Mongrel website - whoop whoop

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Mongrel
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Mongrel website - whoop whoop

Postby Mongrel » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:06 am

Okay, so the idea here is that I will sell my body, uh, I mean, I will be doing minis painting. I need a website for this, so my brother is actually very kindly making one for me.

We're keeping things simple for now. The front page will be a series of circles containing various bits of my art (current images are placeholders, and may or may not change) and will be buttons to various things (not sure if the middle will be a button). Anyway, the frames will be drawn in a rough sketchy style (the frame portion of the image below is actually the final form). The background will be a tiled texture. Obviously there are considerations on whether or not to use a neutral colour, what is too busy or too bland, etc. etc. so I decided to put up the mockups of 13 textures I liked.

The contrast of the rough, sketched out frames with natural photographic textures is something I think works reasonably well, though I am open to other suggestions.

Just vote for whichever ones you like (I've allowed five votes for the first round). After this round, I'll cut it down to the top five or six and allow two votes each, then a final runoff (unless there's a really clear and obvious favourite). The vote numbers are in the same order as they're displayed on the imgur gallery. I am also running this vote elsewhere, so a different final texture might be used on the site than what is voted here.

Warning - many large images: http://imgur.com/a/CHVM8

Also, I am super interested in suggestions for a font that will work well for headers and titles with a design and layout like this.

EDIT: Already, I can see that some of these, like the first one, are too overpowering and will blot out the minis. Some of them might be fixable though - like the wood plank one is a bit too strong and too grey, but I might be able to edit that.
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Grath
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Re: Mongrel website poll 1

Postby Grath » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:36 am


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Mongrel
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Re: Mongrel website poll 1

Postby Mongrel » Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:00 am

Man, I JUST noticed the Gary Larson art in the hieroglyphics.
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Re: Mongrel website poll 1

Postby Esperath » Sun Apr 05, 2015 2:33 am

that is pretty much the most amazing thing mankind has ever produced

it is a combination of all of our wisdom and folly
pisa katto

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pisa katto

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Thad
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Re: Mongrel website poll 1

Postby Thad » Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:50 pm

I'm not big on image backgrounds at all, but they can work okay if they're not too busy. I voted Corroded Steel, Cracked Earth, Dirt, in (descending) order of preference.

But it bears adding that I'm a code monkey, not a graphic designer.

I'm thinking probably something subdued and unintrusive for a top navbar; I'd suggest white text, black background, small. You can fuck around with the alpha channel a little bit if you want it to be partly transparent so people can see the background through it; I prefer solid colors, but a little bit of transparency works okay sometimes. Not too much; I'd probably keep the alpha high, 0.7-0.9 range. (And if you're using any transparency, obviously the appropriate amount is going to depend on the background image.)

There are a lot of free fonts available at Google Fonts, though I mostly keep coming back to Open Sans and Droid Sans. (I remember Chrome having some rendering issues with Oswald if the font was also installed on the end user's machine, but I don't know if that's still the case.)

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Re: Mongrel website poll 1

Postby Mongrel » Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:19 pm

There's a redesign/rethink maybe happening based on some other discussions today.

The backgrounds are for the most part too busy and too dominant, and that's something I have no problem agreeing with. The layout is going to be altered.

What seems to be current in design for a lot of portfolio sites is to have the front page consist of tiled portfolio images and a understated sidebar or section with 2-5 buttons for contact, gallery, etc. (their tilesets are usually dynamic, resizing and taking image directly from the gallery, but this is beyond current capabilities for my brother and I). I can emulate this pretty well by changing the circles into a purely a static image display and adding two buttons for, surprise, surprise, Galleries and Contact. I do want to keep the circles to frame the portfolio shots. Aesthetically, I really like them, and a central image with additional orbiting images looks good to me.

The problem I am having now is that the circles are currently carefully sized and arranged to provide asymmetric image balance, drawing the eye across them in a pleasing way, and filling the available space in a way that's kind to both desktop and mobile users, but I need to change the arrangement and possibly add more of them, and I'm not sure how to best do this.

I need to be using more of the overall area to actually display photos of artwork (mainly minis). This will also help push back against the background texture dominating. I also need to find space, probably on top or on bottom, for two buttons with labels (Gallery and Contact). I'm not sure how to rearrange and resize the circles to do so while maintaining harmony and elegance in the image.
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Re: Mongrel website poll 1

Postby Mongrel » Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:16 pm

I think I've already got an idea of how I want to reform it. A friend who's done graphic design for years pointed out the fundamental arrangement is a diagonal and that in that case the best place for buttons is in the lower left. I am going to refine this somewhat by redoing the circles to have a more dynamic motion, almost like a stream of bubbles, if that makes sense. These circles need to be resized, repositioned, made a little thinner and I will maybe add a couple more (also, LOL font), but here is a very, very rough mockup of the idea: http://imgur.com/QhcOsLY

wut u tink, guyz
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Re: Mongrel website (poll removed - new question)

Postby sei » Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:36 am

Current setup doesn't seem like it's going to be especially mobile friendly.

May want to consider a tiling approach of some sort. Can give images borders and make them circular (by changing the border-radius property) using CSS, if you're dead set on using a circular frame.

Where are you planning on storing your images and/or how are you planning on updating the site?

Do you intend to have people discover you through search or are you counting on word of mouth? Might be a good idea to have a sort of step-by-step painting of a figurine on the site to maybe give the potential customer a feel for what's going on and for them to picture what you're doing for them. Some people can be sold on the story of what's going on ("craftsmanship! artisanal detail!") and that might help spark their imaginations.
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Re: Mongrel website (poll removed - new question)

Postby Mongrel » Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:53 am

The tiling thing is a possibility, but I'm not sure my brother has the technical wherewithal to implement it properly. In any case it would certainly take longer.

Step by step is an option in some cases, but that's content which can be added later (a popular alternate format for miniature painter sites is blog-format, or even just a straight up blog).
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Re: Mongrel website (poll removed - new question)

Postby sei » Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:22 am

I'm asking about the painting log entries largely because I'm trying to work out whether you'd be open to blogging a bit. If you are, it might be worth having him set WordPress up for you.

That'd give you the ease of blogging and also let you draw from a really large pre-existing set of plug-ins, which might mitigate gaps in your brother's expertise.

WordPress would let you have the main bits of your site on "Pages" (content pointing to non-blog posts, essentially) within the install, with one of the paths on the site (e.g. mongrelmachinations.com/blog/) having your blog and its child entries in paths underneath that directory (e.g. mongrelmachinations.com/blog/wh40k-ork-figurine-painting).
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Re: Mongrel website (poll removed - new question)

Postby Mongrel » Mon Apr 06, 2015 11:17 am

Honestly, I haven't decided if I'm going to be blogging. I tend to interact in places where there's more give and take, like forums, and I do have a presence on several minis forums (which is where I would be generating initial interest).

On a technical basis, I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to set up one way or another. It's really just the decision of whether or not I want to. Since I have so little content now and just want to get things set up, I think that a blog will be something to be added later if it gets added at all.
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Re: Mongrel website (poll removed - new question)

Postby Thad » Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:17 pm

It's worth keeping in mind that Wordpress isn't just a blogging platform, and it's used pretty widely even for static sites.

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Re: Mongrel website (poll removed - new question)

Postby Mongrel » Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:43 pm

Actually I thought that was it's primary purpose, really.
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Re: Mongrel website (poll removed - new question)

Postby Thad » Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:56 pm

Blogging is its primary purpose, sure. But it's widely used and widely supported, and that's resulted in it becoming an all-purpose content management system. You can run a Wordpress site and never write a single blog post. The advantage is that it's a mature codebase with a hell of a lot of available themes and plugins, and it's pretty easy to install and update without much of a background in web development, while still being versatile enough for a web professional to tweak under the hood.

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Re: Mongrel website (poll removed - new question)

Postby Mongrel » Mon Apr 06, 2015 2:15 pm

No, I meant that I thought it's primary purpose was content management/websites, lol.
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Re: Mongrel website (poll removed - new question)

Postby sei » Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:58 pm

Mongrel wrote:Honestly, I haven't decided if I'm going to be blogging
...
a blog will be something to be added later if it gets added at all.


If you figure it out later, you'll make a lot more work for yourself.

You may want to just put the whole site on WordPress since you seem like the type who would benefit from its WYSIWYG editor and contact form plugin, even if you don't blog.

If you only figure out you want to add a blog later, this happens:
  • you have to port your site into the CMS that supports your blog
  • you stick your blog in a subdirectory and...
    • you have to make a theme for the blog that matches your site OR you have a blog that looks way different from your site
    • you have to start maintaining shit like the theme, navigation, and other metadata in 2 places/formats, instead of 1


Try looking through these themes. If you dig something on desktop, make sure a drunk retard could use it. Then make sure it looks good on phones.
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Re: Mongrel website (poll removed - new question)

Postby Mongrel » Mon Apr 06, 2015 7:24 pm

Well, I say that I may consider it later, but I am really not the blog type, so in reality I think the probability of my doing so are low. It really doesn't seem to affect a persons success or failure in this trade, so I don't think I'm throwing anything away. I already have a community presence on several major websites, so that's more what I'm angling for in terms of being social or doing tutorials.
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Re: Mongrel website (poll removed - new question)

Postby sei » Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:43 pm

It sounds like you don't need it as proof of work.

The other major business reason people blog is discoverability, either through the articles being shared, or through people searching for related phrases on Google & co. (The latter reason actually has an entire business field around it, called SEO.)

Anyway, figure out why you need a site to begin with, and then you'll have a better idea of what you need it to do in order to fulfill its purpose.


If you assume everyone relevant has already seen you on some forums, maybe you should just have threads (with a fancy OP you edit to keep up to date) on said forums instead of a separate web site.
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Re: Mongrel website (poll removed - new question)

Postby Mongrel » Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:45 am

sei wrote:It sounds like you don't need it as proof of work.

The other major business reason people blog is discoverability, either through the articles being shared, or through people searching for related phrases on Google & co. (The latter reason actually has an entire business field around it, called SEO.)

Anyway, figure out why you need a site to begin with, and then you'll have a better idea of what you need it to do in order to fulfill its purpose.


If you assume everyone relevant has already seen you on some forums, maybe you should just have threads (with a fancy OP you edit to keep up to date) on said forums instead of a separate web site.

Threads is probably the way to go to start. The site is mainly a contact point and portfolio.
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Re: Mongrel website (poll removed - new question)

Postby sei » Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:05 am

IMO, you should have a bunch of example pictures in the opening thread, so it's fewer clicks.

That leaves the contact point.

That's what forum PMs or email would be for, though if you insist, you can set up WordPress with Contact Form 7.
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