Flourish for Zaadz
Zaad is Dutch for “seed”. Zaadz is a company that seeks to be the creative catalyst to others. They provide the technology and the means to publish and maintain a website so that you can do what you do best, create. Zaadz recently came to Cameron Moll with the need for website template designs (pretty much what you’ve come to expect, clean XHTML and CSS with a little bit of flavor). So, Cameron enlisted the talents of Bryan Bell, Brian Biddle, Jared Christensen, Ryan Sims, and myself to design and code.
Designing templates for this sort of service can be daunting because it’s easy to fall into a trap of over-thinking your work. The design needs to be flexible enough to accommodate a broad range of topics and authors while still retaining some personality. There are no logos or branding structures to work from, but you still need to find a way to give it its own life and make it interesting. The requirements were pretty loose: all text needs to be editable, templates must be available in three, two, and one column varieties as well as an email and five color schemes. We consolidated all of our structural CSS (including the different column constructs) into one file and separated our color-specific CSS into another. We also tried to use the same general markup as each other to make it easier for Zaadz to get these into their publishing system without losing sleep.
Zaadz smartly suggested we not worry about trying to appeal to everyone and just create designs reflective of things that inspire us. I had a blast designing this, drawing inspiration from some Art Nouveau posters as well as Victorian Era advertisements and engravings. For your perusal (all content is mock):