Entry for Best WordPress Design Award


A while back I had posted about my entry in WordPress Coolest Blog contest by WBWebHost (specialized hosting for WordPress-powered blogs).

  • no luck (or I’d be still bragging)
  • fat discount offer for participation.

This time they are hosting design contest with several categories and I am submitting my entry for one of those.

Those who hadn’t labeled me, with my poor design skills, insane – please read on.

Short history of Rarst.net design

As many other aspects of this blog its design is shaped by my personal tastes. And poor skills of course. I had no clear goal while looking for my first theme yet I knew what it is going to be when I saw Statement.

It looked:

  • clean;
  • modular;
  • high contrast;
  • easy enough to work with.

In following months it became my personal design hell. I had to change and improve numerous issues. Some parts of internal code were so incompatible with my brain I just had to let them go. Thought of getting SEO in order gives me sharp panic attacks. I am still constantly editing code. Sometimes I have nightmares about breaking zlib compressions on CSS and JavaScript that was such pain to implement.

Ahem. So what I am trying to accomplish with design of this blog:

  • clear presentation and navigation of my core content;
  • array of minor but useful information to frame it;
  • multiply means of getting feedback (or simply in contact) with some of my readers (willing and able to stand me).

I think I am not too bad at these, what’s your take?

  • Does this blog possess one of those beautiful breathtaking designs? Clearly not. It probably won’t for a long time – until it makes enough money to justify spending few grand on that or I get spouse with awesome design skills (A-listers say there is a good wife behind every successful blogger for a reason). Few grand are more probable.
  • Does this design work for me? Yes. I am feeling at home.
  • Does it work for my readers? Probably. At least some of you come back more than once. So it’s not bad enough to keep everyone away.

What are my chances for design award? Roughly equal to those of snowball in hell. Still I am eager to try and announce my entry in Best Clean&Minimalist category!



Contest details

Participation rules:

  • write announcement post with mention of specific category you are participating in;
  • link to it in comment or trackback at contest announcement post;
  • deadline is 22nd March 2009.

Prizes for winner of each category:

  • badge to clutter sidebar;
  • $200 cash via PayPal;
  • lifetime free hosting.

As with previous contest WPWebHost is going to chose ten finalists per category and winners are going to be decided with public voting.

Wish me luck I guess. :)

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  • Lyndi #

    You have got more guts than I do. You have made a lot of great changes to this theme and in my opinion, the blog should be entered. I wish you lots of luck.
  • Rarst #

    @Lyndi Unlike real life - online I am pretty immune to being embarassed and looking stupid. :) I count on categories spreading out concentration of pure designer blogs, anyway it's no skin off my back for entering. Thanks for you support (for this contest and overall)!
  • Seth Simonds #

    Think of it this way, would you get rid of your favorite old couch just because a visitor mentioned that she didn't prefer it? Of course not. You go with what you are comfortable first, what others are comfortable with second. That makes a place your home and sets it apart from visiting the cookie-cutter Theme enthusiasts. It also means that the people who feel at home here as well will have reason to return again and again. Good for you! Best of luck in the contest!
  • Rarst #

    @Seth Yeah, seeing multiply blogs use exactly same semi-popular themes can be kinda turn-off. It's a pity I don't have skills to make awesome design (can't have it all, right?) but I sure can make my theme as personal as possible and hope to find plenty of readers who like same things. Thanks for visit, comment and support in contest. :)
  • Thomas martin #

    Interressant ! :-)
  • thegands #

    Nice clean white theme dude. Wish you all the best at this contest. i'm also part or this contest and joining the same category
  • Rarst #

    @thegands Thanks. :) I hope I can get into top10, category endedn up pretty crowded. Good luck to both of us. PS I don't use Akismet and your coments are always safe :) might take them a bit to show up as awaiting moderation because of caching