Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

The new ideasonideas

The new ideasonideas
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Ta-da! Welcome to the redesigned ideasonideas! The new “look” represents both a change in direction and a bit of a revised mandate. I’d like to talk about the future of this blog, our reasons for change, and the compelling new content we’re working to deliver.

Two years, 52 long posts, and some good dialogue

When we started this blog a couple of years ago now, we wrestled with where we wanted to take the effort. As you may remember, at that point “blog” had entered common language to the point at which the word made an appearance in every conversation approximately 36 trillion times. (Ah, yes… the good old days.) In our minds, we wanted to stay narrow and generate some truly useful content.

As a result, we posted long articles centered on design. We had no interest in aggregating content and re-serving  it; instead, we concentrated on new content. Sometimes readers were upset by the opinions presented, and at other times we found our thoughts well received. It really didn’t matter to us, so long as the posts introduced something new and spurred some kind of dialogue.

But of course, we’re all in flux, and smashLAB is hardly any different. As much as we’ve loved writing our most recent posts, we’ve felt as though we could push things a little further. With that said, I’ll take a few moments to introduce the new ideasonideas!

A new visual direction

In telling friends that the “application” theme of ideasonideas was on the chopping block, a number of people asked if that was really wise. Some have noted that it was like an inside nod that made them smile. My feeling, however, is that while that approach illustrated where the blog started, it wasn’t particularly representative of where we want to take it.

Our new treatments are more “news-like” in presentation as we wanted to focus more on the content than novel visual treatments. Additionally, we’ve made some modifications to type size and contrast, to enhance readability. (We have been listening to your feedback!)

Given the number of posts, we’ve made an Index of Articles available. We’ve also added a section for Fresh, so if you have something helpful to share with readers, you can email it to me at If it’s relevant and good, I’ll post it here. We’ve also allocated a small amount of space for advertisements. Who knows? Perhaps all of this writing will result in a smashLAB “beer fund”.

Oh yes, that head popping out of the top of the screen is mine. Apologies for the glow off the top of that noggin; as many remind me, it can be quite hard on the eyes.

The important part

Of course, with my talk of hardcore design, the above would all be rhetoric, if it weren’t led by some reason for change. So, let’s talk about that…

With the new direction, ideasonideas broadens its scope to look at ideas and design in a larger context. Where our past look reflected a focus on designers’ practice, we’re now pushing this blog to have greater relevance. We’re hoping that an increasing number of marketers, advertisers, and anyone interested in communicating will become readers.

I suppose we’re moving ideasonideas out of the studio and into the world at large. In doing so, we’ll be able to address a wider range of topics. While I believe designers will still find the blog useful, this change will make it more useful to those who contract designers, brand strategists and the like. In fact, if you like this blog, please invite your colleagues to read it. It’s a real treat to learn that people find the posts helpful, and we’d love to extend the blog’s reach.

In the months to come we’ll introduce topics around integrated campaigns, opportunities in the interactive space, the evolution of the designer, and a multitude of other discussions. I’m personally really excited by the interviews that we’ll have online shortly, including talks with Debbie Millman from Sterling Brands, Stanley Hainsworth from Starbucks, and some other ones we’ll just keep secret for the time being.

“The” blog on ideas

Our goal for this blog is to be a great resource for those who create communications and continually work to do so more effectively. With the volumes of content out there, I hope that you’ll find your time at ideasonideas helpful and worthwhile.

Our posts will remain long (as they always have been) and we’ll work to keep them relevant and on topic. Please feel free to drop a note if you have any feedback or suggestions. The first two years of this blog were rewarding for all of us at smashLAB, and we feel as though we’ve made some good friends along the way. I hope our new phase is equally fruitful!

Follow @karj to hear about these posts first.

Comments & Trackbacks

  1. Jamie McCue says:

    Congrats on the redesign! I look forward to many new articles to come.


  2. Yes, indeed... congratulations.

    I'm a fan of clean/technical aesthetics, and you guys nailed it. Looking forward to your articles, as always.

  3. Wow, Eric -- congratulations. Still nice and clean, well done. I think expanding on your scope's content is an interesting choice -- I'm sure it will end up being well-timed. All the best for (continued) compelling content, and a healthy 'beer fund' ... Ein Prosit! ... Salut! ... Salute! .... etc.

  4. Yes, Ta Da! You've done it!

    And for a first site of the day - it makes me smile.

    Nice job all. Very nice.

  5. Steve says:

    Great new site - I saw it the other day when you had 10 new posts in my Bloglines feeds, struck as odd so I peeked and loved what I saw. I instantly fell in love with your old design when I first saw it and was surprised that you redesigned. I really like the new site and love the way you've brought pertinent info to the forefront, works very well. I'm looking forward to your next phases of life here.

  6. mark bane says:

    I've always been a huge fan of the old design (will it be archived anywhere onsite?), but this new iteration is excellent too. The rollover on the header alone is worth the price of admission.

    It seems like you've taken some of the best elements of the grid-based, clean-typography approach and combined it with the playfulness and neat pixel work of the old design. The best of both worlds—bravo!

  7. Erika Rathje says:

    Awesome! Very fresh! The organization of the right column's content is clear and direct, and not overwhelming as I often find. It makes me want to click on stuff. The home page's current posts organization is refreshing... something I'll definitely think about for the distant future in an inevitable redesign of my blog.

    Your upcoming topics -- what a tease, I want to read them now! -- will definitely have me coming back here.

    Any plans to release your entire posts to RSS for readers later on?

  8. Thomas says:

    Hi guys,

    Just like to say that, as a blog "designer" myself, I think you guys have done a very good job in the redesign!

    Love the use of whitespace!

  9. David Airey says:

    I like it. Very easy to read, although am I the only one who sees the flashing horizontal lines on the right of the screen? They're quite the distraction, and appear in Firefox and IE. I'm hoping it's just my monitor, but would be interested to know if others see the same.

  10. Matt Balara says:

    I've been a fan of your content for a while, and am interested to see where you'll be taking it.

    The redesign has a nice orderly simplicity to it, although my gut reaction was that it's lost a great deal of the uniqueness of the old site. But I like it all the same.

    As for readability, that was my very first thought, "gee, that type's awful small." I've got a pretty high resolution monitor, and my eyesight's fine, but this and most site's default size always sends me to ctrl-+. Maybe I'm just too into easy to read.

  11. Chris says:

    Very nice design. Looking forward to some good content

  12. kevadamson says:

    I like it. Quirky and clean. Dots on the right distract me a little when scrolling though. Keep up the good stuff ('',)

  13. Hi all,

    Thanks for the kind words; Very nice to hear such positive feedback!

    Some responses to your questions:

    Old site:
    Sorry, it isn't archived anywhere.

    Even I get a little kick out of that. ;-)

    RSS of entire posts:
    I'm not sure, we'll look into it.

    Flashing horizontal:
    We will look into this as well.

    Not as unique as the old design:
    I know, we struggled with that as well. This is just so much more appropriate given the new direction though. (And functional.)

    Type size:
    One we really put some consideration into. It all has to do with monitor resolution. The information architects website certainly looks fine on my monitor, but on a 17" at 1024x768, it feels like overkill. We tried to find a good middle ground.

    Thanks for reading. :-)


  14. Pingback: .: Designers who Blog: Design, Illustration, Photography, Web, Advertising, Branding … » Blog Archive » And WHAT a redesign it is! - ideasonideas

  15. Dabitch says:

    I was a big fan of the old (so KYOOT!) but I do like the new. Good job.

  16. Just discovered IdeasonIdeas. I like. My area of design, books, is somewhat narrow by its focus exclusively on books. So my reading tends to be, too. I am always on the lookout for books, for instance, about making books and the design of books. It's part of my self-imposed continuing ed plan.

    But I find it important to remember that my end of the design spectrum does not exist in a vacuum. Discussion of what I call pure creativity, or simply an open-ended look at using design to communicate generally are very valuable, and I expect to be a frequent visitor. In fact, I'll be adding you to my blogroll and I invite you to take a gander at my blog.

  17. Stephen says:

    Nice work guys. Fresh needs an RSS feed ;)

  18. Eric says:

    The top hover is clever. Nice work fellas.

  19. Derek Davis says:

    Looks great Eric!

    Only one bit of criticism, I agree with kevadamson, the dots on the right are a little distracting.

    Otherwise, great job!

  20. yani says:

    great effort on the new site, its good to break from whats comfortable and known and try to broaden! well done

  21. Damn fine redesign! Great layout and nice style, too.

  22. I've always been a quiet reader of yours but I just want to get out of that comfort zone and let you know that I think your new design is great. Very clean and professional. However, i don't like the dotted squares that you used as the background though... but that's just me...

  23. @ Eric: some days ago I stumbled upon your blog. Some articles are an inspiration to me and I will comment to some of those articles in the comming days. Now I would like to respond to your goal: [...Our goal for this blog is to be a great resource for those who create communications and continually work to do so more effectively. With the volumes of content out there, I hope that you’ll find your time at ideasonideas helpful and worthwhile.] To me it is helpful and worthwhile, so keep up the good work!

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