Tiago Ramalho AI research in Tokyo


So it was time to update the visual of this blog, as the default twenty twelve wordpress theme was starting to show its age. I started finding it visually boring a few months ago and the fact that it is not a responsive design let me to decide that a redesign was in order. My original idea was to just create a new responsive template using foundation, but after some research it turns out creating a wordpress there is quite an involved process. Not only would I have to create all the theming HTML/CSS, I’d also have to integrate them in the necessary PHP code scaffolding. As most tasks that require a significant time investment, I put this off indefinitely.

Luckily a few weeks back with a new wordpress came a new default theme, twenty thirteen. This is a nice responsive theme which places visual emphasis on the actual posts with larger fonts and no cumbersome sidebar (all that stuff is now in the footer, which is a great idea). This meant I only had to edit the CSS to get something which fulfills my requirements and has at least some identity.

The process started by creating a child theme. Since I am quite happy with the base layout, all I needed to do was to edit the colors to my heart’s content. Like all color challenged engineers I had to resort to some cheating. The usual place to cheat is to pick a pallete from colourlovers; but I find it is still an overwhelming experience. There is still simply too much to choose from. What I need is a very constrained set of good looking colors. To the rescue: flatUI colors. I picked the midnight blue as the main color for the header as a nod to the visual design my homepage had during my teenage years (nostalgia time). Then I desaturated it for the other blues I needed. For some contrasty accents, I went with the alizarin, which is also a pretty cool name for a color. Here is the pallete I built:

Midnight blue
Random blue #1
Random blue #2

Even though a real graphic designer is probably appalled by these choices, I’m pretty proud of how the visuals turned out. I have recently started paying more attention to design, which I think is an often overlooked area by scientists and engineers. It is already hard enough to communicate our work to a wide audience  and boring designs aren’t helping one bit.