Form can inform content. Sometimes.

Changing the “look and feel” of my blog made me reconsider the tagline, what it really meant, and how I could express it best.

You may have noticed, I’ve changed the “theme” of my blog.  I like to keep things simple, and though I will probably add a touch of colour here and there, I hadn’t noticed this particular theme, called Hemingway, before.  Not that I’m a big fan of Hemingway, the writer, but this theme really appeals to my sense of simplicity.

But there was one problem: the tagline, that sound bite-ish blurb that describes the blog.  It was originally a couple of dozen words long.  It fit nicely in the old theme (Redoable Lite), but in Hemingway, it just didn’t render properly because it was too long.

I could have tried to mess with the template for Hemingway, but there was no guarantee that I could alter the bits of CSS needed to render the tagline better.  So maybe, I reasoned, I should consider a shorter tagline.

I ended up with “design is essential, but it isn’t normal.”  Kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

I like this new, much shorter, tagline because it connects better to the name of my blog, and also says something interesting (hopefully) about the content.  In a world that seems obsessed with very superficial and naive design (witness, virtually any of the design shows on television these days), I want to bring home the point that design is not something that we (North Americans) are really used to at all, while also emphasizing how important I think design is for the world generally.

It may not be the perfect tagline, but I think it’s better than the old one.

The interesting thing is, though, that what drove me to think up a tagline that is – in my mind at least – very noticeably better than the old one is a simple rendering/positioning/visual feature of my blog.  This is interesting, I think, because there are many people who think that design is only superficial when it deals with simple appearances.  But here, I hope, I’ve shown that if you think about it properly, even what might be thought of as superficial can lead to rather deeper considerations.

Don’t get me wrong: I still firmly believe that form must follow function.  But sometimes, if the form is there already, it can really help figure out new forms to fit function or, in this case, content, better.


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