Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, speaker, and author. He is the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, the founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, one half of Viewport Industries, and an electronic musician.

Back up

Posted on 10 June 2010 15 comments

Article illustration for Back up

Here’s a quick note to say that the site is back up. After much deliberation — and even though I received a lot of positive comments about the temporary holding page I launched the other week (as pictured in the screenshot above) — I decided that having a virtually-content-less website wasn’t doing me any favours, as realistically it will be quite a while before I can find a decent amount of time to work on the new design. I’ve got a load of things I want to blog about and I need a working website on which to do that.

On Twitter, Chris McQueen asked:

Curious whether your holding page creates intrigue or frustration amongst users? Any research been done on this?

Chris McQueen

I’m curious, too, and while I’m not aware of any research (I guess it would vary from site to site, anyway), it was this question that made me think about putting the site back up. And even if users were frustrated, it probably didn’t compare to how frustrated I was by not being able to blog! (By the way, the main reason I took the site down was to recover from the Pharma Hack, which — although cleared up — had left Google with a nasty version of my site in their cache.)

Your input is valued

Of course, there are many things that frustrate me about this version of the site, which is why I was reluctant to put it back up. So, in the interest of getting some genuinely useful feedback, I’d love to hear what you like and dislike about the current design, and perhaps what sort of things you’d like to see in the next version. Feel free to let rip: as I said, I don’t particularly like this version anymore, anyway.

In the coming weeks, I might try and find a day to work on some subtle improvements; a re-align rather than a complete redesign. Your feedback will help inform that.


  1. Simon Young

    Simon Young

    10 June 2010 @ 03:51PM #

    I agree with this decision – the bottom line is it’s still a great looking site and you need to be blogging and showing people the work you have produced.

    Made sense of course to clear up the Pharma hack and the associated Google cache problems!

  2. Kean


    10 June 2010 @ 03:54PM #

    One thing I never understood with the current design was the choice of a much reduced line width on posts.

    I understand having really long lines of text can affect readability but the width of the posts is the same as the supporting information to the right of the page. For me it creates an unusual balance on the page.

  3. Loz


    10 June 2010 @ 03:55PM #

    For what it’s worth, I’m glad the giant form elements are back! Will be interesting to see what you come up with for your new design, but in the mean time I’d say you made the right call putting this one back up. Holding pages are the mid-season break of web design.

  4. Guðmundur Bjarni Sigurðsson

    Guðmundur Bjarni Sigurðsson

    10 June 2010 @ 03:58PM #

    Hey Elliot, I for one am glad you put the site back up. It must almost be impossible for a guy in your position not having a website, especially the blog part. I would think being a speaker you have to have a blog, or what?

    The only comments I have to this site, which I like by the way, is that it well, it´s missing some meat. Cant really explain it without giving it my full attention. But all the elements are fairly spaced out from one another, maybe you need to bring them in closer to give that bit more meaty feel to it?

    I also have experience with putting up the site or taking it down, just generally thinking about these things too much, it´s never good. When I launched my site I didn’t think it was ready and was going for a “soft launch”. But a few days after launching the site was featured in Best Web Gallery and visits just exploded and the rest is history.

    What I´m trying to say is that even though we as designers aren’t a 100% happy with everything it´s better to have a site out there that than not, provided the site is so bad it could ruin your reputation. And this site certainly does not do that.

  5. Clive Walker

    Clive Walker

    10 June 2010 @ 04:10PM #

    I would not use a temporary holding page unless absolutely necessary. I am guessing that the site content was not available when the temp page was up? The content is most important and even if you are not 100% happy with the design, I think the content should still be available (even if search engine visibility is not your number one priority).

  6. Chris McQueen

    Chris McQueen

    10 June 2010 @ 04:14PM #


    I see my sphere of influence (an annoyingly corporate term that I hear far too often of late) is much bigger than I thought! Glad to see the site and the gigantic ‘Submit Comment’ button are back to former glory.

  7. Christoph Zillgens

    Christoph Zillgens

    10 June 2010 @ 04:27PM #

    Hi Elliot!
    I really liked this site design when it came up last year and I still do, but in the meantime many things have changed. Although the grunge background is really great, I love it, I think the time of big heavy grunge background images is over, or at least the grunge style itself is used too much. So I’d prefer a more subtile use of this.

    On the other hand there are the new possibilities of web fonts and as you are digging into typography lately (8faces.com), I’d like to see a website that plays more with typography. Your holding page was a step in the right direction and I liked the clean look and the use of some great fonts.

    But, all in all it’s »complaining« on a high level :)

  8. Adam Cowley

    Adam Cowley

    10 June 2010 @ 04:31PM #

    I’ve got to say it filled me with intrigue. I was looking forward to see what you had produced and even checked back a few times to see if you had updated yet or not. As holding pages go, it was a nice one to look at.

  9. Jonas


    10 June 2010 @ 04:34PM #

    Elliot, it’s a good problem to have. The site you’re frustrated with is still nicer than 98% of all websites on Earth.

  10. Natalia Ventre

    Natalia Ventre

    10 June 2010 @ 04:43PM #

    Some holding pages have a link to the old site, I guess that’s the best solution.

    I agree with Kean on the line width of post and the page balance. The almost daily links in the footer are a lie, almost monthly maybe :)

  11. Mei


    10 June 2010 @ 04:48PM #

    Intrigue turned into frustration after a while. I’m glad that the whole site is back.

  12. Gavin


    10 June 2010 @ 05:02PM #

    I still like your current site and I was actually quite annoyed when the temporary page came up as I check your site out regularly for updates.

  13. Rory


    10 June 2010 @ 06:20PM #

    Im glad the site is back up Elliot.

    What I like:

    - Footer and all it’s content. - Portfolio layout, detail and amount of work with categories. - Text contrast and line spacing. - Contact page. Especially the “Before we get started” part. - Site outline. - Colour usage. With text, graphic element, in the footer, links.. everywhere. - Two column front blog layout. - About page with FAQ.


    - The “highlighted” works on the homepage. Could be mistaken as adverts. - In some places spacing is a bit much(I think this has to do with header blending into the content maybe too easily), but I like the column width of individual blog posts.

    The site is hard to fault. Im sure if I looked critically at any of my sites designs the pro’s vs con’s would be tipped in the opposite direction.

  14. Will C

    Will C

    11 June 2010 @ 12:18AM #

    Thank You Elliot. I am glad you have the site back up. This morning I was doing a site design and had a lot of trouble finding your Starkers Theme for a personal project I am working on.

  15. Abhinandh


    11 June 2010 @ 06:45PM #

    Glad the site is back up. Was looking to for an old article at your site and I had to rely on search engine caches.

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