The New, Old Jalopy

Spring is (very nearly) in the air, and it’s the perfect moment for a little tidying up. This marks the fifth major revision to Stuntbox since these digs were first lovingly cobbled together, and I feel like it’s one of the most significant. Apart from the obvious aesthetic shifts, the biggest change comes in the form of putting the blog front and center once again. The previous design greeted users with what amounted to a rather subdued splash page, something that felt right at the time. But if one is going to take the time to say something worth saying (and by implication, worth reading) then those words deserve all the prominence and care that can be granted to them via the design. Back to the front you go, you words.

In addition, this redesign afforded a much-desired opportunity to revise my standard site-building playbook. The new Stuntbox takes advantage of HTML5 and CSS3 (some now, more later) while dipping its toes in the responsive design waters. Regarding the latter, most of the major layout elements have been defined with percentage values in the CSS, while the uppermost parent container has been capped with a pixel value. Essentially, this allows me to toggle between fluid and fixed layouts when I want to by editing a single CSS rule. I like this technique so much I now find myself using it regularly on projects, even when the end result is a fixed-width layout. (“Oh, you’ve decided you want fluid? No problem…”)

Also, rather than leave images in the markup, I’ve adapted earlier image replacement techniques by using sprites to display key graphics, like the logo and nav, at various sizes. This keeps the markup clean (no image tags) while allowing me to do things down the road like support high resolution devices (cough, cough—Retina display—cough, cough). All this makes for a workable solution while we await the dawn of universal background-size support with bated breath.

Oh, and the design, wherein I return to my love affair with all things Red Rooster. Back in the day the original Stuntbox wordmark was set in Consort, which I’ve returned to for the main navigation (nice whiff of personal nostalgia, that) while setting the new logo in Grand Canyon, a face that makes no bones about it’s presence. (Seriously, I remember the first time I saw Grand Canyon I actually blurted out something along the lines of, “Whoa, when the heck would I have the spine to use something like that?” Well, guess what…) The body copy comes by way of Typekit and the supremely competent FF Meta Serif Web Pro, a typeface that’s so damn orderly and legible on screen it very nearly makes me want to give it a fist bump, or whatever congratulatory hand gesture the kids are calling cool these days. As for the layout, well, it’s straightforward enough that I’ll let that speak for itself. (Yes, I used you-know-what.)

Finally, it’s worth noting that this is all something of a work in progress. This new design is the result of a fair amount of thought about the direction I’d like to see this site go in as my work with clients and business partners continues to grow and evolve. On the process end, it’s been built to accommodate and further some of the more helpful habits I’ve built up over the past year. I’ll be shaving off the rough edges in the days and weeks to come. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to seeing a great big bunch of you at SXSW in a day or two. If you can properly identify me, say hello!