Inspiredology Redesign: The Lab

We would like to officially announce the new design for Inspiredology; The Lab. This is the third design, and we are super happy with the way it has turned out.Whether you are a current visitor of Inspiredology or if this is your first time coming here, we hope it’s not your last. If you are reading this in an RSS feed, we sure hope you come check out our site design. The Lab has been a long process to get to where it is today, but we can get into that later.

Branding the Lab

We finally fell in love with a brand and a theme for Inspiredology. The past 2 versions featured a lot of paper/grunge textures and polar bears. It never really had a solid brand, this time around we really sat on some ideas until we came up with the Science/Design lab theme. We agreed that our tag line “Design inspiration lab”, really worked and we decided to keep our logo simple and legible.

Illustrating the Lab

I hope we can all agree that our design lab wouldn’t be a lab without the awesome illustration done by fellow Canadian Mathieu Beaulieu. We knew we wanted something to blow people away, and in working with our design lab brand, we were fortunate to work with Mathieu on the illustration. He did an outstanding job recreating Andrew and myself, not only that but he really set the mood and environment of the lab. We will have a post on how he came up with the illustration in the next few weeks, so be sure to subscribe to our feed to stay updated.

Designing the Lab

Everything was designed based on our lab illustration – we decided on a colour scheme and once the illustration was completed – we worked our way down the site. We didn’t want to change the layout from the old site, so we kept the 2 column layout with the sidebar on the right.

We think it’s easier to scan through the posts with updated typography, post details and more obvious buttons. We added a more custom share menu that is located at the top and bottom of the posts. Our author section has more details and hopefully gives more attention to our authors. We currently have 37 authors and we are constantly looking for more.

What’s New

New Menu

We have reorganized our categories to better suit our site topics, we put the category navigation at the very top of the site so it’s super easy to navigate with the Suckerfish on roids menu.

Design Newz

We also partnered with Design Newz to feature more community content in the Design Newz Widget. This sparked the conversation on whether we would offer a community news section this time around. The thought was that it would just be recycled content that is submitted to Design Newz, DesignBump and other aggregation sites.

New Comment Area

The comment area has been redesigned as well, we wanted to have more discussions on Inspiredology so we completely revamped the comments, separating comments from trackbacks, alternating styles, author styles and added a comment sidebar that would display related posts and a twitter feed. Trackbacks are hidden in a show/hide toggle switch. We really hope the comment area is more inviting and that we can have some good discussions.

Experimenting with CSS3

It wouldn’t be a lab if we didn’t experiment with new chemicals, equations, languages. We do suggest viewing Inspiredology in a CSS3 compatible browser to get the full experience. We thought it would be a good time to experiment with CSS3 as we hope the design is here to stay and CSS3 will only be getting more accessible.

Getting Help

With the new design, we wanted to create something really special, and we knew it would be better if we brought more people to help us create the new environment. We made it a part of the project to collaborate with other designers and developers. As you already know Mathieu did our awesome illustration, we also had the privilege to work with Gilbert Pellegrom, and Matt French. Without the help of these 3 talented people, The Lab wouldn’t be what it is today, so please help us thank them.

Why did this take so long?

Some of you might remember us talking about this in December 09. Our original plan was to launch on our second birthday, obviously that didn’t happen.

For a few reasons, I had recently brought Andrew on to help with posting, and daily tasks to help run Inspiredology. Not only that but we started working on a few new projects that we wanted to introduce. One being Projekt19 which we launched a few months ago. With the launch of that site we have been crazy busy with client work, collaborations and of course posting on Inspiredology. Not only that but this time we wanted to really take our time, and figure out the blog and how we wanted to move forward with it.

Inspiredology through the years

Inspiredology is 2.5+ years old and this will be the third design. I designed the first theme in one night, and it was my first wordpress site, as you can tell by my design I was much younger back then, still learning and experimenting. After the first year – I started to treat the blog more seriously, with the second design, it was much more structured, organized had more user friendly posts and ability to read other posts.

With version 3 I feel that we have finally found a brand/theme for our blog. The layout hasn’t changed much from V2, as we are introducing a whole new design, but we didn’t want you to feel lost with the content. Content is king and we didn’t want to mess with the way you read/scan the content.

Looking ahead

We will be adding some awesome new features in the next coming weeks, that didn’t make the initial launch date. We will also be looking for feedback from you on bugs, browser issues, and new ideas you might have.

We would like to thank everyone that has helped Inspiredology be the blog it is today, please help spread the word, tweet, digg, bump,  anything that you can do to help spread the word of our new design would be greatly appreciated.

In the next week or so we will be posting some really good content, and possibly our best giveaway ever, so subscribe to our feed to stay updated.

Post any feedback you have in our comments, we want to hear what you have to think.