Anybody out there feeling creative?

J. Stapley, of Splendid Sun fame, has graciously offered his services to take this blog out of the Blogger galazy and into the greater universe beyond. He designed FMH's website, and IMO, FMH looks absolutely fabulous. So he and I sat down (or maybe we were standing--it's hard to remember) and talked about what I wanted this blog to look like, and, really, I was at a loss. I talked the The Wiz about it, and she, too, had few definite ideas about what we want a real website to look like. We don't have the pink that FMH does--I picked a boring template because asthetically, well, I'm more of a boring kinda gal (although I did just make a daring home decor purchase in the form of BLACK dining room chairs! They look fabulous, but it's totally out of my decorating comfort zone to do this, so I'm excited that a bold decorative leap actually turned out well! Oh, wait, but I digress...). Anyway, creative modeling is just not where my talents lie, so I thought I would appeal to you, our readers, as to what you think this blog should look like when we abandon the Blogger template and become an actual grown-up website. Is there some image (other than a potty, of course) that cries out "Mormon Mommy Wars!" to you when you read this blog? A color you would prefer to look at when you are straining your motherly eyes, blogging in the wee hours of the morning? A loving, maternal sculpture we could put at the top of our page? Let us know. because I think we are on the brink of something exciting--our very own, blogger free URL! The font possibilities are just endless.


Blogger Jonas said...

Actually your fonts are limited to what most people have on their computers. Use blues....alot of blue.

9/03/2005 01:27:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa M. said...

I prefer soft, simple, with clean lines. And I think blue is nice, Dave (wondering why LOTS of blue) *chuckle*

9/03/2005 09:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Daniel B. said...

I would suggest using Alex King's Wordpress 1.5 Theme Browser as a starting point for ideas as to what you would prefer. It is very easy to use. Simply click on the back and forth arrows after clicking on this link.

9/03/2005 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Dave M-

Blue is ok, but, um, why LOTS of blue? Am I missing something here?

9/03/2005 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Colors have a very large psycological impact on peoples minds. Especially when they are illuminated on a computer screen. Look at my blog, I have done a good job of creating the right mood for my viewers. Blues are soothing. Good colors to use with blue are grey, black, white, light yellow and sage. I have been working with color for a long time. I actually do color correction for fine art print making, am a graphic designer and frame pictures.

9/04/2005 05:29:00 AM  
Anonymous harpingheather said...

How about an image of a shield with a crossed bottle and rattle over a Book of Mormon?

9/04/2005 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Rusty said...

No, you need the logo to be in a nice font and then to the side of it (or over it) have a stain, like a ketchup stain or something.

Color is important, but you can make many colors look nice, not just blue.

If you still need help I'd be happy to extend a blogging hand. Email me at rustyclifton at gmail dot com.

(I designed this, this, and this.)

9/05/2005 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Sorry rusty but there is nothing special about any of those blog sites. I won't point out any of the errors in your layouts. What they have already is better than the 3 you linked. Your idea about the "nice font with a stain on the side" is not good. Good logos are more than just fonts with decorations. After looking at your "designed" sites I would not trust your opinion on use of color. Sorry to be so Simonish! I hope you are not offended. Any designer needs to be thick skinned.

I think harpingheathers idea is a really good one. As long as it is a professionally designed graphic.

9/06/2005 12:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Kim Siever said...

If you're going to use blue, be careful. Web designers have overused blue in the last few years and it has become very tired and dated. It can be done, but you need to have someone who can pull it off well.

9/06/2005 08:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Heather O said...

I like Heather's idea, as well as the stain idea. And thanks for all the offers of help. HOpefully we can get all of this worked up before Halloween, or, at the very least, before the end of the year.

9/06/2005 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Rusty said...

Dave M,

Are you serious or was your response a joke? I mean, if it was a joke it was hilarious, perfect irony. But if it was serious... uh, I'm cringing because it's that kind of response that gives the profession of graphic design a bad name.

I just don't know how to respond to, "your idea... is not good" and "good logos are more than just fonts with decorations" and "I would not trust your opinion on use of color" and "any designer needs to be thick skinned" I guess I didn't realize this was a graphic design workshop and you were the teacher.

The blogs in question (specifically Mormon Mommy Wars) are about writing and reading. A "good" design is one that facilitates reading. Colors, pictures, textures, scale, these are just elements Heather can manipulate to maximize that purpose. So your suggestion that one specific color will "work" better than others is preposterous (regardless of your "blue has a psychological impact" psychobable). Many colors CAN work, as long as they facilitate the reading.

If there's anything I've learned in my five years of design education (BFA & MFA), five years working as a professional designer (three at a New York branding agency), and a personal relationship with Milton Glaser, Stefan Sagmeister and Steven Heller, I've learned there are a few rules in design: Rule #1 Giving your credentials doesn't mean anything :) The most important rule, however, is that there are no rules, as long as the solution works.

9/06/2005 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

So I think your solution wouldn't work. One thing I have learned is that just because your in the profession doesn't make you good. I just didn't see anything good in the pages you linked. I would rate them below average in design quality. Harpingheathers idea shows more crativity than all 3 of your links put together. I am no teacher but I know a good design from a bad one. Think of me more as a creative director. Furthermore critism within the industry makes it better, bad designs give a company or a person a bad name. Next time you reply to my comment you should read it and understand what I said a little better

rusty, show us something good that you have done.

9/06/2005 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger Rusty said...

Dave M,
So you were serious. Hmm...

There's really not much else I can say. It's clear that whatever I say you'll respond with "I don't think it looks good" which is fine, we have different aesthetic sensibilities (subtlety vs. spoonfeeding).

At this point I think we can both wish Heather the best in creating her new design and hope she can forgive the threadjack. I'm terribly sorry, Heather.

9/06/2005 11:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Geoff J said...

Holy Crap! Are you telling me that this Dave M person is real? Please say it isn't so. I thought arrogant blowhards like that are all fictitious...

If you are for real Dave M, then I'm glad you have a thick skin. That way it will just roll off you when I let you know that you come off as an insufferable jackass in your comments. Worse than that, you are wrong and Rusty is right. Just because you have a preference does not make it universally "good" and things you don't prefer are not universally "bad". Whatever achieves the purpose of the blog is the proper design...

("Blues are always good"... Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk! That is classic. Good luck reshaping the design world your own image bro.)

9/07/2005 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I never said that only my ideas would work. I just said Rusty's were bad. And yes when it comes to design I do have passion and some take it the wrong way.

Taking about me not being open minded? Lets look at this:
My commments have *

HARPINGHEATHER SAID - "How about an image of a shield with a crossed bottle and rattle over a Book of Mormon?"
*(great idea)

RUSTY SAID - "No, you need the logo to be in a nice font and then to the side of it (or over it) have a stain, like a ketchup stain or something.
*(dumb idea shows little to no creativity)

Color is important, but you can make many colors look nice, not just blue.
*(true but you need to pic your colors carfully, all colors don't go with all colors)

If you still need help I'd be happy to extend a blogging hand. Email me at rustyclifton at gmail dot com.
*(they already stated that they have someone to design the blog they were just asking for ideas)

I designed this, this, and this.

*First link: Overal design isn't bad more could have gone into the logo. The font you chose for the header doesn't really fit. The changing moons are kinda cool. The font for the body of the page could be larger. I give it a C-

*Second Link: Header does not line up with the body of the page. In fact it is not even the same size. Perfect example of how not to use color. The spacing of the font in the header is inconsistant. Again the font is small. I give this one a D

*Third link: The header is good, but the text and logo within the header have inconsistant spacing. The design looks unfinnished. I give this one an I for incomplete.

9/07/2005 01:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Geoff J said...

Good grief.

Your follow up braying has revealed that the reason you came of as an insufferable jackass earlier is because in fact you are an insufferable jackass. Not that that will surprise anyone I'm sure, but it always nice to receive confirmation on these sorts of things.

I must congratulate you, though; of all the annoying comments I have read in my time blogging, yours have annoyed me the most!

9/07/2005 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Kristen J said...

OH MY GOSH (said with a Valley Girl accent)! I have to agree with Geoff, Dave M, you are an insufferable jackASS! Your mommy obviously didn't go to battle enough when it came to teaching you manners!

Personally, I thought Heather's idea was cute, busy, but cute. I thought Rusty's idea was great, the only thing that really came close to fitting in with the vitality of this blog.

As far as blue goes, one word, YAWN! It's a nice color but we're talking Mormon Mommy WARS here. It's a fun blog not a blog that promotes yoga.

How about something that uses military paraphenalia (ie combat boots) and baby paraphenalia (ie diapers, bottles) together.

9/07/2005 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I don't see how critisism and good debate turn into name calling. I guess thats what people revert to when they have no ideas.

Geoff J, Kristen J, - Is this really the best you can do?

Rusty, I really would like to see other things you have done.

9/08/2005 03:09:00 AM  
Anonymous stephen b. said...

okay, so this string has been very interesting. i don't really do a lot of blogging, only a few things here and there, but this one caught my attention. i'm a reasonably creative person (the only way my parents could keep me moderately attentive through church as a child was to give me my father's pen and the back of the program), but rarely do i actually enjoy the so called friendly banter. having had to suffer extensive discussions throughout college as to what was art and what was not, all of which i dreaded, but was able to gleam a better appreciation for other's opinions and points of view. the discussion here, and viewing the respective work of both rusty and dave m., i'm reminded of a project i did during my senior year dealing with the difference between art that is not spoonfed to the viewer, and kitsch.

rusty, you've got some great work, and i can see where your training has come in handy. you have seperated the information well, and laid out the sites that you posted with a good use of typography, visual heirarchy, and a good eye for design and layout. things are where they need to be, they are clear, user friendly, and the aesthetic changes with each site that is being viewed respectively. nicely done. plus, if anyone needs to know anything about the people you mentioned, the innummerable amounts of books, articles, whatever they have published, one needs only google them and find their credentials. yeah, name dropping is lame, but at times it is a good defense.

dave m. your website looks more like what someone would classify as kitsch. if you don't know what that is, you can look it up. your header is nearly illegible, has a poor use of color, and a terrible black stroke surrounding what looks like "folob". having been a member for many years, i can only assume that it's kolob. but that's from conditioning, not good artistic qualities found within. i wanted to know what the odd spaghetti-like background was that the earth and target logo rip-off were floating over? is it the expanse of time, the great distances between our worlds or what? plus the use of blue is so over used that i don't even want to comment on that. it's a corporate color that to me says "cold and unfeeling" which has absolutely nothing to do with mothers, nor mormons. we're kinda odd and care about too many things. so, not a good choice. your use of typography is appalling, and the visual heirarchy that you've set up is disturbing. what's important is small, and the images, very disturbing i might add, are oversized and deter from the "feeling" you are trying to convey. all in all, there is a difference between someone who knows what they're doing compared to someone who can use a couple of photoshop tools and brushes poorly.

kitsch, although some can argue that it's art, or artistic is just a lesser form of art. it's like thinking that thomas kincade, "the painter of light" is somewhat comporable to someone like paul rand, or mark rothko. it's a sad day when that happens.

9/08/2005 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Rusty said...

Dave M,
This forum has turned a little ugly. While I don't condone namecalling, I think what spurred it was the way you began to critique my work unprovoked and unsolicited (and that your critiques were off the mark).

This is not the best place to debate art/design/kitsch/etc. as it is disrespectful to Heather and her blog. I am working on a post for Kulturblog, that will hopefully be posted later this afternoon or tonight. When I post it, I will put the link here in this thread. That way we can continue the discussion in a forum created for that purpose.

9/08/2005 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Rusty said...

I've written a post about the difference between graphic design and grafix dezign here. If you'd like to discuss these matters further, please take it over there and leave Heather alone (unless, of course, you have good ideas for Heather's blog).

9/08/2005 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

stephen b. - You have no credibility when you bring nothing to the table. You state your opinion as though it is fact, that leads me to think you said it for spite. Which gives you even less credibility.

rusty - I only critisized you so harshly because your comment rejected someone elses idea.

If anyone else wants to critique or bash my work comments are welcome on my blog. I won't be revisiting this string.

9/09/2005 02:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Nichole said...

Ha! I thought this was Mormon Mommy Wars! This forum has turned into Wars of the Sassy Mormon Graphic Designers. What do you think? It has a nice ring... A word of advice, boys: Girls only like fighting on their blogs if it's over them. (I guess it has been entertaining in a computer geeky sort of way!)

Maybe you could find sites you admire, take what you like from them and go from there. You're the ones that have to look at it every day. We'll like what you have to offer - the content has been great up to this point! Happy designing...

9/09/2005 02:33:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Ok, Hi, this is Heather, welcome to my blog. My internet was down for 3 days, and whoa Nelly, I come back to this?

Please, please refrain from calling people names. Here's a quote from a comment policy from FMH that I totally agree with:

"No mudslinging. “I disagree” is fine. “I think you are totally, 100% wrong” is okay. “I think you are a stupid idiot” [or a Jackass]is not. First, anyone smart enough to find DMI is almost certainly not a stupid idiot. Second, if you’re bright enough to blog, you can certainly find a better way to make your point."

I have not officially posted comment policies--do I need to? Please, people, keep it civil. Dave M's comments were very harsh, but I think it is better to say, "Hey, I think you're being harsh, and I don't agree with anything you say," rather than using bad language. C'mon, this is a family blog, people!

9/09/2005 04:04:00 PM  
Anonymous J. Stapley said...

Heather, drop me a line...I've been out of it for the last weeks (traveling) and don't have your email address.

9/11/2005 12:53:00 AM  
Blogger jiri said...

Hey, I have enjoyed...your blog is informative - even entertaining.

I have a halloween sites. They pretty much covers costumes and masks related stuff.

Thanks again and I'll be sure to bookmark you.

10/04/2005 09:49:00 AM  
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10/08/2005 12:23:00 PM  

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