I have had a personal website since early 2007. I put together an online portfolio (complete with obligatory Photoshop-collage portrait) to append to my college applications. My drawings, paintings, and sculptures sat in a Lightbox JS carousel that remained untouched for a little over a year until I decided that I would start a blog. I chose to use Wordpress to manage the content on my new site for the flexibility the theming allows and because of the endless tutorials and support available when creating a theme from scratch. As a relative amateur developer, being able to search for specific issues and view example code was invaluable. From that first post in August of 2008 to this day I have been using the same Wordpress install and database.
Since I've been on Wordpress, I have redesigned my site from the ground up four times. When the site was fresh, I was excited by the new format and would write new blog posts and take the time to photograph work and add it regularly. After a perilously brief two or three weeks, the shine would wear off and I would start to become frustrated and dissatisfied with little things about the site. After a month, I hated it, without fail, and would begin to plan a glorious redesign.
There was too much friction in making simple tweaks to the design of the site, and the layout was always too overwrought to just simply fix the little things that started to annoy me. My website was always a reflection of my sensibilities from six months prior, and it felt more like a liability than an asset.
As part of being a “graphic designer”, I always felt a need for my website to be primarily a showcase of my work. I had a tuition-sized chip on my shoulder and felt a need to justify myself and prove my worth. However, as time wore on, a portfolio began to feel like a shallow and somewhat meaningless representation of myself. Images are too easily pinned, reblogged, over-consumed, and taken at face value, and some of the work I am most proud of does not lend itself to being viewed this way. When I graduated a year ago (with an already out of date site) and started Friends of The Web I had even less of a reason to maintain an up to date portfolio. So, I decided to throw the whole thing out, for the first time, and start from scratch.
My biggest concern with my new website was not backing myself into a corner with a complex content management system such as Wordpress. I want to be able to move freely and easily to the next thing, whatever it is. Making small changes and having the design of the site evolve over time is also very important to me, so I am keeping things simple for now. I will style elements as I need them, and add sections and features if it becomes appropriate to do so. I spent this past weekend at the Baltimore Hackathon learning how to use Git and GitHub, setting up this blog on scriptogr.am, and moving over a few choice pieces of writing from my previous blog that I want to live on. I suspect I may soon outgrow scriptogr.am, which is in “super-beta-stage”, and move on to Jekyll, but I am going to give it a chance and see how it goes.
All of the code for this site is available on GitHub and free to fork, merge, spoon, and the like.