C2-06 From Abstract to Visual, Step 1

After taking a break this weekend from all things website (well, I did tweak my image post format to do some cool custom stuff :) I’m hitting this marketing challenge with fresh eyes. Today’s morning 15 minutes was spent as follows:

  • 30 seconds – rereading Day 5’s raw notes (see bottom of page for the raw text)
  • 2 minutes of sketching
  • 1 minute of being aghast at how difficult this was
  • Doing a second sketch until the timer alarm went off

I’d started by first sketching the three main things that I thought needed to be present:

  • DAVE SEAH + HEADSHOT
  • CREATIVE INDEPENDENCE SECTION
  • MAKER SECTION

Quick Sketch The First When I tried sketching these into place like blocks, I quickly ran into a feeling of “wrongness”. What seemed clear in the abstract seemed very difficult to express. In the photo to the right, which is a half-sheet of paper, I wrote my name at the top and immediately hated it. I drew an oval to represent my head and hated it more! Then I started drawing rectangles below as smaller thumbnails, and realized I was hitting a major unexpected barrier. This was all in the space of about two minutes.

Stepping back, I analyzed the negative feelings.

  • I didn’t like the idea of just starting with my identity and head, and them proclaiming CREATIVE INDEPENDENCE and MAKER. This seemed too forward, too much like TELL instead of SHOW. And I tend to not like to draw the limelight to myself; creating a more Dave-focused home page is something I am forcing myself to do. I like to SHARE information, but I don’t really like putting myself forward as a GURU or EXPERT. At the same time, I need to promote myself.

  • Furthermore, I hadn’t really thought-through how the Dave identity (name, headshot) and CREATIVE INDEPENDENCE are related in a page-narrative sense. MAKER is more relatable to Dave Identity, but as I’m a noobie maker I am a little embarrassed to proclaim this as a major section.

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p>My immediate negative reaction, it seemed, was just about proclaiming myself to be more than I thought I really was. The desire was to hide. Which actually suggested an approach!

Quick Sketch In the second sketch (shown above) I stacked the sections. The top section is an IMAGE HEADER (which I like anyway) with a side menu of some sort that lists important cues to the site. Immediately below it is my tag, and the below that is a “content slider” of four different aspects: creative independence, process, making, and recent posts. Below that is the footer. I can optionally create an ABOUT DAVE between the footer and the content slider.

What I like about this is that I get to hide under the content. If I were to rationalize this, it feels better because the content is first, and then I am second. The image area can establish the tone and purpose of the website before my name/photo appears, which is probably the way it should be. This serves the audience first and helps them orient. I’m still visible on the site, but more like a host than the central attraction. Which is fine with me.

So the next step is to spend some time doing a Photoshop mockup in the main areas, then back that into InDesign or Illustration for the typography work. That’ll probably be the focus for this week.


About this Article Series

This series is about improving my website, thinking about it for 15 minutes a day first-thing in the morning. You can see the raw 15-minute text here. These posts are collected on The March 2013 Challenge Page.