A List Apart Redesign
Well, the headline says it all. In the past few months I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in the latest redesign of A List Apart. It was a tremendous undertaking, and months in the making, but it’s finally live!
I am responsible for the new design, but this was most certainly a group effort: Eric Meyer on CSS, Dan Benjamin on the new CMS, Damon Clinkscales on legacy content migration, and last but not least Erin Kissane and Jeffrey Zeldman on writing and direction.
The new design is a big departure from the ALA of old. We wanted to imbue the site with a distinguished feel, both professional and scholarly. This started directly with the new logo. After lots of permutations, I ended up with a trusty old friend, Garamond, sitting on a laurel wreath. The overall look takes some cues from traditional letterpress printing and is fixed on a strong (and wider) grid with some healthy whitespace to make reading fun for all ages. ALA now features a numeric bug (not the problematic kind; I’m referring to a small branding element) for each issue stamped right next to the logo. This makes the current issue immediately available from all the major site pages. The base color palette is neutral and warm, but each following issue will sport it’s own color palette (as hinted by all the legacy articles in grey). This will give ALA a brand new face with each issue.
When creating the new design for A List Apart, we also tried to foster a look and feel that would carry over into the new brand extensions like the long-awaited An Event Apart and the upcoming A Book Apart. All the websites and associated entities will feel like a big happy family.
There two last things I want to mention. First, Kevin (who is now ALA’s staff illustrator) and I had time to whip up some t-shirts to celebrate the launch (with the printing expertise of Threadless). We think ALA is great and we want to share the fun. Second, A List Apart now has RSS feeds for a individual articles’ comments. This is perfect for a site like ALA that usually generates dozen of comments per article, and especially useful for someone who needs to follow the comments in the hopes of getting help with a particular problem.
A List Apart is now happily lounging around its new home on TextDrive’s spacious servers. A lot goes into migrating a site like this. The site is truly immense, and it takes time to get everything right. With that said, we are still tidying up the code on some pages (especially the older ones). We didn’t want that to delay the launch, and should hopefully have the place squeaky clean soon enough. For know, enjoy two big launch articles: When You Are Your Own Client, Who Are You Going To Make Fun Of At The Bar? by Jim Coudal and Facts and Opinions About PDF Accessibility by Joe Clark.