Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, writer, speaker, and author, currently serving as the Creative Director of Maido, and the Co-editor and Creative Director of lifestyle magazine Lagom. Previously, he was the Creative Director of coffee roaster Colonna, the founder of typography magazine-turned-book 8 Faces, and the Creative Director of Typekit (now Adobe Fonts). He’s also an electronic musician, recording as Other Form and releasing on the Berlin-based label Unterwegs.

I'm redesigning Smashing Magazine

Posted on 18 August 2011

Article illustration for I'm redesigning Smashing Magazine

This post is part 1 in the series detailing the redesign of Smashing Magazine.

Like many web design professionals, Smashing Magazine has been a permanent fixture in my RSS feeds for a number of years. I’ve watched them grow from a fairly lowbrow list blog into a thorough, intelligent, truly valuable web design resource. Part of that has been seen partly from ‘the inside’, as I’m a member of the panel whose job it is to review content, and I’m happy to say that my involvement now runs even deeper: I’m currently in the midst of redesigning the website.

I applaud Smashing Magazine, because Vitaly and his team have always strived for continued improvement; something that is obvious when you compare the quality of today’s articles with those posted a couple of years ago. However, for a long time I’ve privately felt that the current SM design is holding the magazine back somewhat, nodding back to the days when it was a less well-respected blog. So when Vitaly asked me if I’d like to redesign the site, I jumped at the chance: in my mind, this could be the opportunity to for the visuals to more accurately reflect the quality of the content within.

For fun, I thought it might be nice to blog about the process as we go. Neither the SM team or I have any plans to ‘crowdsource’ feedback, but this is a rare opportunity to talk about some of the decision-making as we go, and I’m a big fan of transparency.

Right now, we’re nearing completion of the research / discovery phase and, in my head, I’m beginning to form loose ideas of a possible aesthetic, as well as tackle the somewhat complex issue of SM’s extensive navigation and how to create a responsive design around the necessary evil of advertising. Everyone loves ads, right? ;)

It’s going to be a challenge, but a thoroughly enjoyable one!

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