I did something tonight that I have never done before. I thought about changing my site back to the black design and just went ahead and did it. I didn’t second guess myself, I didn’t try and work it into my schedule. I dropped what I was doing and sat here for a solid 7 hour stretch and just fuckin’ did it. So, why the change?

There have always been things about my site that I wasn’t happy with. I’ve built it out so much over the past year and a lot of it felt (and looked) tacked on. Every time I open my stylesheet I cringe at the sight of some old habits I’ve since broke and always wanted to go back and rewrite it. But really, who’s gonna do that? Not this guy! I a lot of changes that brought my CSS up to a state that I can at least live with until I do a full redesign. I changed all my font units from percentage to em. I never really knew the full advantages of em over the other units until I read “Effective Style with em” over at MondayByNoon. A great read if you’re not fully in the know on that topic. I also removed pixel units from everything with a value of zero – another bad habit of mine. And lastly, I revised all my colours and shortened those that duplicate to 3 characters. It’s funny how long it’s taken me to change my ways. Every CSS or Web Standards book I’ve read has always shown the proper way of doing things, but I never bothered to change. Old habits die hard, I suppose.

I decided to bring back the coloured headings, which meant ditching the link colours and going back to a coloured underline for the various sections. In turn, I ended up going back to the “highlighting” effect that drew so much attention way back when. And speaking of colour, I’ve introduced a fourth into the mix. School bus yellow – yeah! Ugh, I’m so not a fan of yellow, to be honest. But it works, so I’ll keep it. I wanted to separate my work related stuff from personal on the site as I have in every other aspect of my life. So yellow it is for the Design section.

Lastly, I simplified the header quite a bit and tamed it down. I was never fully happy with it and I’m still not, but it’s an improvement. At least it doesn’t stand out as much as the previous one. I was always bothered by the alignment of the header on subpages as well. Originally, everything was peachy. Then I decided to stretch the sidebar out to 300px to fit some ads in there and it threw everything off. I’ve fixed this now, so all subpages line up now. While you’re looking in that direction, you may have noticed that my name is nowhere to be found. Yes, this is on purpose. I couldn’t settle on a typeface I really liked and I didn’t have time to work on a “logo”, so I pulled it off all together. I’m not sure I really need a logo for my myself, anyway. I might come back to this, but will most likely leave it as is until the next redesign.

I have lots more I will be doing over the next week or so. Finally ran out of hours today and I’m a little tired, to say the least. So i’ll get to them when I can. To those that preferred the black design over the white and pink, sorry it took so long to bring it back (in some form) – hope you like it! The white really wasn’t me anyway. I love black. I wear a black shirt every day (seriously), all the furniture in my home is black and I painted my damn Xbox 360 black. My website needs to be black.

30 Comments

Impressive as always, Matt. I’m psyched that you were able to follow what I had written regarding using em for font size — thanks for the plug, much appreciated. I’m not sure how you’re finding the time to make changes like this with everything else going on — I need to take a page from that chapter in your book… don’t worry, you won’t miss it.

Good to see you bringing the black back. I enjoyed the pink and all, but I didn’t really think it was "you" per se. And obviously after reading this post, it really wasn’t you.

If black says something about you, then why not use it? Something I ran into when redesigning my site (which is coming soon, for real this time) was that I had an almost complete design ready to go when I realized it wasn’t me at all. I had just come up with something that was interesting, but not representative of myself. I’ve since gone back and have majorly tweaked the entire thing, so hopefully I’ll be able to launch that soon.

I really enjoy this Return of the Black. It’s a lot easier on the eyes and seems more like you.

You see, I thought I liked your Pink design, until the other day I realised that whenever I spent anytime reading the comments at the bottom I got sore eyes.

So I thankyou for making the site more readable! Now just up the font size 😉

Woah! My eyes are broke, was quite a shock to see the back black!

I was getting used to the pink, but again, and just like before with the style switcher, the black is where it’s at it feels a lot more natural, a lot more "Brett"

Also, great to see that your portfolio has got the attention it deserves, the "school bus yellow"looks real nice, and it is a major improvement over the carbonmade equivalent.

Well everything is looking great around here, can’t wait to see what you cook up for the fall reboot! (hehe! but maybe we will see feedicons.com then?)

You just got the thing 😉

New design roxx as always, but I must say that I really enjoyed the pink/white one.

Maybe a … pink/black ? 😉

Woah, that was wierd. I changed the site ‘back to black’ when added the functionality before. Have come in today, and started looking for the switchter… then I realised it was already in black… strange!

I did like the white take on the theme earlier – but now that I’ve read your write-up I understand why you’ve changed things back to black.

Old coding habits die hard – but the good news is once they’re dead they won’t come back 🙂

Keep up the great work Matt.

Urhm. I liked your ‘white-look’ better. It was more balanced and a little more ‘quiet’ (if you know what i mean).

This black look is very busy and I lose the overview very quick.

But ok, it does look very nice 🙂

Nice to see you the site back in black Matt. I did like the pink version, but I must say that I like the black a lot better. Especially if it fits your personality better than the pink. The design rocks anyway regardless of the color scheme I must say.

Coming from someone who knows very little about web design, I think you owe yourself some credit. You managed to complain for an entire post about what was wrong with your site. Focus on how you’ve designed one of the nicest person sites on the ‘net. The bottom bar, three column mainpage, and all the little noticable stuff that goes unnoticed.

PS The black version kicks the shit out of the white.

Great! You seem to one up your designs everytime. I do agree with Ben, that after spending some time reading the comments, the eyes got a little sore.

And YES, the CSS habits SUCK. I have been wanting to make the jump using em for font size, thanks for the good reading.

Glad to see the Back-in-Black.

Looking good Matt, I’ve always liked your site in black and I was surprised when I opened this page a minute ago.

I just noticed that some of the old headers are still appearing in plain text under neatht he iamges. Also I thinkt he headers a little squished and should have your name somewhere in it.

@Jon: Yeah, I’m still not sure how I pulled it off in one night. Although, every time I click-thru to another page, I’m finding more little details I missed.

@Patrick: Been a while since I’ve seen you around these parts. Thanks for dropping by!

I realize now I never should have moved away from the darker colour scheme. I just really wanted to do something different instead of simply realigning content. Aw well, lesson learned.

Glad to hear you’ve back on track with your new design. Looking forward to it.

@Ben: Why don’t you up the font size? Everything scales pretty well (at least 1 or 2 sizes) now that I’m using em for font sizes.

@Andy: Definitely won’t be participating in the fall CSS Reboot. I’ll get to that another time. 😉

What’s this feedicons.com you speak of? Heh, one day!

@poofeq: I tried black and pink initially, but it was just too drastic. And still, the comments weren’t the easiest to read.

@skar: Hmm, not sure what you mean about this style looking busy. It’s essentially just a colour change. Content and layout has stayed the same. Maybe it’s the additional colour in the headings that’s thrown you off?

@Josh: You’re right, I did complain through the entire post. I guess that’s what happens when you write after working a 15 hour day. 😛 Thanks for the kind words!

@Scott: Thanks for pointing that out. Reminds me I need to clean those up. Some of them don’t have the proper width either.

Hmm, I read in Dan Cederholm’s book, ‘Bulletproof Web Design’ about using large, small, etc. font naming for like the body tag and then using % for everything down under (h2, p, etc.). I’m going to have to read that article you linked to and find out why it’s good to use em instead.

I’m glad to see that Black is Back. The pink theme was decent design-wise, but every time I was visiting your site I wondered why you trashed the black theme without some kind of style switcher.

Also, that article you linked about using em as your default units, I think his "percents are weird" argument for not using percents is pretty retarded. 😉

I use percents for font sizing, and ems for defining my padding and margins. It’s a good mix that makes sense to me. I know what 100% of a font is, and I also know what I’m going to get when padding something with 2ems.

Looks great, I always loved the dark skin. The pink was cool and all, but this is very ‘you’.

@Matt

Yeah you have a fair point there, I just tend to leave sites as is, I don’t know why.

Oh, and just so you know, I don’t have bad eye site or anything, I can ready it perfectly fine, I just prefer larger sizes 🙂

However I’m still loving Back In Black.

@Thom: I didn’t mean to come off as you put it "retarded" when I spoke about using percentage for font sizing. I’m glad you have an opinion about it and I think the following statement can sum up my response:

"Some developers do prefer to use percentages as opposed to other units. It really comes down to preference. The thing to keep in mind is the issue of scalability in an effort to assist the end user in any way possible."

I really liked the white and pink – but now I just don’t know what to think. The black looks equally impressive. Maybe you should let people choose which skin they can view the site with….

@ Jon

Reading back over it "retarded" was a little bit harsh — sorry about that. 🙂

I was posted that because I was expecting the article to give me the end-all-be-all reason for why ems are the most awesomely superior unit of all time, and when percents were dismissed because you don’t find them intuitive, I was disappointed and acted like a big 34 year old baby.

My bad. Good article though!

Ahh, the old mattbrett.com is back, the design we’ve all grown to love.

Very nice work. I still love it!

Very cool!

To be honest, I stopped visiting your site because of that white + pink + whatver. Now I feel great again, thanks. 🙂

Feels good to do these things impulsively, doesn’t it? I did the exact same thing the other day, too! Although it took me a measely 12-13 hours over two days, so I can’t put myself into the master class with you just yet 🙂

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