theLogBook.com has had very, very minor variations on the same logo ever since I first rendered the word “LOGBOOK” in Microgramma Bold Extended on a Video Toaster in 1994 or ’95, just for giggles. Ever since then, that’s been the logo, and that’s been the “look”.
What’s strange about that is that I’m a graphic designer by day. That’s my trade and my living. I design retail packaging for items that end up in places like Home Depot and Menards. I create boxes for items branded with such familiar names as Stanley and Trane. I get to look at other people’s branding guidelines, even if those guidelines are about the size of the next great American novel.
And I come home too tired to really consider doing the same for myself.
When theLogBook was able to climb back aboard the Amazon affiliation train, I paused for a moment to reassess. Is revenue going to drive the site? It did before; it can do it again without sacrificing the content that the site’s known for. But maybe, just maybe, it was time to finally revamp the site and make it a little more modern. I was really pleased with the “look” I’d achieved in the past year, though I eventually realized that it was the culmination of me trying to make it look like that since 2002…which meant that maybe the look was stuck in 2002.
For the site to be successful and to return to being a self-sustaining endeavour, it helps if you can tell at a glance what it’s about. Hence the first new logo theLogBook has gotten in 23 years: retro and futuristic at the same time, and a clear signal that there might just be something spacey about this place. I’ve gotten a lot of favorable comments on it…and have promptly rolled out the merch. 😆
The new look of the site? Clean, simple, useful. You may have noticed that I went through a couple of WordPress themes in rapid succession before landing on what’s here now – you can kick the tires all you like in preview, but the real quirks of a WordPress theme, and your own ability to hack those, don’t really emerge until you’ve gone live with a new look. It took a lot of tweaking, a couple of shrugs, another theme choice, and a lot more tweaking to get it to where it’s a bit modernized, and less concerned with whether or not there’s an animated starfield in the background. I even had to do the umpteenth major hack of a long-abandoned plugin that, at this point, is probably as much my code as it is the original author’s, to keep the “timeline” working. It also looks really cool on a phone, better than the previous format did.
It was, in short, long past time for me to treat my own site like I treat a client’s site – with a bit of tender loving care, like a commercial endeavour that needs a makeover. Because it is.
theLogBook.com turns 28 years old on Memorial Day weekend.