November 21, 2008

New look.

Complain about the new strong look if you dare.

I was going to completely redo the blog template, but then I realized I just wanted Blogger's Minima template tweaked into greater simplicity and strength. I've reduced the color, boldened a few things, and eliminated all the uppercasing.

ADDED: I'm backing out of nearly all of it!

AND: Re-tweaked.

AND: I'm back to where I started!

117 comments:

Meade said...

Meade like-y. Easy-to-Read.

Original Mike said...

We can hear you. You don't have to Yell

former law student said...

It's jarring, but I will likely get used to it.

rdkraus said...

Nice.

Like a poke in the eye.

Revenant said...

It is too black-and-white for such a cruelly neutral blog.

Simon said...

The masthead looks good. Dubious about the rest.

Hoosier Daddy said...

It's very antiseptic looking. I feel like any moment someone in a white lab coat will be telling me its time for my prostate exam.

John Stodder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sofa King said...

Georgia! Good call, definitely one of my favorite Microsoft fonts. Always better than Times New Roman.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The headline font is too large. Out of proportion to the rest of the fonts.

ricpic said...

Muscular hard ass liberalism = communism.

Matthias said...

I think you're taking that post about Drudge being the best designed site on the web a little bit too much to heart.

Outside of that, can I suggest something sans serif? Strength doesn't have to be in opposition with beauty.

Meade said...

Boldly understated post-modern elegance.

so easy to look at, so hard to define.

John Stodder said...

Must be something in the blogosphere. Instapundit changed this week, too, although it's more subtle. He switched to WordPress, and that had the effect of smoothing out his look, making it a skosh less aggressive.

Whereas your new style is more penetrating. The bolder headline font puts the onus on you to write bolder headlines, Ann. Long, discursive headers won't work as well in this font.

EDH said...

Careful with the drift of the format, Ann, "Integrity" will soon accuse you of being a "right-wing, ugly... self-loathing homo," too, like Drudge.

Big Mike said...

I kind of liked the old one. I suppose that's why I'm a conservative.

Joe M. said...

I like it.

The purples of the dates and the clicked links don't look right with the rest, though.

TitusIAmNotHavingSex said...

The "new look" makes me horny but I am not having sex for the next couple of months.

No jerky jerky to myself either.

I am even trying to resist getting a hardon.

Darcy said...

I loved the old look. I'll deal, though.

TitusIAmNotHavingSex said...

I wonder how many hardons a man gets a day.

I am sure it is based of age. I would be interested in a breakdown of hardons per day by age.

Meade said...

Titus, maybe you could Twitter us each and every tingle so we don't miss a thing.

Hey said...

I don't like the headline. It's coming up "jaggy" on my screen, due to the font, boldface, and size of type. There are probably better choices for it.

I'm using firefox 3 on vista with a 1900 x 1200 display.

TitusIAmNotHavingSex said...

Do women really like hard hogs or is it just a means to an end to have a baby?

Do women enjoy sex like men enjoy sex?

A gay man can chow down on a hog like there is no tomorrow. Do women have that same instinct?

bearing said...

It makes the ads the most noticeable thing on the page.

Before you settle on a design, consider what it does to the lovely photographs you so often post.

Christy said...

Displeasing, unfriendly.
So minimalist, it looks like a first attempt by an adult to create a blog.

Sofa King said...

I also agree the headlines - but not the masthead - would look better in sans serif - like a lot of newspapers do. Trebuchet, maybe, or Verdana.

Doyle said...

I think it suits you. Darker and weirder than the original (default Google template). Like something a goth teenage girl would like.

Christy said...

Makes the ads dominate. If that is your aim, and who can gainsay you the opportunity to make money, good job.

Ann Althouse said...

" It's coming up "jaggy" on my screen, due to the font, boldface, and size of type."

That's the kind of thing I need to fix. Thanks for telling me. I'm looking at a Mac with a good screen.

ricpic said...

In answer to Titus' question: the female engine has to be warmed up.

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

Me like.

David said...

Lookin' good. Like the author.

dualdiagnosis said...

Looks fat to me.

Does this explain the Drudge study?

dualdiagnosis said...

Too much purple, clashes with the comment section.

Roger J. said...

dont like--perhaps it's my monitor, but comes across to me as jarring..that said, it's your blog and you can do any thing you want with it! (also the conservative part of me has to be persuaded that change is necessary)

SteveR said...

Is this change we can belive in?

Ann Althouse said...

Does this blog make me look fat?

Roost on the Moon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

The headline font is too large. Out of proportion to the rest of the fonts.

DBQ is right.

ricpic said...

The headline font is too large. Out of proportion to the rest of the fonts.

I agree.

Maybe could be solved by having sub-heads a midsize transition font.

TitusIAmNotHavingSex said...

You have fat fonts.

John Stodder said...

Ann Althouse said...

Does this blog make me look fat?


You must buy that URL!

integrity said...

Much edgier, more interesting. Urbane and sexier. I think the fonts are perfect.

former law student said...

After reading the comments, I am prompted to observe that on my laptop, the letters in Althouse are all askew. They aren't all vertical, and some extend lower than the rest.

Palladian said...

The problem with fonts on the web is that a site designer has to rely on the user's computer to possess the fonts they specify. And since most people use the ghastly Windows operating system, the web was basically designed around the fonts available in every version of Windows. Microsoft was smart and commissioned the brilliant type designer Matthew Carter to do some faces for them, including Verdana, Georgia and Tahoma. What's great about these fonts is that they were specifically designed for screen rendering rather than as print fonts, unlike most of the older faces. Many of the old typefaces which were cut in the days of metal type were digitized quite sloppily and clumsily and lost much of the character that made them work as typefaces. An example of this is the common version of Baskerville, a great font that received a very bad treatment in the transition to digital type in the 80s.

Anyway, the situation is a bit better now, but still does not offer designers that much of a choice unless they embed fonts in Flash files, a practice which I loathe, or rely on various questionably effective font embedding schemes.

I'm not sure what to think of the new design. I like the starkness of it, but the lack of a real choice of font faces makes designing type-driven pages pretty difficult.

Palladian said...

BTW, the best current incarnation of John Baskerville's typeface is Storm's Baskerville. Great work.

Hey said...

I have to defend the honor of my laptop! It has a great screen.

What it looks like is that you've overscaled a font that's not designed to work at very large point sizes. The font (or at least the one used in Windows) doesn't have enough resolution for the size you're using. The same kind of problem you get when blowing up a picture from a cheap digital camera.

Ann Althouse said...

Obviously, I need some help fixing whatever looks bad in Windows.

The font is Georgia, though.

dualdiagnosis said...

I turned off Adblock Plus to see what others are talking about. You have a large ad above your pic/bio! Obviously, that space must be valuable, but I am not used to seeing you pushed down so far on your own blog.

EDH said...

Does this blog make me look fat?

More like Phat!

Ann Althouse said...

"I am not used to seeing you pushed down so far on your own blog."

Advertising is the way one earns money blogging. The top space is valuable.

BTW, I toned down the post titles a little.

veni vidi vici said...

taking after the drudgereport industrial design aesthetic, are we?

and seriously, "muscular hard-assed liberalism"??? there's more than a whiff of overcompensating in that phrase. it reminds me of mike huckabee, whose overcompensating is expressed in a different field, but equally whiffily.

OldGrouchy said...

Change? Now, there's no hope!

sg said...

It's scary. Not the change I was hoping for.

But I like this:

"muscular hard-ass liberalism with the thermostat set cruelly low"

TRO said...

I like it, but your new quote up above reminds me of that nfamous Andrew Sullivan "max power glutes" thing which is quite disconcerting to say the least.

Ann Althouse said...

That's something Meade said today, but I think having it new at the same time as the new design is saying more than I mean to say. Will change.

laura said...

...Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change...

nansealinks said...

althouse:

i'll put your hard white liberal ass up against my long dark third party thighs and broad shoulders.


c'mon show us some pictures:
http://gallery.mac.com/nancy9.9#100427/IMG_1719

sonicfrog said...

Please ost some video. I want to see if the new template has improved performance.

Henry said...

It's like looking at a giant bar code.

sonicfrog said...

The new template hasn't imroved my ability to hit the "p" key.

Lem said...

Its gonna take a lotta love
To change the way things are.
Its gonna take a lotta love
Or we wont get too far.

So if you look in my direction
And we dont see eye to eye,
My heart needs protection
And so do i.


It's going to take a lot more than some fontifuting around to tame this hart fo mine.

Ron said...

A bit too Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS for me, but hey, Hope and Change, right?

dbp said...

I don't like it, I don't think it suits you as well as the old style.

It is colder and more cruel than your blog persona. Though if you are aiming to be colder & so-forth, then maybe this is a necessary first step.

Paddy O. said...

Blue. White. Sparse.

Ice.

Frozen.

No personality.

Hidden in the freeze.

Althouse makes me feel cold now.

Colder than 62 degrees.

Henry said...

A giant sideways bar code.

Here's a kindred spirit:

The Cruel Shoes

...This was not an ordinary pair of hideous black and white pumps. Both were left feet. One had a right angle turn in it with separate compartments that pointed the toes in impossible directions. The other shoe was six inches long and curved inward like a rocking chair with a vice and razor blades to hold the shoe in place.

Carlos spoke hesitantly: "Now you see. They're not fit for humans."

Sofa King said...

What it looks like is that you've overscaled a font that's not designed to work at very large point sizes. The font (or at least the one used in Windows) doesn't have enough resolution for the size you're using.

No, that's not the problem. Modern fonts are mathematically defined as lines and curves ("vectors" in the parlance) and as such do not have a defined "resolution."

What you are observing is that with Microsoft's ClearType technology, designed for LCD screens to use what's called "sub-pixel addressing", the horizontal resolution of the font is triple that of the vertical resolution, due to the nature of LCD screen construction. Microsoft chose for this technology to use the full available resolution of the screen - including sub-pixels - for rendering the font, but not to use what's called "anti-aliasing," which "smooths" the text by fudging adjoining pixels to shades of gray. This maximizes crispness.

Macs, by default, use a lot of antialiasing, which smooths things out more but is less crisp and harder to read at small sizes.

Incidentally, if you are using Windows, you can choose to use ordinary antialising instead of ClearType - it is an option in your desktop appearances settings (under "Effects") - though annoyingly IE7 will use it anyways unless you turn it off in IE as well.

Weirdly, it seems that Office 2007 also has a more advanced version of ClearType that uses both sub-pixel addressing AND antialiasing. I'm not sure why this isn't the default system in newer versions of Windows.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

I was shocked when the page loaded. At first I thought something was wrong.

It's a little "in your face" right now, and the font makes me uneasy. It's all so big and clunky.

Here's hoping you pull a Site Meter and change it all back by dinnertime.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

Althouse reinforces her Bushian creds?

It reminds me of this t-shirt.

Ann Althouse said...

I got cold feet.

I've mainly only kept the elimination of uppercase in the header.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

Booooo!

Open display of lack of strength after assertion of strength.

(Actually, does that continue along the President Bush line?)

knox said...

Oh, you put it back the way it was. I thought I was losing my mind, because it looks pretty much the same.

I miss the uppercase header, which works well visually with your name: ALTHOUSE. It just works. I don't like how the letterspacing looks with it lowercase. Oh well, it's not my blog!

rhhardin said...

``A woman, no matter how opposed she may becomes to housework, still gets a small thrill out of shifting things...''

Thurber and White, Is Sex Necessary?

Joe M. said...

No! Don't back out so quickly!

I liked the black and white. Now the colors all look maudlin.

ired said...

I'm glad you backed out of the design changes, but the whole blog has lost most of its appeal over the last six months or so. Can you revert also to your pre-neutrality writing style?

TRO said...

Playing with a template is a very difficult thing. I should know having changed my template (and bloggig providers) several times. I liked your first change and was just teasing about the first quote so my advice is go with what you love and forget the rest.

Paddy O. said...

Going back to the gmail themes, somewhat related, I picked the tree theme. It asked me where I lived. I thought that odd but entered it in. Seems now to change the theme background according to the current weather.

Ann Althouse said...

Re-tweaked.

Paddy O. said...

I'm going to go put my sweater on, then come back to Althouse.

Hector Owen said...

Looks like a bruise, all black and blue, which went well with that cutline about "muscular hard-ass liberalism with the thermostat set cruelly low." Blue lips to go with the bruises. Althouse the dominatrix, not just tough but cold as well. There's a blue profile photo from a while back.

Theo Boehm said...

This reminds me of New Coke and flutes.

Althouse has become a brand, with a well-known look and feel. For better or worse, the Althouse look has been that version of the Minima template that everyone has grown used to. As someone who has been reading this blog since the fourth month, I think it has served Althouse well, although I know there have been small changes.

New Coke may have been better or worse than Classic Coke, depending on your taste, but the very fact of a change upset everyone and nearly wrecked the Coca-Cola brand.

In the business I'm in--flutes--the basic design elements of the instrument date from the 1840's, and current models closely follow the look of flutes made in the 1880's. There have been all sorts of improvements and changes since then, mechanical and otherwise, but manufacturers alter the classic appearance at their peril.

The same holds true with most other acoustic musical instruments.

So, to me at least, Althouse has become like a fine Stradivarius violin, or a Steinway Model 'B,' or a Louis Lot flute: It may work as well if it looks different, but somehow the music will not be the same.

dbp said...

The tweaking is working, I think it is pretty much like the earlier one except the titles are navy blue instead of black. Kind of takes the edge off, in a good way.

knox said...

I hate almost all serif fonts in boldface.

jdeeripper said...

Cruel Indecisiveness.

veni vidi vici said...

Looks much better in blue than black.

Like most changes, it takes a bit of tweaking before it's Goldiloxed.

Theo Boehm said...

Knox, couldn't agree more.
The page may also load faster, but I can't stand to look at it.
Grumble.

Theo Boehm said...

What about a poll??

Palladian said...

"I hate almost all serif fonts in boldface."

Unless there was an actual bold version drawn by the designer, it looks terrible artificially "bolding" almost any fonts. As Sir Archy knows, italics were used for emphasis back in the day.

Palladian said...

How about Storm Baskerville Original Caps?

Palladian said...

Or how about the early modernism of Futura Bold Oblique for added cruelty (with an unfortunate hint of Barbara Kruger-ty as well, alas)?

Glen said...

My first response was an emotional and passionate revulsion. Then I fainted.

Ann Althouse said...

Good point about bolding.

I got rid of it and just made the post titles a little larger.

As for the font in the header, I don't want a sans-serif font. And I don't want all-caps.

I was considering handwriting it, but I'm not sure how to put it in the code.

knox said...

I was considering handwriting it

good idea

Kirby Olson said...

I can't stand change. I feel allergic to it. I can't understand why people voted for it. It's just the darnedest thing.

I was used to one thing coming over here, and now this.

Please don't do this.

Go back to the identity I knew about.

If there was a crowd of people with signs saying SAME THING, no matter what it was, I would vote for that.

Change obliterates continuity.

I can't stand it.

I want everything to stay the same forever.

Or at least make such tiny steps toward an evolution that I can never quite see any changes.

This is an upheaval. Please stop it, Ann.

Austin said...

I like it.

Now how about an icon for a Printer-Friendly layout?

knox said...

Or how about the early modernism of Futura Bold Oblique for added cruelty (with an unfortunate hint of Barbara Kruger-ty as well, alas)?

Unfortunate, indeed.

I generally prefer sans-serifs in bold and/or larger sizes. I really only want to see serif fonts in body copy.

laura said...

Kirby - Step 1 - We admitted that we are powerless over Althouse and hour lives have become unmanageable.

Relax. It'll be ok.

TitusIAmNotHavingSex said...

Hi Palladian.

Hee Hee, shy pose, looking down to the ground.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I like this tweaked version very much. Easy on the eyes and the fonts are in proportion to each other.

Kirby Olson said...

Laura, that helped.

PJ said...

Tweaked version much better!

Does this blog make me look fat?

There's yer new banner.

OldGrouchy said...

So cruel to toy with your loyal commenters! But, then life is cruel, even san serifs!

Revenant said...

I like the tweaked version.

jdeeripper said...

.

Chris Wren said...

I like it. I was never fond of Minima's orange headlines. I notice you haven't been posting your usual quota of images lately, and maybe that's part of what people are reacting to when they say it's a little on the stark side. More photos should warm it right up!

Brad V said...

As Zachary noted earlier, I, too, was slightly shocked in a sitemeterish way.

What, exactly, was wrong?

Meade said...

Revenant said...
I like the tweaked version.

Same here.

Lem said...

By George she's got it!

Althouse Rules!

jdeeripper said...

Maxine Weiss said...All for naught when you've still got the cluttered right column, and everybody knows you don't make anything off those advertisments.

Firefox with ABP cleans up those problems.

Alan said...

This is why you should never entertain the idea of getting a tattoo. You'll never be secure with the choice you make.

Ann Althouse said...

What makes you so sure I don't have a tattoo?

Alan said...

Well, if you do have one you're displeased with it by now. :)

OldGrouchy said...

What's the prize for guessing where the tattoo is on your body and what the tattoo is?

Cousin Bob said...

Hi Professor,

Just stopped by to see what's wonderful over here tonight, and I thought I was going color blind.

Everything looks blue.

I hate blue. There's too much blue. You buy a computer, what's the color of the desktop? Freaking blue patterns. Can't stand to read blue type after looking at blue everything else all day.

The orange post titles looked better. They caught your eye, and let you know what was important, and what was the next level down.

Now, it's all that damn blue and no hierarchy.

You want something to get your attention. Orange did it before, but maybe you should try some shade of red, say brick or barn red.

Why do you think they make "WIDE LOAD" signs the color red on trucks? They want to get your attention.

If you don't want to change the post titles, you could at least put "CAUTION WIDE LOAD" in big red letters on all your posts telling us how wonderful Obama is going to be.

bearbee said...

I really like what you have done to your site. It's much more appealing. Like Obama, change is good.

Oh?... you are back to where you started?

Ann Althouse said...

Ugh! Every time I do something, someone criticizes it....