Version 12 has been retired here. is now run­ning ver­sion 12, in what I sus­pect will be the final design iter­a­tion for this site1.

The gem cannot be polished without friction

I’ve been itch­ing for a new look for a while now, around the time I was in England, some­thing that was reflec­tive of the peace I’ve made with myself and the world.

Life no longer feels like a draft where I’m try­ing to fig­ure things out, so I’ve aban­doned the beloved graph paper back­ground which debuted in ver­sion 9. Most ele­ments and text have been toned down a bit2 to give things a slick, clean, and pol­ished look, very much inspired by Jin Yang’s blog. I’m still in love with the large single-column lay­out that lets me post big pic­tures and videos, and most of the design is still based around that.

I’ve never been a fan of ver­ti­cal rules — they always seem to claus­tro­pho­bi­cally trap con­tent more than any­thing else — but I found they brought much-needed def­i­n­i­tion to the wide col­umn, now that the graph paper is no longer there. Other ele­ments are strong enough on their own to define the under­ly­ing grid. I’ve also added some gravity-defying page cor­ners to bring a bit of depth to the layout.

Even though Version 12 has been based sig­nif­i­cantly on my Version 11 code and design, I decided to give it a major revi­sion num­ber because it’s a new theme at heart. They may look sim­i­lar, but they feel very different.


All head­ings and nav­i­ga­tion ele­ments are still in Avenir Next, which has long been part of my visual iden­tity. I’m very dis­ap­pointed with @font-face sup­port as it cur­rently stands3, as well as TypeKit offer­ings (which appears to solve prob­lems from font foundry licens­ing issues, instead of actual web imple­men­ta­tion) so I’ve stuck with Helvetica/Arial for body type. Aside from the com­ment bub­ble, all traces of Georgia have been elim­i­nated. Blockquotes (my favourite aspect of the new design) are in a new type­face: Avenir Next Condensed. Check this shit out:

Large and in charge. Oooh, baby.

I always waver between hav­ing the equiv­o­cal­ity title in all caps (which I find looks rather aggres­sive and arro­gant) or all low­er­case (which has those frus­trat­ing hang­ing descen­ders from the “q” and “y” char­ac­ters that trap dead space in the bound­ing box). For this ver­sion, I’ve opted to go with the for­mer for the sake of alignment.

A matter of time

Version 11 (which now lives on it’s own sub­do­main) lasted for about a year; a decent amount of time for a per­son who has a his­tory of redefin­ing him­self every six months. I was extremely pleased with it, but it doesn’t feel rel­e­vant any­more. There were a few offers from peo­ple to pur­chase the theme since I have a pol­icy to never release them pub­licly, but I never relented. I put so much time and energy into these designs that they’ve become part of my iden­tity; it’d be far too unset­tling to see some­one else’s con­tent in them.

  1. For a very long time at least []
  2. I’ve real­ized that you don’t need retina-burning con­trast to give some­thing strong def­i­n­i­tion. []
  3. Mainly the way WebKit-based browsers deal with the flash of unstyled text []