10.31.12

Yeoman

Going into 2012, we knew it would be a transitional year. Realignments of sorts seemed to be a recurring theme among friends and colleagues, in personal lives as well as professional. The idea of transition for us had quite the appeal and a strong pull.

In August, we slowed down the studio as Jen and I went to Malaysia to visit with family and to take a bit of a break. To clear the mind, the palette and the canvas, and to explore some scenarios.

Once we regrouped in September, the seduction of transition had subsided. We reaffirmed the elements that we hold in high regard. That is, the life, the flexibility, the work we do and the people we’ve been fortunate to work with. Each of these coalesces to form one crucial and long-standing principle: independence.

Longstride1

Settling back into our sovereign state, we proceeded to work on this very redesign you see here. We learned quite a few things about the last design, and we wanted to do better — iteration is king, after all.

Two main things:

  1. Each design of this site, like any design we’ve done for clients or ourselves, is measurable. The effectiveness of each design can be measured by its intended audience — in our case, potential clients primarily and our peers in the community and industry secondarily. The former can be established by looking at how clients complete our Project Inquiry or how they ask questions about the studio and our work. Does this site do the right job in communicating these things in a clear and helpful manner? Furthermore, does it do so in a way that gives them a sense of who we are? For our secondary audience, it’s a way to showcase our current thinking, approach and aesthetic — direct and concise.
  2. The last version was our first responsive design for this site. Though we did a decent job with it, it wasn’t one that could serve up a more unique experience nor cater to the respective devices and viewpoints in a manner that felt natural to those environments. To that end, we’re now presenting distinct viewing experiences for different devices, which are better suited to the user experiences and habits of people using those devices.

A refreshed identity

Oh, and there’s a new identity. Like everything else with this new design, we wanted to fine-tune and correct issues and perceptions that clearly weren’t working for people. While we loved the previous identity, it wasn’t as readable as we would have liked, and the bigger issue was a mistake I made with it — capitalizing the “s” led many to address the studio as “WeightShift” or “Weight Shift.” It’s no one’s fault but our own, but it’s just plain old Weightshift. With that fixed, we also returned to our affection of slabs and slab serifs, specifically appointing Hoefler & Frere-Jones’s Vitesse, a studio favorite, in the wordmark. It retains some of the elements of the previous identity — the underline, the sturdy feel — but is clearer, a bit more modern and has that craftsman aesthetic that we love and feel is more representative of us.

Onward and upward!

1 This version is called Longstride. It’s one of Robin Hood’s real names — Robin Longstride. The other being Robin of Locksley. The previous Weightshift version was named Little John, after one of Robin’s merry men, and the prior one to that, Wolfhead, as he was commonly and derisively nicknamed on the British TV show Robin of Sherwood (one of my favourite shows from my youth). And the title of this entry? Robin Hood was a yeoman — “a free man owning his own farm.” Something we undoubtedly identify with. What can I say? I enjoy Robin Hood.

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