Needing some artistic inspiration, I turn to you

by Mr. Sheehy

Rarely on this blog have I taken advantage of the existence of readers. I feel bad for how rarely I follow up comments posted to my articles, but it falls into the same category of my brain as email — I love to get it and read it all, but replying is something I always intend to do another time, and that other time never seems to come.

Either way, I thought I’d take a moment and ask some opinions of you if you have a minute. I’m sunk in another web design project, one of these things I continually vow not to do anymore. I am not much of a designer, only enough to know how pitifully little I can do and enough to want to make sites much cooler than I am able.

That little bit I do know is more than most of my face-to-face acquaintances, however, so I get tied into things here and there. I am not complaining at all, keep in mind — I do get paid a little bit to do this work and since I never promise anyone more than I am able to do, I am within possible limits.

rcc current

This is the website I am redesigning. As you can see, there is much room for improvement. I like to take over projects like these because in the end, I can’t fail. Folks who have put up with a web presence that looks like this are desperate for anything, and anything is exactly what I give them!

rcc pic banner

This is my first draft. It is essentially the same site I have created before (http://gs061.k12.sd.us – WordPress is not responding well to my dial-up tonight so I’m doing links the old fashioned way), with minor changes and a cleaner code. I will admit in public that the main concept is a rip off of Wheaton’s site, but hey, I liked it (http://www.wheaton.edu).

I’m having trouble deciding whether to go with this or something more original, however. Perhaps something that is less dependent on a great banner shot, since I don’t know whether there will be too many interesting shots coming down the pipe and since I didn’t enter into a photography contract for this one (as if I’d take anything worth seeing . . .)

rcc stripes

This is another option I’ve sketched up. The thing I really liked about my first draft was the bar of links at the top. The bottom stuff is basically utilitarian. It’s a school page, so I figure a series of little boxes would be perfect for sending folks off to highlighted information, or, if the school chooses to go there, a list of links to the pages that are used the most. I also wanted to try something with lots of white — I like the clean cut appearance of a white page when it’s done well. If you can design a white page, you can design a good page. So far I can’t, but I’m still trying.

It’s the middle banner area where I’m stuck. I thought stripes might be an original design – I thought it up on my own, without ripping it off another site, which is probably why it isn’t as good as other things I’ve done, but when I created this I still felt like I was going somewhere. Where it could go is currently beyond me, and that’s where I’m looking for help. Any ideas about how I might tweak either of these designs? Don’t think in code – that’s my job. Just think in terms of aesthetics and pragmatic use.

As always, thanks for reading.

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