Last week we started on a blog redesign, it's live now in case you hadn't noticed (get in here RSS subscribers!). It was the last of our products that needed an overhaul to get up to date with some of our current styles. First we did the Hoptoad and Widgetfinger (RIP) skins, then we did thoughtbot.com and finally our training app. Giant Robots was the last on our list and I finally had a little downtime to work on it.
We approached it similar to the thoughtbot.com redesign with two designers having a go, and taking the best of both ideas for a final version. Kyle and I both took a few stabs at the design. He was tasked with taking a more minimal approach because I knew I'd be trying an over the top, elaborate design. Our only goal was to match the brand/feel of thoughtbot.com so it wasn't such a harsh transition when you came to the blog. Other goals included making the content area a little wider, getting rid of a lot of extraneous stuff, and to update the look and feel to a more modern styled blog.
Review and Compare
When we compared two of our multiple versions, there were things from both that helped contribute to the final design. When I looked at them I definitely knew I liked Kyle's approach more, sticking with the bare minimums and keeping it as clean as possible. The main things that persisted from my design were the colors and the body styles. From Kyle's came the minimal approach. His simplicity and elegant typography really struck me.
Amidst the design process Kevin said something that stuck with me and became a goal of mine when putting the final design together. We had been looking at a blog post on twitter's blog and Kevin mentioned that the content was his only focus. It's what he initially was drawn to, and what he stayed focused on. I wanted this to happen with the new Giant Robots. This became my first goal, to have the content be the primary focus, and nothing else. I know this should always be the case, but sometimes we veer off the content is king path a little to make things look snazzy, I know at least I do. The main method of achieving this was to strip everything else from around the site. Every time I thought I had finished stripping things away, I realized we could take more. There's even been things removed since the design was pushed live less than 24 hours ago. We think the new design is a success, let us know how you feel.