3D Pencil Zebra

There is a new meme going around the BlogTown, started by Brian Gardner who only a year ago never designed a blog, and now he’s releasing one wordpress masterpiece after another. His theme Vertigo is one of the most popular in the blogiverse and his most recent theme Revolution did just that – revolutionized the use of WordPress as a CMS tool.

I’ve been tagged twice for this meme: first by Char from Essential Keystrokes and then by Lauren from CreativeCurio.

What is something that would surprise people about you and design?

I became interested in computers because of watching a show on Computer Graphics, and became fascinated by it ever since. But there was no Graphics faculty at my university, so I ended up chosing Computer Science and studying Database Design. I remember listening to Dire Straits and visualizing animation design to accompany the songs. The closest I got to animation is doing some simple stuff in Flash and taking a crash course in 3D Studio, designed my favourite Zebra pencil in 3D (see the image above), and that was it.
Somehow ever since I got into Web design, I never had time to work beyond 2D. Who knows, maybe sometime in future I will get into the world of 3D and animation, but until then I really enjoy web and graphic design, and just wish I spend more time drawing and sketching.

If you could design one blogger’s site for free, who would it be?

That would be me. I keep postponing the redesign of this blog from one weekend to another. At some point I have to cancel all my other work and concentrate on the new design for Inspiration Bit. Once I’m done with it, I’m hoping to release a couple of free WordPress themes. This way anyone can use them for free.

What blog platform do you prefer, and why?

So far every participant in this meme claimed WordPress to be their favourite. I have to admit I’m too another WP fan. I’ve tried different applications, but found WP to be more user-friendly. The huge and active WordPress community certainly plays a very big role here – with all those free themes and plugins.

Aside from your own, what is your favorite blog theme/template?

Back in February, I wrote a post listing 8 WordPress Themes that I found Remarkable. Since then I’ve discovered a few more. My new favourites are GridFocus by 5ThirtyOne, Bartelme’s Dark Theme, but only after seeing the incredible transformation of this theme by Paul Enderson. I always liked the themes with an accent on Typography, but John Boardley’s new RedsilWP Theme for iLoveTypography is the absolute winner. I’m also amazed by a breathtakingly beautiful WebDesignerWall by Nick La.

Do you have a blog-reading guilty pleasure?

Doesn’t blog-reading automatically qualify as a guilty pleasure? I get especially excited when discovering new blogs and witnessing their inspiring growth practically from day one.
If you want to track down other bloggers-”sinners”, check out Randa’s, Charity’s, David’s and Tara’s confessions, in addition to already mentioned above Brian, Char and Lauren.

And what about you and design? What are your favourite theme designs?

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7 Insightful Bits in response to “5 Bits About Design And Me”

  1. I’ve always been a designer, I used to get up early when I was little to make myself business cards (when I wasn’t playing Knight Rider obviously), and my uncle being a designer probably inspired me.

    I never had any formal training, I have just done what felt right at the time and tried to find out why afterwards. Now I’ve gotten into photography I find it really helpful for web design as the principles of layout and composition are largely the same, just talked about more by photographers.

    As for design themes I suppose I have to choose my own, simply because I have never really looked at any others, but GridFocus looks very nice. I presume it is based on version 7 of subtraction.com?

    I’m interested to know what your redesign would be based on, i.e. simplicity, typography, grapical niceness, freshness, etc?

  2. There was me thinking Paul had designed his blog from scratch. How did I miss that? Still, it’s an absolutely amazing customisation from the man. Well done Paul (if you’re reading).

    Vivien, really looking forward to your blog redesign. I’m sure it’ll be a winner. Will you stick with a dark look or are you switching to white / light?

  3. Vivien – it is so much fun learning about the path that we have all taken on this journey. Thanks for participating and I also look forward to see what you end up with for your redesign.

  4. Vivien

    Andrew, what for were you using those business cards when you were little? That’s the proof that you were born to be a designer. Incredible.

    I was always drawing and since I was little I was “designing” my own cards for all occasions with my drawings and sometimes even with my own little poems. I once designed two cards for Easter, submitted them to the local arts and crafts store, the cards were sold, but the money wasn’t worth all the effort I put into those handmade cards.

    For my mother’s 40th anniversary I made an album where I drew 40 different roses on 12 pages, with short poems for each of the pages. I was 14. To this day my mom says this was the best present she ever got from me :-)

    As for the new design for this blog I will be basing it on “simplicity, typography, grapical niceness, freshness”. How did you know that, Andrew? :-) I want my new design to be inspiring. I know, it’s a pretty ambitious goal, but I’m up to the challenge.

    David, I’ll be switching to lighter tones. Andrew got it really well – I want it to have the look and feel of a fresh morning glory.

    Char, thanks for the tag. I enjoy playing these blogging games. I too can’t wait to see what I’ll end up with for my redesign :-)

  5. I really like the graphics of Web Designer Wall, but I think Nick kinda cheated in making the website. There are no “images” it is one huge bg image! I think it IS beautiful, I’m not putting that down, just the way he built it seems like cheating to me.

    Thanks for sharing more of your design background with us, Vivien! I am exactly the same way with redesigning my site. Need to do it, but I keep putting it off. I think I’m scared that I won’t live up to my own expectations. I don’t want people to come to my site and say “Why is this person teaching graphic design?? Look at this awful website!” :(

  6. Vivien, I also got my start in Computer Science so it is neat to see others switch gears like that as well.

    Anyway, just a comment about WordPress. In most situations, using WP because of the plethora of available plugins is the best option. However, it isn’t something that is really a joy to work with and modify at times.

    I’m trying to examine a few other choices like Mephisto to see if there’s something else out there that might also work for future projects. Unfortunately, the lack of a decent-sized developer community in many of these other options is a real barrier for me because I really don’t want to waste time reinventing the wheel every time I’d like to add some simple feature. And with WP, its usually just a few minutes task to add a lot of simple features.

  7. Vivien

    Hi fellow Computer Scientist :-)
    I hear what you’re saying. I’m pretty much convinced that there is no such thing as a perfect CMS, every one of them has its advantages and disadvantages. I was often ending up writing my own CMS from scratch for some of my client projects, just because I was finding it easier to write my own customized solution to target the client’s needs for the site instead of customizing an existing CMS.

    WordPress is an excellent platform for blogging, it can be used for certain projects as a CMS, but it can’t compete with other big CMS like Drupal, Joomla or eZ Publish.

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Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
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When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on