This week the Tag1 website got a new face. Notable is the new logo in the upper-left, as well the matching theme. Feel free to post your feedback as comments to this post.
This was my first go at Drupal theming (I started from an existing theme---not from scratch!) and it was fairly intuitive. However, I ran into a some issues that my web design colleagues constantly gripe about, as well as ones I wasn't expecting.
First, I'll start with the logo, and one of the unexpected hurdles. I did make the logo from scratch, using an OS X payware application called VectorDesigner. I probably wouldn't have discovered this app on my own, but it came bundled with some others I purchased. It's a very young application, but is continually getting updates with cool features. Anyhow, creating the image was simple enough using this tool. The issue came when I sent it to somebody else for review. Instead of seeing the gradients across the image and an embossed-looking Tag1 in the center, he saw one big field of blue. It turns out that Apple LCDs seem to have a very high contrast, and the subtle gradients I used ended up as a similar-enough color that it practically wasn't there. Separating the colors further apart via brightness didn't seem to make much of a improvement, but choosing colors with different saturations did keep the logo from changing so markedly from monitor to monitor.
Next, the theming. Once I had settled on a theme that looked like want I wanted, I used the built-in color selection feature to change to the color scheme I wanted. Unfortunately, this color selector only changes about 3 colors in the site, and the remaining textual elements that were colored clashed pretty heavily with the blue. So, time to dig into the CSS. No trouble there. The somewhat expected issue came with trying to float the Tag1 logo to the left of the text. I'm no CSS guru, and it took me a long time to realize that it wasn't floating properly because the site name had a `clear: both' property. Then, the bane of web designers: it still didn't look right in Internet Explorer. Luckily for me, I think few enough of the people coming to this site as using MSIE (no, I haven't checked the stats) that I wasn't worried about making it look 100% similar. I threw some conditional code in to put the Tag1 logo on its own line above the site name since the floating wasn't working, and considered my job down.
I feel pretty content with the result of all this. Add that to the fact that it was a chance to delve into something I don't have much experience in, and the redesign was time well spent.