[wp-design] Hello, and some thoughts

Joen Asmussen joen at noscope.com
Thu Feb 10 19:00:35 GMT 2005

Just recently, I was invited by Michael (and Khaled?) to partake in this 
shuttle project. Thanks for that.

I'd like to just spend a short paragraph to introduce myself and what I 
can do, just so you all know who I am. After that I have some thoughts 
about the whole development of shuttle, and how I think development 
could work/benefit. This might have been discussed prior to my joining 
this list, but it'll help me get up to speed, so bear with me.

First of all, I'm located in Copenhagen Denmark, not more than a mile or 
5 from where Michael lives. Designwise, I come from a background in 
Macromedia Flash development. I have a 3 year graphic design education 
in my backpack, and currently, I'm employed at Titoonic 
(www.titoonic.com). I have a huge deal of experience with usability in 
web and application interfaces, and I'm no stranger to graphics either. 
I hope to be able to add some graphic input and usability related advice 
to this project.

As for the project itself, I have some ideas I'd like to share, with 
regards to how this can get started (it's still in "discussion mode" 

*5th Element*
In visual identities, one talks about the "5th element" being an 
integral part of the whole. There's the logo, the typeface, the color 
setup and the layout, and then there's the 5th element. The 5th element 
can be a shape that's used creatively, as a backdrop etc., or perhaps 
just a particular effect -- for Apple it would be the aqua glass effect.

I'm mentioning this, because I think discussing Wordpress branding is 
too early. We need a "core values" discussion first. Take Apple for 
instance -- their core values would be "lifestyle", "elegance", 
"innovation". Even Movable Type, (I think), communicates some sort of 
core values through their design, whether this is intentional or not. 
 From their straight layouts, their greenish hues and the spokes in 
their logo, I'm getting "functional, stable, simple".

Ideally, we could assign 3 core values to Wordpress as well. Based on 
these 3 values, we'd be able develop "sort of" a 5th element, from which 
most other aspects of shuttle could be derived. Whether this means all 
icons, colors, logos and layouts derived will be glassed, metallic, 
pixellized, or simply plain and functional, I do not know. But with the 
basic thoughts in place, there'll be a clear, red line between values 
and design.

This is a jump in the process, but I want to get it out there as early 
as possible anyway. Once branding and style guidelines are agreed upon 
and we actually get down to building it, I propose we start out by 
making a buckload of screenshots, rather than fiddle with html / css or 
whatever. Making a mockup in Photoshop is a quick and intuitive way of 
seeing what works, and what doesn't. Whenever we tackle big projects at 
Titoonic, we start out with mockups. Sometimes even functional 
application mockups, built in Flash. They work some of the way, and show 
how the UI will work, but only as a demonstration. The gist is, once the 
mockup is agreed upon, it's not much work to actually build the final 

I realise these thoughts might be overkill, but they're good to keep in 
mind while working on it.

Finally, I have some comments to Michaels last response.

> * Colors used are too muddy, too many shades of grey.

Agreed. But we should keep in mind that the wordpress admin interface 
has more in common with a windows or a mac application, than it does a 
website. As such, my recommendation would be that if we do add colours, 
we add only branding colors and communicative colours. By communicative 
colours I mean that error messages are red, and "operation succeeded" 
msgs are green.

> * The font feels a bit old. I'm not sure why. / * I personally feel 
> better with sans-serif for headlines, but I recognize that WP has a 
> 'serif' image. 

I say a different font. Imagine if Photoshop used Georgia for palette 
titles ... (no offense meant to anyone)

> * The letters could be kerned closer I think.

I think that's too close to being a branding element. As soon as a font 
is kerned, it goes from anonymity to "part of the design", and sometimes 
anonymity is preferred, especially if we're talking body text. As for 
logos, etc. it could work just fine.

> * Add just a touch of color to the WP 'image'. I mean look at the 'Web 
> application of the year' box on the frontpage, it alone adds a touch 
> of life.

Exactly. Wordpress should have two or three "main colors", that define 
the interface. If I say "Yellow CMS", you say Textpattern, if I say 
"bluish greenish CMS" you say Movable Type. If I say Wordpress, what 
colors are you thinking? Soft grays? And is that satisfying?

> * Go for cleaner lines in general, remove some of the muddy 
> monochromatic grey's and rely more on structure of the presentation 
> (if that makes sense).

No gradients on buttons :)

I'll stop writing now, and I'll keep it shorter in the future -- this 
message is only a way to get up to speed faster.

Best regards,



Joen Asmussen

ICQ: 2462161, AIM: workjoen

work: www.titoonic.dk <http://www.titoonic.dk> | private: 
www.noscope.com <http://www.noscope.com> & www.turtleshell.com 

More information about the wp-design mailing list