Redesign: Resets and Blank Slates

Before I redesign this site, I want it to look as default as possible, so its previous design won’t influence the look and feel of its next iteration.

This isn’t a “normal” part of redesigning a website, but for the sake of this exercise, I thought it might be helpful.

When I begin any sort of redesign, I like to — at the very least — pretend the previous design doesn’t exist. If a redesign is called for, the previous design doesn’t solve the problem. First, we need to identify the problem we’re going to solve.

This is a rare case where I can actually wipe the slate clean. I can literally un-design my blog — so that’s what I’ve done.

As of today (June 2020), this site uses Georgia and your device’s default sans-serif, and the whole thing has a max width set up for easy reading. That’s it.

Headers and paragraphs share consistent line heights and font sizes. This is not necessarily good design (although it certainly can be); it’s simply efficient.

It is my hope that the current version of this site doesn’t look designed at all.

Most of the site’s CSS just looks something like this:

p, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, li {
	margin:1.5em auto 0 auto;
	padding:0 1rem;

Apart from hacking away at the email sign up below, it doesn’t get much more complex than that. It’s only a couple hundred lines of CSS. (In all honesty, I wrote it very quickly, and it’s not well-written. It could be much shorter. But it’s functional, and it took me less than one afternoon.)

The point of doing something like this is to avoid re-using and regurgitating ideas I’ve had in before. Like every other designer, I’m guilty of recycling my ideas. But every problem is unique — even if this is the eight hundredth blog I’ve designed.

A reset removes the previous problems and allows me to focus on the problem at hand — so I can start thinking about the future.