Announcing the new Logo24

Today we’re very excited to announce the relaunch of Logo24.com! It’s so much more than a just a redesign for us though, it’s an important marker for each of us as designers and for our company.

We’ve grown so much over the last year; we moved into our own office space during the summer; Shane came on board in August, our first hire; Grace, Christy and Plamena have all joined us as part time interns. New work has been steadily increasing, bigger projects have been coming our way. It feels like we have past the ‘getting off the ground’ stage and are finding our stride. Most importantly, the work is getting better.

I’m confident I can speak collectively and say our skills have greatly improved. For me, I feel the biggest difference has come from developing the understanding of my role as a designer, which has come from two main changes. One, is a fundamental change in the questions I approach my work with. For example, “if I had all the time, skill and helpful people in the world available to me, what would this look like, feel like or do at its best?”—although this almost seems like a given, that hypothetical presupposition of unlimited resources is very effective in preventing me from freaking out over how difficult something might be to do, it’s like it gives my mind permission to wander without figuring out the how-to of everything I think of, and I find that freedom allows me to go to new places.

The second thing is people. I’ve designed with the user in mind for years and known about the value of community, but perhaps not fully understood what those things mean. Something clicked not long ago and I find I can now see the person using a site I’ve built, not just a generic user, and realise that names that I look up to are also just people, who I can reach out to.

I’ve thought a lot about when these changes started to happen and have traced it back to New Adventures Conference, in January 2012. Dan Mall gave a great talk and walked through the process of his personal site redesign. Almost every step of the way, I had these exciting and validating moments, that I follow a very similar design process. It was like a veil was dropped and revealed no magic or superhuman powers, I could relate to it.

There came a point though when the similarities diverged, or more accurately, stopped and I became a little obsessed with the question, “what was the difference?” How come I just made it over the finish line, while Dan redefined his own line further off in the distance? More than talent or skill, I decided it comes down to the answer of another question, “is this finished?” If you say “yes”, that’s it, the work is done. If you say “no, this can be better”, your brain materialises better work. I think that’s what standards are, the line drawn at a point in time at which the answer changes, and you say, “that’s it, this is ready”.

I’m going to borrow from the recent post of a good friend, which I really feel is another great step forward in some exciting stuff happening in the Irish design community. I’d like to write our own statement of intent to accompany our relaunch. We’re so happy with the progress we’ve made over the past year. Now it’s time to push the boat out farther, to think bigger, to go beyond our comfort zone and put great things out into world that improve the lives of the people who use them. We’ve started by pouring our heart and soul into this site, and by taking the advice of so many, to start a blog to share what we’re learning and to learn by sharing.

Colophon

Two × three

The main drive for the site took place over the last three months. Something interesting happened along the way. Steven and myself co-led the design, dividing the work by our main roles; Steven heads up our graphics projects and I do the same for the web. It meant that the layouts I started with were quite different than the ones Steven was doing. So we combined them and ended up with a 2-grid compound grid—3 column and 5 column—designed with Gridset, to work within. (We left the grid overlay in, you can press cmd + g, or ctrl + g, to bring it up. You might have to click on the window to give it focus first).

This 2 × 3 ratio is echoed on the homepage and what we do page. We had five sections of content we decided to feature on each and added the call-to-action, bottom-right, to populate the sixth panel. The icons on the what we do page each feature six stars, which is the number of members in our team and, of course, the result of 2 × 3.

Typography

  • Lucida Sans Bold Italic is used for the banner.
  • Lucida Sans Bold for headings.
  • Humanist 777 Light is used for body copy—chosen to compliment the humanist Lucida Sans. White on black text gets blown out on screen, so the light weight compensates for this and renders almost identically to the regular weight when presented in black on white.
  • Lucida Italic for quotations.
  • Body copy takes a 18px font size with 1.5 leading. We’ve tried our best to observe a vertical rhythm and keep all units in percentages and ems.

Web fonts served by Fonts.com.

Behind the cabinet

  • The site is built using Sass and Compass, and powered by WordPress.
  • We tried to keep the CSS super-well documented and use a loose version of SMACSS for architecture.
  • HTML images for retina screens are semi-supported via Picturefill. We have WordPress scaling all the right @2x image sizes and are working on modifying a plugin to use the Picturefill approach to actually make use of them.
  • All CSS images are retina-ready, the icons on the about page are sprited for retina and non-retina screens also.
  • We’re using the Smush.it WordPress plugin for lossless image optimisation and caching with the W3 total cache plugin.
  • Fitvids.js is in place for scaling videos.
  • Modernizr for some CSS3 fallback support and non-JavaScript fallbacks, particularly for the toggle menu on small screens.
  • All CSS and JavaScript is minimised, concatenated and gzipping is set up.
  • (Also behind the cabinet is a long list of IE8 craziness which you don’t have to bring up unless you really want to)

 

Paddy O’Hanlon is a web designer and one of the principals at Logo24. He is a lover of good semantics, well documented and architected CSS, and beautiful, content-driven design. (Really the design-guise is a cover-up so he can covertly feed his travel addiction and climb many rocks around the world). He tweets @Paddy.

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