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I’m feeling the stirrings of that design inspiration I’ve been seeking for the past couple months. I want to do something totally different. There are thousands of blogs out there, and lately, they all (rash generalization, there are those that don’t, and you know who they are) look alike. Mine looks like everyone else’s now, and it didn’t use to. Everyone has a white background with black text, a semi-interesting header (and a lot of people using photos of musicians or actors, which bothers me for some reason), a menu with the standard bloggy content (last X posts, blogroll, links to photos, etc – ummm, just like me), and sometimes a third column (because three column layouts were the big trend this year) containing often useless information. Some people resort to a fourth column with even more useless info which I don’t think they realize causes all kinds of problems in non-maximized browsers. See, it’s all the same. The problem is partly that there’s only so much you can do with bloggish information. You have your posts, comments, links, etc and there are only so many different ways to display them.

There are other ways to do things. I honestly believe someone will do something completely original with a blog in the next year that everyone will copy (poorly in most cases). So, what’s my inspiritation? Which sites inspire me? Here’s the list, and why:

  • Jeffrey Zeldman: Everyone knows who Zeldman is. If you don’t, you probably haven’t been playing in the design/web-building arena very long. I love his most recent redesign for his decision to use a middle-o’-the-spectrum color in a not-too-dark shade, and then use text that’s really not that much brighter. It works better than any of my attempts at the same thing. If you’re interested in design at all, start a new habit and read his site daily.

  • k10k: Their semi-recent redesign shows you CAN do four columns well. It’s not a blog, but the right-hand column is semi-bloggish. Also, it’s a great place when you need to feel inspired. The links in the News section are a wealth of designatory goodness.

  • Six Apart: From the folks who brought you Movable Type, it’s just a great subtle design job (as is Movable Type). I love the subtle background image in the top header. They also perfectly balanced the padding between page elements. Nice, clean, professional (not that I’ll use any of those, because I’m D: None of the Above).

  • Daring Fireball: Minimalist, grey, usually things I hate. But, there’s something that really works about the design of this site. The spacing between that spartan logo and the beginning of the content is just great. I love the warmth of the grey background. Just groovy.

Now, I’m not planning on using any elements from these sites, but all of them have given me ideas and spurred me to think about different things I can do with this site. I may not do any of them here where you can see them, but I’ll get around to it (another reason I love OS X – I have Movable Type and a copy of this site running in my local copy of Apache).

Categorized as computing

By Kevin Lawver

Web developer, Software Engineer @ Gusto, Co-founder @ TechSAV, husband, father, aspiring social capitalist and troublemaker.