs. I am retaining this information, making the contacts, and enjoying the activities. My employers are benefiting from any new technologies or techniques I’ve learned.

If you have the time, try to attend this conference. Your support will encourage the hosts to extend the classes to new speakers in new areas of the world. Hold off on buying the latest IPod, use the money to extend your knowledge. That is what I’m doing. I put my Nikon d70s money into the Business Blog Summit.

post-new design

For many artists, the process of creating a new piece is as fulfilling as hanging the finished work on a wall. Over the years, I’ve built many web sites for myself, but rarely took the time to enjoy the process. Several years ago, I made my last grand statement with the site that is currently at www.sdco-op.com/drake. This table-based site was built in Net Objects Fusion and was pretty decent for its time.

I’ve moved on from the wysiwyg world of Net Objects Fusion and into the dazzling limelight of CSS, XHTML, and the whole standards-based design.

This is a place to pretend I’m the pixel-pushing equivalent of Norm Abrams.

I’ve been building and rebuilding this site for the past year and a half. It is my workshop. I’ve tried this and that from him and her and pushed and prodded and tweaked and thwacked. But I never took the time to really look at the design.

I’ve been planning this redesign for months. I don’t have pages of sketches, reams of notes, and empty pens to show for the work. Rather, it has been a mental struggle to find a direction. I wanted a site that was accessible and easy to read. Yet, I also wanted it to look like something I would design.

I’m a photographer, not a graphic artist.

In school, we’d scoff at the “graphic” artist students. Us fine-art students did it for the love of craft, not for the big job working under some tyrannical art director. Sure, the guy that created Ray Gun magazine came from the graphic arts department of my alma mater, SDSU. But, he took a photo class! That gave him his cool genes. Or so I was told and believed.

This isn’t meant to make fun of either side, although I have enjoyed teasing the graphic artists. Rather, to illustrate the origins of my frustration. I want to get my hands dirty in ink and chemicals. I want to create something that has texture and is tactile. I don’t get excited about creating drop shadows. Coming up with a design concept is difficult for me. I draw boxes, throw in some gradients, and then do the computer equivalent of tearing the sheet out of a sketch pad and throwing it in the bin.

Over and over and over

One of the bishops stares through a hole at Joan of Arc

Then it clicked. I absolutely love La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc by Carl Theodor Dreyer, starring Maria Falconetti. This movie sends chills down my spine. The photography is simply brilliant. I knew my new design would be an homage to M. Dreyer et Mlle Falconetti.

This film includes the texture and distress that I find so appealing. Using the scraplets idea of Andy Clarke, I began collecting images that would inspire this design. I studied the title slides, authentic posters, and more for design directions.

There are inspirations from Joe Clark, Andy Budd, Jeffrey Zeldman, Seriocomic, Superior Pixels, And All That Malarkey, Patrick Lauke, Douglas Bowman, and so many more. Thank you for your inspiration, it’s been rewarding.

Let the games begin.
I’ve been working on the side navigation javaScript to make it more cross-browser compatible. It’s going to be a bit off kilter for the next day or so as I tweak it.