Tiago Ramalho Just another AI researcher

Facelift

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:

Alizarin
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.