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Time for a New Design?

As you may know, Perishable Press was redesigned only several months ago. As much as I enjoy the transparent imagery of the Quintessential theme (opens new window or tab), I find it too distracting and complicated for everyday use.

So I have redesigned, yet again. The new theme is called “Requiem” (opens new window or tab) and is return to my minimalist roots (opens new window or tab). There is something calming and yet energizing about working with a streamlined, no-fuss interface, especially when you are extremely busy. The new theme was completed in December of last year, and I have been using it behind the scenes ever since.

Now I want to know what you think about the new design. Is it an improvement over the previous, more colorful theme? I will be taking your feedback into consideration when deciding whether or not to keep the new “Requiem” theme as the default. Let me know your thoughts! Thanks :)

About the Author
Jeff Starr = Creative thinker. Passionate about free and open Web.
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57 responses to “Time for a New Design?”

  1. Personal story : when I first saw your Quintessential theme, I was genuinely impressed by its aesthetics and I wished I had such a beautiful theme on my own website. Put simply, I was blown away by your talent.

    This morning, when I fired up my browser and loaded your site, I first wondered if I had any connection problem, as your new theme gave me the impression to see though a grey filter… I wondered if something might have gone wrong with the CSS & images loading, but then I noticed your post about the new theme.

    While it’s true that Requiem is slightly easier on the eyes, I find the aesthetic compromise unappealing.

    Fortunately, you allow us to revert to an older theme and I am writing these lines in Quintessential.

    Keep up your good work, though !


  2. @Bill: Glad to hear the new theme is easier to read — that is certainly one of the reasons why I felt the new theme necessary. You would trip on how many people found Quint. too difficult to read. Also, I hope the commenting issue is local and not affecting other visitors.

    @Simon: Yes, Quint. is still available, and, depending on how this “trial” run of Requiem goes, I may end up switching back. Either way, I needed to have a solid, user-friendly theme available for those who need it. Accessibility is important, as we are all aware!

  3. @Stereo Zeitgeist: Oh, I have indeed thought about it, probably more than I should! ;) We’ll see how it goes, but your point is well-taken. Thanks for the advice! :)

  4. It looks a little generic in my opinion, though the old one was a little resource intensive on my not so top of the line box. Also, think about what Stereo Zeitgeist said ;)

  5. @Dan Felton: Good point; for the links, my aim is usability. I agree that black or grey links would probably look better, but I think they would be less-clearly identifiable as such. Underlined blue links have long been the standard default and are easily recognizable by many people and on many different systems.

  6. Bill Brown 2009/01/19 11:14 am

    Dao Gottwald has a nice theme switcher and site whose artistic abilities are on par with yours, IMHO. I don’t think he’s using WordPress though and I don’t know enough about WP to know if his switcher could be adapted for your site.

    Anyway, he can be found here:

    (His site is fun to poke around on, too.)

  7. @fuzion: On the surface, yes, the appearance of this design may seem generic; however, I assure you that, upon closer inspection, the amount of work that went into fine-tuning and optimizing the details should become apparent. I won’t get into all of that now, as I want to hear people’s initial impressions from the most objective perspective possible.

  8. @Bill: Thanks for pointing that out — will certainly check it out..

  9. Wow, definitely more minimalistic than your prior design (too minimal?). It’s definitely easier on the eyes, and the bandwidth, but the Quintessential theme sure looked sharp.

  10. It looks like a great theme however passing from Quintessential to this one kind of looks like a downgrade, like a more newbie theme than a pro one.

    Although its still a very nice theme. :)

  11. The full justified type is evil – ruins the spacing and pretty much says “hey, I don’t care about typography.” to me. Aside from that… it’s generic. Oh, I’m sure the CSS is carefully done, but it’s a header with sans-serif body type (+1 for defaulting to Helvetica) and a serif header. /yawn from a visual point of view, but /cheer from a ‘design gets out of the way of the content’ pov. Aside from the full-justified type. Which is… evil.

  12. @Alexander: Thanks for the feedback — I count that as a vote for the previous theme! ;)

    @rick: There is nothing inherently “evil” about justified type, and it certainly doesn’t equate to careless typography. While there are some cases where this thinking may apply, I think there are many exceptions to the “rule” (not there actually is one carved in stone somewhere). I appreciate your comment, but happen to care very much about typography and find the justified post text rather appealing, visually speaking.

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Perishable Press is operated by Jeff Starr, a professional web developer and book author with two decades of experience. Here you will find posts about web development, WordPress, security, and more »
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