When I was in high school and college, I used to change up my blog designs quite frequently. I wasn’t as prolific as some of the other people I followed, but when I felt things were getting stale stylistically (probably somewhere every 2-4 months), I wouldn’t hesitate to head into Photoshop and the stylesheets and switch things up. I was happy to do it. I was excited to do it. It might have taken me a day or two to figure out what I wanted… and there were definitely times I felt like I was butting heads with my vision versus my Photoshop skills but I largely proceeded without fear.
I didn’t know to be afraid in those days. I was just doing what felt like fun.
Then, I graduated from college and became a real paid for my skills web developer and everything changed.
Suddenly, my life went from messing around with Photoshop and CSS to make my blog look pretty to using Photoshop to slice up someone else’s design and using CSS to replicate what was in the picture, usually resulting in a fight with a designer somewhere down the line because something was 1px off or I eyedroppered the wrong shade of blue out of the Photoshop file because no one gave me a colorsheet to work from.
I was working on teams to build small to mid sized websites using Drupal. Things were constantly about collaborating with others to get the job done. My life became about best practices and standards. Everything was always about doing things the right way over the easy way.
I’m not saying that’s a bad thing… because it isn’t. It’s the way things have to be to have a large web project run smoothly. However, it had a rather grim downside for me.
Fear and complacency.
It wasn’t very long after I went professional that my blog began to suffer. It was no longer fun to retheme my blog, instead it was a terrifying proposition. My job involved implementing designs that other people made. I had quickly become used to the fact that I was relying on others for the blueprint of everything I did… I’d open Photoshop and sigh and say to myself, “I’m not a real designer,” and then I’d give up.
As if it somehow mattered if I was a “real” designer or not when it came to my blog.
I considered hiring the job out to someone else, but couldn’t bring myself to do it for something that I essentially knew how to do myself… even if I found myself believing that I wasn’t all that capable.
I bring it up because I’ve been unhappy with my current theme for quite some time. While I love how it reflects my New Yorkerness, I’ve been not loving the color scheme so much. It’s so drab. I dread the moments where I have to actually go and look at it.
I’ve been sitting with Photoshop open on my machine for the greater part of the week… Largely feeling at a loss about what to do about my “I hate how my blog looks” predicament. I vented to longtime blogger friend, Aubrey who commiserated with me on the whole feeling fearful and inadequate in regards to design skills and we reminisced about the time when we didn’t care, we just did.
And now… We just spend our overthinking it instead of just doing it.
Which leads me to yesterday evening, with the goal of creating a new layout in my head… I found myself browsing through fonts on the web looking for some inspiration. I downloaded and installed a bunch of new ones, and all of the sudden… The look I wanted came together. No overthinking. Just playing around and seeing where it went… and I think it went somewhere good.
I went to bed this morning with a mockup in hand and a plan… and I couldn’t be happier.
The new theme will probably be up by the end of the week, if not before…. Be on the lookout for it!