31 August 2009

Site Redesign + Blog Art

I got tired of looking at the header on the blog, so I figured it was time for a fresh start. Once I started fiddling around with CSS in the Blogger template, things got a bit out of hand... hence the custom remodel job here, which might change in the next few days. More importantly, I'm no longer associated with the hundreds of other sites using the same brown and beige template (such as Dr. Debs' blog), and I can develop a more individual look now. Don't know why I didn't do this sooner.

The design of this latest header is taken from the logo for Beemans Chewing Gum (favorite of pilots and early astronauts), but it's a pretty common 50s-style motif. Oddly enough, I can't stand gum or being around people constantly chewing and snapping.

Some have pointed out that this resembles the sign of an old diner, and I like that connection. But it doesn't signal any sort of change on the blog; I'm not going to bleach my hair, wear sunglasses on the back of my head, and review Waffle Houses like a low-budget Guy Fieri.

Here's a retrospective of the past headers. (Note that if you go back to any old posts, it will only show the most recent header, layout, and links on the side.)

Unpublished concept art from late 2004. I couldn't work it into a good horizontal format, and it looks like the sign for an Olde Time Ice Cream Shoppe. No, I don't own a red and white striped shirt, a straw boater, or arm garters:

The original from the start in 2005, which stayed up until summer 2008. I still like this one, but it's a little too stodgy, like the logo for a brand of high-end wood varnish:

The replacement in June 2008, where I tried to render a texture similar to a closeup of a leaf's surface:

By October 2008, I felt a little more text was needed:

It was easy to decorate for Christmas:

I stuck with this design for a while, though I would change the colors with the seasons or whenever I felt like it:

The April Fool's Day header, which generated no e-mail or comments, but I'm still fond of it:

Inspired by the blazing heat of a Memphis summer, I played with breaking out of the design with a new look (1980s science textbook cover) and the use of a photo background:

...But I wasn't happy with it and retreated:

Since that was confusing some people, I went back and tried a yellow version of the old header, which I recently discovered looks horrid on certain monitors:

Which takes us all the way to today's new header. I started over from scratch and took things in a whole new direction. I might play around with a few different styles, different color schemes, etc. in the months to come. (You know, De Stijl would be fun...) I'm looking at the header as less of a recognizable brand for the blog and more of a necktie--no need to wear the same tie for years on end:

P.S. Just to show I have a softer side, a few months ago I did a header for Samantha Dugan. It went through a couple of revisions and tweaks, but she settled on this one:


Dr. Debs said...

Sorry to see you leave the "brown and beige brigade" but I love the new banner. Thanks, too, for the history lesson through the older versions.

The Wine Commonsewer (TWC) said...

Did I fail to tell you how cool the Mad Magazine header was? It was way cool!

Not ice cream, Olive Oil!

Benito said...

To the esteemed Dr. Debs,

One of the big problems was that I'd read a blog like yours (which I really enjoy!) but would want to move a picture or tweak something. Not that I was criticizing other sites, but it got a bit confusing, like being in the same room with someone who is wearing the exact same clothes.

And then you encounter a blog with the same template that specializes in Star Trek erotic fan fiction, and well, you figure it's time for a change.


If I didn't firmly respect copyright law, I'd fill up the margins of this blog with little Sergio Aragonés drawings. :)


Samantha Dugan said...

I freaking love my banner, and adore you for doing that for me! Fits my blog perfectly.

Benito said...


My pleasure entirely, and I wasn't fishing for compliments here. It is, as always, your unique spirit and personality that keeps people coming back to your blog, not the graphics around the text.

Just thought it was appropriate to include given the topic.


Samantha Dugan said...

You would never fish dude, just wanted another chance to send you kisses and hugs along with a GIANT thank you.