Went a little grunge for the announcement there, but that’s the beauty of classics: they go with everything, effortlessly.
I’ve been meaning to redesign the site, restructure the content and essentially rebrand, short of changing my name or business interests, for over a year now. At one point last fall I even went as far as designing a mockup for a new blog design and having it developed in nearly its entirety by a friend, but she got busy, and I was stressed, and then I decided I hated my branding anyway. I wasn’t sold on the typography and I was bored to tears by my color palette.
For a year I waffled over what style I wanted, as there isn’t just one that appeals to me, and what went with whatever I wanted my blog to be. I narrowed down the topics I blogged about and I started to think about new categories that encompassed some of what I was doing but made it more intuitive to find and write about cohesively.
And then I moved back in with my parents, spent three months on the verge of a nervous breakdown, got my room back, and took September off. I was going to dedicate the last two weeks of September to the redesign, giving myself some time to rest after I got home from Barcelona.
Well, you guys know me. I started working on this on Saturday.
Surprisingly, it came together like a dream.
I’d collected inspiration for ages over the months, and my biggest issue was deciding between minimalism and uniqueness, classical Voguesque streamlining and illustrations and textures, sophistication and a color palette that I wouldn’t get bored of.
The only thing I knew at the beginning was that I wanted multiple colors. I filled out brand vision workbooks by Regina and Jamie and arrived at a vague, “hot pink and seagreen, maybe?” But that wasn’t enough, so I decided to do something I never do: go photo-hunting and create a moodboard.
It worked. The original palette had different light colors — a light mint and a light lilac — but once I got to the mockup stage, I switched them out for light gray — occasionally patterned — and a highlight yellow. I’m a big fan of highlight yellows. It’s a thing.
The Design Process
Then I jumped on a Skype call with Rhianne to brainstorm lead magnet ideas for our newsletters, and sat there on video until I had a logo. That was a miracle, and handwriting comes with this issue for me where I question how professional anything I write looks until I forget it’s out there, but after a few drawings I was like, yep, I’m using this. And so I did.
By this point I’d been thinking about my blog design for a few days, and I had some ideas of what I wanted to accomplish with it. The main issue I had was that I wanted two navigations, so I decided to take it easy on my stress levels and purchase a theme. After browsing a fair bit for Genesis Framework themes with this feature, I settled quite certainly on Divine from Restored 316.
I bought it, and I proceeded to create a design in Photoshop that looked absolutely nothing like it, because I’m nothing if not someone who likes to make shit hard for herself. I drew inspiration from Park & Cube (is anyone surprised?) and actual-fact Vogue, which I don’t even read, but sometimes you just look at something and it says, “Me. You want to model yourself after me,” and you can’t help but listen.
Here’s an abridged list of the coding involved even though I was working with a perfectly beautiful template: colors, fonts, letter-spacing, general spacing, margins and padding, header size, borders, titles, copy, new span classes, killing the category grids, getting the post date back (thanks, Allyssa!), restyling the enews widget for both newsletter opt-in boxes, restyling the category meta above the title, and adding hover effects to a host of things that didn’t have any.
It took two days, and this is officially the quickest I’ve knocked out a blog design in the history of me. I even wrote new copy for the About, FAQ, Contact and Sponsorships pages, and put up empty Podcast, Work With Me and Start Here pages so I wouldn’t be tempted to put them off forever.
In case something there caught, as it should, your eye — I am, in fact, starting a podcast. The projected start date is November 8, and I’m stupidly excited because I picked a topic I can go on and on and on and on about. It’s going to be great.
I’ve also created a blog post header template, and gone back and changed a few to match the new style — here’s a peek at one of them.
Here’s what else is new:
Brave New Blog
Not that new, not that brave. But I’ll be doing away with all the life tidbits and focusing on fashion, interiors, travel, blogging and business advice, and — possibly, with time — pop culture. I will be posting 3-4 times a week — Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and sometimes weekends.
The podcast, evidently called The Lix Hewett Show because it’s all about my opinions so why would I bother with something else, will have new episodes live every Sunday starting on my birthday, November 8. I will talk about feminism and social justice issues in blogging and creative entrepreneurship, as well as discuss related topics close to my heart even if they’re not that tightly linked to blogging. There’s a fair bit to decide still, like length, format and how I’ll handle guests — I do know I want them; let me know if you’d like to pop on! — but it is happening, and it is happening soon.
The other new thing is I’m finally launching my newsletter. Every other Saturday, I will send out a round-up of recent blog posts of mine, links I’ve found helpful, occasional freebies, and sneak peeks of things I’m working on. I’ll be answering questions from comments and twitter that require a little bit of depth, and sharing information on things that require a little bit of intimacy. I’m hoping you will find these e-mails genuinely helpful, and would love for you to sign up using the form on my sidebar or clicking here.
Eee, I’m so pleased! I’m finally focusing on creating content I’m proud to share myself, and it’s already making a difference to the way I look at my blog, my work and my everyday life.
I hope y’all like the new look! Remember to follow me on Bloglovin or Feedly (or your RSS reader or social media of choice!) if you want to stay up to date on my upcoming posts. I can’t wait for you guys to see the content I’ve got to share.