Last summer I was looking for work, playing a lot of Red Dead, and decided I wanted to redesign my site.
Deja-vu? Well, maybe…
I’ve been working on a site for a friend, and I’ve been adamant about keeping the design clean and the load-time short. It’s coming along well, but just as when I worked on my acting site (still under semi-construction), returning to markmushakian.com is almost disappointing. Not that I hate the design, but it’s just lacking in some way. I’m not really sure if it’s just an adjustment period (like when one comes home from a fun, long vacation), or if I’ve stretched my design skills in new ways so this site just feels old, or if it’s just the fact that I’m an anxious person who has a hard time with consistency. Maybe it’s all 3 ;).
The original concept for this site was simple: one-stop-shop for all things Mark Mushakian. The problem, as I saw it later on, was that I don’t have that much to offer that isn’t my blog. Sure, there’s Random Beauty (a crowd favorite), but that doesn’t really rely on this current design in any way. I had really wanted to style this site as I have my room, but with load times already increasing, I slowly pulled back on the idea of adding so many extra elements. So, with that, I’ve left myself in kind of this odd middle-ground… it’s not very quick and clean-cut, but it’s also not as fanciful and fun as I had originally intended.
Along with this, the last two sites that I’ve designed are ones that I’ve not only really, really liked… but they’ve been very different in concept than this one. Case in point:
It’s not finished, yet (though in working order if I need it), but I actually started it during my last major redesign for markmushakian.com – to offer myself an opportunity to escape into something lighter, and to try some new things. The problem is, shouldn’t my main site be that freeing, too? In some ways, I feel trapped in this current design… which is hilarious, because that’s the same reason I even redesigned it in the first place. With my old B/W site, I felt trapped by the quirky blog system itself, though the basic design served me fine. Now, with my colorful “room” version, I feel more trapped by the layout and style concept.
When reading about web-design, one of the major lines that gets tossed around almost every time is “Design the content, not the page.” It’s a concept I never quite understood completely, but this design dichotomy I’m finding myself in defines it well, I think. While my acting site is unfinished and will still be changed in certain ways, its basic setup is complete… and it serves the content. With markmushakian.com, I became so intent on finding a fun and interesting concept to base my redesign on (a necessity for me then, though, for sure), I was adding unnecessary elements. Sure, Random Beauty isn’t really “necessary”, but compare it to a purely visual element like the window at the very top of the page. Though I’ve tried since it’s inception (bwaaaaaaaaa!) to offer more on my site, this is still 95% a regular ol’ blog. Yes, I’d love to have animations and short movies and everything else I’ve created pages for over the years, but those aren’t the main focus… and they probably never will be. So, maybe I’m just coming to terms with that?
I’m just not sure. Heck, you’ll notice that there’s no Sunday Sketches post today, and last week’s was just a lethargic posting of something I’d doodled when I was resting the week before… so I’m obviously not in a dynamic and energetic place, right now. There are plenty of design elements I love about this site (the actual blog, itself, being one of them), so I’m not quite planning on throwing everything out… but I’m definitely contemplating what I can do. If everything has to go, I’m okay with that, because as major as my last redesign was and even though it’s been around for less than a year, it was a tremendously important step in growing past my original B/W design.
Perhaps that’s the base of it all. Beyond any personal issues, I’ve grown since this design.. and I can feel it when I visit. I have improved it since the launch in November, like my recent additions to Random Beauty, but there are other ideas and concepts I’ve been exploring in other designs that aren’t necessarily something that I should apply here… but they make is so that I come “home” from “vacation” and look around to see that I’d kinda like to do something else with the ol’ place.
I think this concept has been brewing for a little while now, and it’s like I’ve told friends about designing their site, “If you like how your site looks, you’ll want to write on it more.” It’s nothing more than an annoyance to me right now, but we’ll see where this goes :). As always, suggestions and comments are welcome.