Past designs of this site; some made the cut, some didn’t

As I work on the next version of my site’s design, which is coming along quite nicely I might add, I figured now would be a good time to take a stroll through the hallways of Colin Devroe Design, Inc. and look at some of the designs of my site that had never made it out into the wild.

Let me preface these screenshots by saying I am not a designer. You have been warned.

From past to present

Here are some of the designs that I created for this site, some of them made it, some of them didn’t, over the last few years. If, for some reason you are crazy, you want the Photoshop document for any of these you may have them free of charge. - March 2006

Circa March 2006

This one never made it, at least in the way we see it here, to the public site. But a version of it did end up making it to the live site and ran here for at least a few months. - April 2006

Circa April 2006

Nothing of this design ended up here on the site. The thing I notice the most about this was that it wasn’t a particularly wide design, so I was obviously still on my iBook. It is funny how, unless you are a professional designer, you tend to design for yourself before others. Professional designers are put to the task of doing just the opposite. - May 2006

Circa May 2006

Thank heavens this never made it live! Oh, and I’m beginning to notice how the diet had an affect on each of these designs. This design was from only one month after I started my diet, so I was still using photos of myself from when I was 35-40 pounds overweight.

The only redeeming quality, I think, about the direction I started to go with this design was that I starting to get away from the solid white background. But, alas, I never published this version. - June 2006

Circa June 2006

I can’t believe I was pumping out crappy unfinished designs every single month in 2006. This was obviously a variation of April’s attempt, and included both the Rebel Alliance logo and the numbers from LOST. Nice. - July 2006

Circa July 2006

This design was the beginning of a design that I ended up using in October 2006, which you’ll see below. This was when I began to really think about how blogs, by their very nature, didn’t do a very good job at “advertising” older content. It seemed like older blog posts became stale, Google bait, and so were a lot less valuable long term. So I created this quick and simple way, by using some photography, to link to older posts. - September 2006

Circa September 2006

This is where I began to combine my ideas for featuring content and also using “natural language navigation” in addition to the normal navigation menus in the header. The next version of this site will actually incorporate the navigation ideals from this design, in some form, and I’m looking forward to finally bringing this out.

Something else I’m noticing is that in September 2006 I was still using my middle initial on the Internet. I’ll have to do some serious digging to see when it was that I finally realized I wanted to drop the D. and just use my first and last name online. - October 2006

Circa October 2006

As we saw back in April 2006 I had created the foundation for what became this theme. This was actually a pretty good version of the site, in my opinion, as it had many of the things I really wanted to pull off. It may not be as aesthetically pleasing as I would like, but I’m not very talented in that area. But this version definitely made it easy to publish content the way that I wanted to. Something I’m slowly working my way back to now. - October 2006

Circa October 2006

I have no idea what I was trying to accomplish with this design. Though looking back I do like the direction I was going with the footer here using natural language navigation. Everything else is pretty horrible, which is probably why I never even completed the mock up, let alone put it live on the site. - May 2007

Circa May 2007

Pushing out in the the simple and artistic side of myself, I began to try to put together a header that would better show that I wasn’t tied to only a two-color, boring design. This mock up only shows the simple header but, where this layout began to excel was how it handled navigation. I think I ended up scrapping it because completing all of the JavaScript needed to pull it off became pretty daunting at the time. - November 2007

Circa November 2007

In November of last year I began to scramble. I was desperate to get something different up here on my site and so I began to experiment in Photoshop a lot. This was one version where I just went crazy and tried to do something completely different than what I have ever tried here.

Here is another one. - November 2007

Circa November 2007

This mock up, which took me about 5 minutes to throw together, needs no other explanation than to say: I probably drank a lot that night. I had began to think that maybe I should come out with something totally “weird” and in that way it’d be original and thought provoking. Well, the only thought this design provokes is of crap. - November 2007

Circa November 2007

And now we get to what is now the current design of the site. It has had a few iterations since I installed this theme in October/November of 2007, but for the most part this theme has served me really well.

I really should have kept a gallery of screenshots of this site up-to-date every time I made a little change. Oh well, I think I will from
now on. - December 2007

Circa December 2007

Another reach, here I decided to return to something close to October 2006’s design, one that I thought that worked pretty well – while changing around the colors and adding a few new elements into the mix. This “remix” never sat well and so I didn’t complete the mock up.

Are you still here? Wow. We’re almost done, I promise. - December 2007

Circa December 2007

This was another “few minutes in Photoshop” wasted. Sometimes I feel inspired and so I quickly open Photoshop to see if I can mock up the thought in my head. I remember, pretty clearly, having a great idea on this day on how best to pull off something – and then I completely lost it when I was getting everything setup in Photoshop – and so out came something completely horrible. - March 2008

Circa March 2008

So here is my first redesign attempt last month that I ended up scrapping. After mocking this up, I decided to go a completely different direction rather suddenly and so I simple dropped this design. This design is actually pretty “ok”. It is simple, does that it needs to, and not much that it doesn’t. But I decided that it was a little “too much” for what I want to accomplish with the next version of my site.

That was fun, wasn’t it? A look back in time to hopefully learn from and do better in the future. I think the idea of “it isn’t always what we do, but what we choose not to do, that makes us great” definitely applies here. Although my site’s design hasn’t always been very nice, I can say that I’m happy that I never put up some of these designs.

So what’s next?

Well, you’ll just have to wait and see, but I will say that I’m going to be going much more simple with the next design. Sort of like a Tumblr type design, with some added flare for the various portions of this site that are highly customized.

Essentially over the last few months I’ve been building a personal content publishing platform with WordPress, now at version 2.5, as the foundation. I’m really excited to see what the future of this site looks like, and hope that everyone enjoys it.

Note: Skitch, which is one of my most favorite applications/services of all time, made this post not only possible but really easy and affordable to pull off. Thanks to the plasq team for such a great product.