Version 10 has been retired here.

Design break­down and inter­view about this ver­sion at Perishable Press, on the Minimalist Web Design Showcase.

Introducing the tenth ver­sion of

Surgical Style

When approach­ing 10.0, I knew I wanted a note­book feel, so I used a grid back­ground to give the hint of paper. The idea was min­i­mal­ism. Single col­umn, no more icons, and super stripped-down meta data.

It’s still based on the good old 480 pixel-wide col­umn, although it’s bro­ken down into a grid with two main columns, which is used for the footer and other vary­ing pages. The dates on the left side are bul­lets that break out of the grid to help visu­ally sep­a­rate entries, and for a bit of style. Otherwise, it can be a lit­tle boring.

Moving on from 9.0

Version 9.0 was pre­sented with­out fan­fare. It was more of an evo­lu­tion than a rev­o­lu­tion; I reor­ga­nized the grid to be sym­met­ri­cal, increased the over­all con­trast, and mod­i­fied the header, but that was it.

It lasted about two weeks.

Even though I had ver­sion 8.0 going for a cou­ple of months, it didn’t last as long as I hoped. The empty space started to annoy me, and it wasn’t clean enough. The hol­i­days gave me a lit­tle time to make 9.0 from scratch, both design and code, and doing this, even though I changed it soon after, gave me a good direc­tion of where I wanted to go.

A Return To Form

One day, I was look­ing at my old sites and came across ver­sion 4.0, cre­ated back in 2005. I was blown away by the ele­ments I used, before I ever read any design books. It made me won­der why I changed it in the first place. Those were the days of Movable Type, with tiny grey type on a black back­ground, and it was my most pop­u­lar design.

This design closely resem­bles 4.0, except the colours are inverted. Of course, a few ama­teur­ish mis­takes have been fixed, typog­ra­phy has been tweaked, and there’s no more double-column lay­out that cre­ates unbal­ance from one being shorter than the other.

Hello Arial

The base font for text has changed from Verdana to Arial. While both are sans-serif fonts, the lower cap height com­bined with more rigid curves of Arial cre­ate a mod­ern, indus­trial feel. I flirted with the idea of going with com­pletely web-safe fonts for titles as well, but I couldn’t give up on Avenir which is a part of the iden­tity now.

Goodbye Scriptaculous

No more Scriptaculous menu effects. As fun as they were, they could be extremely slow on older sys­tems. They also added extra Javascript run­time libraries to the load time, and didn’t work in Opera. The trade-off wasn’t worth it.


Sections have been re-organized. The About page now houses the Colophon and Contact info.

My Twitter update bar has been dropped, and placed in the Asides sec­tion, along with my most recent flickr pho­tos. I still Twitter as furi­ously as ever now.

Lighter, Brighter, Life

As things become clearer in my life, I’m begin­ning to make bolder state­ments. The grey-on-grey of 8.0 started to feel too bland after a while, even though it was more than a 60% con­trast. (I can remem­ber my first designs, hosted on friends servers before even existed, and they were mostly black.)

Lighter, Brighter, Life” has been the tagline for my designs since 7.0, but really, it was all some­what rel­a­tive. This is the first time — ever — that I’ve gone with a pure #fff back­ground. I wanted some­thing even lighter, and more airy with higher con­trast. As a result, entry titles are one weight heav­ier than before, and text is pure black.


Hard to believe that equiv­o­cal­ity is in it’s tenth incar­na­tion. I real­ized that my re-designs come from a want for sim­plic­ity, and a want for com­plex, well-organized intri­cacy, which are some­what con­tra­dic­tory. When I get tired of one, I make a new lay­out for the other. I’d love to be able to just stick with one design, but it’s in my blood to tweak.

I’m extremely happy with this ver­sion, but his­tory has taught me that this may change soon enough.

Screenshot version 10 screenshot

Version History

10.3 — 2009-06-25: The lifestream. I’ve adapted my pre­vi­ous lay­out to a lifestream, which not only lat­est blog entries, but my activ­ity on other ser­vices as well, namely Flickr and twit­ter. Read more about ver­sion 10.3.

10.2.3 — 2008-10-19

10.2.2 — 2008-08-29

10.2.1 — 2008-04-26

10.2 — 2008-04-16: With WordPress 2.5, tag sup­port is much bet­ter imple­mented. I fig­ured it was time to add tag sup­port to this theme. Now I have to go through six years of entries and tag each one.

10.1.2 — 2008-02-09

10.1.1 — 2008-02-05