Tabula Rasa

Mar. 7th, 2012 07:57 pm
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Saves this one for last.

Tabula Rasa is the only layout I'd ever theme. And yet no one does it, and the few that are there are just colour themes.

On the other hand, TR is the base of most of the other layouts, so it gets used. I've come to understand how this happened.

From my perspective a style has three parts:

1. The layout, which is where things are positioned and the core typography.

2. The skin, or the design or whatever you want to call the borders and backgrounds, the box-shadows and font effects, the position refinements--like the icon biting into the corner of an entry, etc.

3. The colour scheme and the background images.

Now, there's overlap between those--what's padding is it layout or skin? And what's skin, does it include the number of different colours and where they're used, or is that colour scheme?

But for me, 2 and 3 are what a theme is and 1 is the layout. But, what's happened as styles got developed is that 1 and 2 are the layout and usually the theme is only 3.

And there's technical reasons for this--if you want to have a border, you have to have the property set in the layout layer, and so on. But, Tabula Rasa has all that flexibility, and it's a natural for CSS only designers to go to town on, and they haven't done that. The CSS only people don't seem to ever want to step out of private styles.

Maybe DW should just accept that and set up a different way for CSS only styles to get made public. Set up a static site with live previews. Something. Paging through a couple of comms of code that's never been vetted seems like a lot of work.


Mar. 7th, 2012 07:56 pm
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
The oddball.

It's kind of cool looking. Very minimalist and content so far out in front it's hard to find the modules.

I think this would be popular to theme if the code got standardized.

Wondering if I should volunteer to do it? It would be an interesting intellectual exercise.
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Theme is Grey Days by asenathwaite.

This has the look of a couple of other styles, it's got the modules coloured individually which always makes me think of old LJ styles.

It's easy to read, easy to colour theme, has no big missteps and the same issues/features of all the other similar layouts.

Icon's up in the header, which makes it flow nicely, and there's some clunky spacing with topnav.

Content pretty evenly balanced with theme here.
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Theme is Shallows by dancing_serpent.

I've used this layout a lot, so I'm not sure what to say about it.

It's got good typography--lacking in line-height like everything based on Tabula Rasa is my only complaint.

There's good spacing and it only needs padding in a few places.

The style is bugged for putting on background images via the wizard, which is a shame as it lends itself to it nicely.

The icon sitting in content looks weird to me when it's on the right, but a lot of layouts have that issue.

Nice clean look, easy to do colour themes for, simple design that works well.
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Theme is Red Squiggle by Regna

I like this use of background images a lot because it's not pushing the content down just for decoration.

It's very nicely designed with a cohesive look across pages.

I notice here that there's no current style on the navigation menu. This is something only a few styles use, but I think it's a key piece of communication to the user and shouldn't be overlooked.

This layout lends itself to all sorts of themes in a lot of colours.
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
At the Hop by Musyc.

I personally find all the overlapping boxes a bit busy, but within each box, things are spaced very well.

Content is balanced well with design and there's good variation in colours available.

Pet peeve, and I see this in a lot of layouts: putting a colour background on an element that contains headings and not putting any padding on the element. If your text is just flowing along with no other backgrounds, that's awesome, but text butting right up to the edge of a coloured background is uncomfortable looking.

This is also an issue with colour blocked sidebars that have no padding or margins on them that then but right up to the edge of the screen. Even on a mobile device--which none of these layouts are for, some padding will fit.

Nothing overdesigned here--the focus is really on colour combinations--and the foundation is good.
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Theme is by sarken

My username overflows the sidebar at my 16px default font with a 14px minimum. If I were choosing styles, I wouldn't look any farther.

I like the very modern look and the clever use of shadows and geometric shapes.

And hallelujah! Finally a style that just prevents you from putting anything in tertiary in two column set up. That beats letting you do it, but styling it so it won't work.

Distinctive and striking layout that needs a little attention to scalability.

This is an excellent layout for style makers to look at for tips on how to use s2 to customize your layout and extend the layout beyond the reading page.

I got some fabulous ideas from it that helped me refine mine.
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Theme is Vintage Modern by rising.

If I remember right, this is an adaptation or clone of an LJ theme.

I never noticed layouts on LJ, other than to despise the ones that blanked out the navigation links or only put them at the top of the page.

Nice clean design. I like this sidebar a lot.

Modules in tertiary stack vertically, so I presume they'd look horrible with a whole bunch.

Everything is simple and uncluttered and not overdesigned.

Room for a lot of colour themes with this one.
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Theme is Citrusy by rising.

I like this layout a great deal. Even with a vibrant colour scheme like the theme I chose, the content still take centre stage.

The very simple design of horizontal lines and borders aids in presenting the content, not detracts from it.

There's some good spacing on the modules and everything is well spaced.

I don't like the blobbed together Tertiary modules.

The calendar--another wide one, looks not bad.

Excellent design that could take a host of colour schemes.


Mar. 6th, 2012 01:26 pm
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Theme is Homebrew by asenathwaite

This is very good for readability. The typography is excellent, the spacing is good and it is clean and clear.

Maybe a little too much?

It looks dated and a lot like the temp colour blocked system I used to block out my layout margins and padding.

Actually, in a one column layout with horizontal stripes, it might look really interesting. Hmmm. With each section header, primary, secondary, tertiary, footer a different colour scheme with different link colours--such fun, doing it five times!

Except none of the one column designs do horizontal modules in secondary.

Like the simplicity of it, but it needs a very smart colour design to work.
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Theme is memory I by dancing_serpent.

Possibly my favourite header in terms of use of space and images.

The sidebar header bars seem like they're from the wrong style. Something to blend more with the images used on entries would be nicer--or skip the colour blocking altogether.

Oh! I wasn't expecting the image and colour block used on my internal headings in entries. I hates that. The only thing worse is complex blockquote styles--something I don't like in Abstractia, or that LJ style everyone and their brother uses with the coloured italics. Ick.

Also the headers bork the layout if they're close to the icon because background images and floats don't mix. Those icons should be positioned some other way if the heading images are meant to be in entries.


Mar. 6th, 2012 01:05 pm
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Theme is Antique Silk by rising

I tried a higher contrast style--between the borders and background--and it was too much.

Nothing wrong with this layout in general, just not by taste in a bunch of areas.

It lets you put stuff in the header other than navigation!

So you could put multiple navigation-type modules up there--cut tags, links list, profile, whatever.

It stacks everything either in the header or footer vertically, but does it well.

I'm thinking very seriously of dumping powered by, time loaded and maybe style credit in the footer, making it an actual tru-fax footer and setting tertiary aside for actual modules. I'm trying to visualize the footer as part of the site and the modules as part of each journal or community. Maybe search should go there or option it for the header too?

Don't care for the calendar or the bullets everywhere. Very versatile layout though.


Mar. 6th, 2012 09:02 am
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Theme is calculated risks by timeasmymeasure.

Another nice use of border radius, but boy does this one show the Firefox display bug. Bleed through everywhere. And it looks worse in Chrome. Webkit simply can't handle borders and border radius, particularly such thin ones.

Without the browser bugs, this would be awesome. Hey, maybe it looks fantastic in IE9?

This one styles the current navigation link, which is nice to see.

The curved corners demand padding, so the spacing is nice.

Lovely colours in this theme too.

I like it, and I'd use it if it displayed properly. I'll try Opera...

There's some bleed through, like the Webkit kind--element background, not parent element, but less noticable. It gets really, really bad a some zooms. Opera zoom and border radius, not chocolate and peanut butter.

Border radius, use it with low contrast colours, or skip the border part. Don't put anything more than tiny round corners on buttons, or they look tragically bad in Chrome.


Mar. 6th, 2012 08:51 am
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Hoilihan by sarken.

I've used this layout briefly. Something didn't work for me. Can't remember what.

Nice simple design. Good flow, a bit tight for me in spacing.

I like the use of colour and space to define the areas of the screen. I find in all dark backgrounds, the content gets a little garishly front and centre. And the background design becomes a busy looking contrast. This avoids the second problem, but the first is an issue of the link colours I think.

Link colours in light on dark are hard!

This feels like the sort of design that was expected by the way areas are named--you pick the module background, not the sidebar background. I think this is an example of really popular design from the era when DW was formed. Not that that's bad, some 2012 designs are going to be the MySpace of five years from now. I predict overuse of grey shadows and gradients will be to 2015 what textures were to 2010.

Fails utterly at module customization. You really can't put anything in tertiary but the defaults. Oh, and in three column mode the powered by and time loaded modules don't get any sidebar styling.

Not a good way to do the design at all. An easy fix though.


Mar. 6th, 2012 08:41 am
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Name gives me pause. I like comfortable spacing. We'll see which margins it has less of.

Theme and layout by momijizukamori.

Oh, that's clever--with the border that doesn't quite extend to the edge of the entries. Interesting.

Colour blocks like this are not really my thing, but this looks good.

Topnav buggers up the flow by making the top entry look like it has a big margin. It would look better with a sidebar coloured border below it or as part of the header area.

Icons with really large borders are also not my thing, but if the icon was in the header, it would look not bad. The content is so clean with the style being focused elsewhere, the icon is a sore thumb.

Puts the focus on the content, has lovely calendars and easy comfortable spacing.

It actually looks really good with margins set--the slightly tight looking sidebar seems more open.

Loading up Tertiary in two column works okay--the spacing on the modules is not great, but usable.
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Theme and layout by ninetydegrees.

This is very much a designed layout. Everything is part of the look, and it works in most themes.

This is also one of very few uses of box-shadow in official styles. It also works, even if I'd quibble about a couple of choices there. They'd be minor quibbles.

It keeps the content/style balance fairly tipped to content--which is Abstractia's big weakness, but it's too much designer control for my taste.

The typography is good, the layout is comfortable and relaxed and everything is readable. The box shadows stay well away from the text so they're a lovely effect not a veil over the content.

Not for me, but exceedingly well done.
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Theme is Prophecy by dancing_serpent

Not my sort of colour scheme, but it is a good lesson in how to use multiple colours without it all getting to be out of control.

This layout is also my inspiration. See, I hate the current obsession with border radius. I hate the blurry little pixelated "rounded" corners on every input box ever. I hate the effort put into making rounded corner tabs and buttons.

And I like this layout.

This is how you can take a feature that isn't implemented all that well--the poor anti-aliasing and the various browser display bugs make border radius one CSS3 feature that needs work--and still use it to great effect.

I fired this up in Chrome and it looks good there, so obviously this isn't suffering from any webkit display issues, which if I recall, are mostly element background bleed through on the outer corner when a border is used.

It also misses the Firefox display bug--the parent background can bleed through between the border and the element background, which makes me think Firefox doesn't actually deploy clip correctly. You can see this if an element has a background with a high contrast to the background set on the parent element and also a high contrast to the border.

I like the way that tertiary can take more modules, the archive and tags pages look good, and for all it's a busy layout, it puts the content first through simple clean entries.

Nice comfortable spacing--one good thing about border radius is it forces people to put padding on containers.

Five AM

Mar. 6th, 2012 07:36 am
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Dóma by rising
Theme by winterfish

Oh my, this is gorgeous. I hadn't checked this new layout out when it was anounced, but everything is here that I like:

The typography flows nicely.

The links communicate to the user.

The spacing and layout is comfortable.

The content takes centre stage.

Again the archive calendar is a bit big, as is the module one, but that's a quibble.

Lovely, lovely design and the theme is unusual and attractive. Too low contrast for me, but that just means it's perfect for someone else.

Oops! Once again the assumption is that with tertiary on the bottom, the only thing that will go in it is the two default modules. The border colour is different by module not by location. Don't know if that's a theme error or if it exists in the layout.

Easy Read

Mar. 5th, 2012 08:04 pm
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
Oh, I don't understand this layout! (Theme is desert by Rising, but I checked others.) Is this a holdover from it pre-dating one column layouts?

Why is the navigation horizontal but not in the header? My guess--the design assumes you want this in Tertiary, and if that's all you have there it looks fab.

Why are the lower modules so clumped up with no line-height, margin, padding, anything? See above guess, this is not optimized for custimization.

The entry text is gorgeously spaced for easy reading, but those modules really, really are not done well--there is not a lick of space between them.

Why doesn't this default to links not icons for entry management etc.? No answer on this one.

The page summary really makes me want to cry, it could be awesome and it's just a wall of underlined text. I assume one is not meant to want a page summary.

Clearly this layout is for a particular use case. It is not adaptable to variations on the theme of large font needs without actually making a theme that adds CSS.


Mar. 5th, 2012 07:54 pm
carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)
I'm rushing through these because I'm learning a lot from each one and I'm getting impatient.

I tried Chocolate Cherry by [personal profile] zvi, and I am not zvi's target audience! Her designs are always not my taste in colour or contrast, but I want to go outside my usual choices here.

Another Tertiary that can't handle any other modules in it. The layout should stop you from trying to put anything there.

Another Tertiary and footer float up under content style, this one works better.

Archive is centred, but tags not, which is an odd choice.

Never going to be a favourite layout, but it has an interesting design.


carene_waterman: An image of the Carina Nebula (Default)

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