October 23, 2009

DesignThoughtLeader.com Refreshed!

Update, 12-30-2013: Web-based project Design Thought Leader was retired. Its content was folded into the expanding Quotes section of Design Feast.

After the launch of design job board Design Engage, I went on to my next new year’s resolution for 2009: Converting my static site for my self-published book Thought Leadership by Design into a blog.

In contrast to how I began Design Engage, no story for this web-based project. It was straight dive to getting the site into a new blogging state. I sketched what this could be:

With the help of the designer-developer search engine CollabFinder (a web-designer search resource called Haystack has been launched by 37signals), I discovered Megan Coleman, who specializes in designing and customizing blogs. Recognizing the design nerdery of WordPress, I had already settled on using this platform and was on the search for a template to modify. A minimally-looking template. This wasn’t an easy search. I was pleased to discover the WP theme Statement. Nothing slick, it was plain and clean.

The blog postings are thoughts on design. One detail that I take pride in is the rotation of displayed quotation marks accenting each design-related quote:

I recently added Hazen Sans Light designed by Shawn Hazen and plan to incorporate more quote marks of other typefaces. This is proving to be a good way to inject some appreciation for typeface design into the interface.

Out of curiosity, including learning from working on Design Engage, I wanted to use a web-based organization tool. Before the project’s start, I was using Backpack to manage information for my blog writing projects. A newly shared page (detail below) was created in Backpack to keep track of interface iterations, manage the project’s to-dos, and document anything else. Megan used Basecamp to schedule the project’s goals and timeline.

Working on a renewed Design Thought Leader site with Megan was a great experience. Though she was on vacation when I contacted her in December 2008, she replied. Her prompt responsiveness made a very good first impression, even before meeting in person the following month. And it was a rapid project. Within a month-and-a-half, the refreshed site of Design Thought Leader was up and running.

Design Thought Leader is an extension of the thoughts on design section at Design Feast. It’s fun collecting how people describe design and designing. So many insightful nuggets spanning the disciplines of design and lots to learn. Served regularly, one design thought at a time.