Mad Colors and Courier Font

When I first created this look in 2002, the reactions I got surprised me. In the 10 years since then I’ve learned a lot about what people expect, how we connect, and where the two cross over—and that, sometimes, they don’t.

It all started with Dr. Seuss.

(Note: Since you’re reading this after the Great Redesign of 20120210 you won’t see the Solla Sollew theme any more.)

My favorite Dr. Seuss book, and one of my favorite books, period, is I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew. It was given to my older brother in 1965; I got Fox in Sox. When I was old enough to understand the message of Solla Sollew I realised how much I needed that message: trying to avoid life’s problems simply creates more problems; better to go forth and conquer than to live the disappointing dream.

Theodore Seuss Giesel wasn’t one to shy away from bright colors. Okay, garish bold intense colors. In about about facing fear, it feels right that the colors are bold, unafraid.

The web is filled with subtlety; graceful quiet colors blending taupes and mauves with dove grey. It’s beautiful. I love graceful subtlety.

But my real personality is closer to bold intensity.

Back when I first created the look, I wasn’t ready for the shocked dismay that met my artistic endeavour. I took the negative reactions personally. I’ve learned since then that those who don’t connect with my writing (non-fiction, fiction, music) and other arts aren’t wrong—but neither was I. We just didn’t connect, this time, this place. Like it or not, this website looks like I think and feel.

Font: Courier?

I also took a lot of grief over my choice of a font that looked like it came from an old typewriter.

On the web, code has traditionally displayed using a monospace, typewriter-ish font. I’m a coder at heart, so I chose Courier for my logo. It made sense to extend it to the whole website.

What if I Told You That’s WordPress You’re Soaking In?

WordPress sites so often look, well, WordPress-y. Even the websites for some of my business books are clearly the default WordPress theme, lightly customise. It’s okay in some circumstances, but sometimes you want to break out and dance on the tables. Metaphorically, I mean.

This layout stretches WordPress almost to the breaking point. I’ve taken some coding liberties which I intend to tidy as time goes by. But this certainly isn’t your father’s WordPress.

Don’t Be Frightened

If you’d like a website which suits your personality, we can build it, and we can use WordPress so you get the benefits of its robust toolset. It doesn’t have to be Dr. Seuss garish; it can look any way you want.

That, in fact, is the whole point.

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18 Responses to Mad Colors and Courier Font

  1. Karen J says:

    Hey Joel!
    First thing, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your whole family!

    Second, Congratulations on the shiny new website! Not sure I “love” it yet, but it’s growing on me… ;)

    I will be passing this on to folks I know who could use a good site makeover, fersure. Whether or not ‘your’ site is exactly pleasing to ‘my’ taste is beside the point – which is that you can and will help them build their own pleasing-to-them and functional site IS the point!

    Bright Blessings ~ Karen

    • Yup; it’s a bit of a risk, making the site so loud. I could worry that folks will think this is what their site will end up looking like; that I don’t get subtlety, all that.

      But going down that road means sanding off the edges, sanding sanding until my site is boring enough that there’s no possibility of scaring off the prospects. I don’t want to be so boring that just anyone will work with me. I want the risk-takers, the folks who see that if I can stretch this far, I’ll be willing to stretch for them, too.

      We treasure your constant support, Karen.

  2. Karen J says:

    HeeHee! I worked on that “Not your father’s Oldsmobile” campaign for Leo Burnett!

    • Karen J says:

      (In reference to your oblique “not your father’s Word-Press”)

      • Karen J says:

        Back in the late 80’s somewhere. I was a cracker-jack freelance keyliner, on the ‘call this one first!’ list of a large graphics temp agency in Chicago.
        Jeez, I miss that world! Desktop publishing just doesn’t provide the same tactile satisfaction as “straight-edge and exacto knife” does!

        • When I worked for the Recorder newspaper in Fairfield, Texas, we did the layout by hand; line tape and ink pens for separators, stuff like that. Tactile is marvelous. It’s part of why I play music, and don’t just write.

    • Seriously? That’s amazing. When was that?

      Eric Meyer, the CSS guru, used to host a jazz radio show called Your Father’s Oldsmobile which was a lot of fun.

  3. Karen J says:

    Arghhh! got that comment in the wrong place. now it won’t make sense!

    • No worries, Karen. Anyone who reads the whole thread will figger it out. (I could go all database on you and connect it to the right comment, but I just don’t think it’s worth it.)

  4. Of course, arriving today, you won’t see the old Solla Sollew theme any more.

  5. Karen J says:

    Interesting! I do kinda miss the screaming blue-and-yellow (this is shockingly mellow, compared). …But this IS easier on the eyes – On the one hand, on the other hand, I guess!
    Can you still get a screen-shot from somewhere, of what *that* (Solla Sollew theme) looked like, as an example and a reference-graphic for any comments pertaining?
    (OOh, and/or maybe, make it available as a “theme-for-sale” through WP?)

  6. Karen J says:

    also interesting – that the nesting comments are also progressively *smaller type*! That, I’m not liking – “compromised eyes” and all that… :)

What do you think?