Brand New Design, Same Old Site

If you’ve visited English Rules lately, you may have noticed a few changes around here. The site is sporting a brand new look, which evolved out of a little collaboration with a friend at work, Jennifer Wetzel. Jennifer and I struck a deal a few months ago to help with each other’s sites: She would design a “mockup” for my site in Photoshop, and I would help implement a new site for her. So now Jennifer has a cool new site,, to display her gorgeous design work, and I have a fresh way to display all the stuff that has been accumulating here for the past couple years.


To create the new look, Jennifer started with a photo that I recently took of an antique trunk that I saw in the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia. She used the trunk as a kind of motif, developing the color palette and a number of the background elements from it.

In addition to giving the site a facelift, I also performed surgery on its internal organs—cleaning up a lot of the code that had been spiraling out of control (which I won’t describe in detail, to save you all from death by boredom) and simplifying the navigation to make it easier for people to get around. Now each of the site’s main sections can be accessed by the horizontal menu at the top of each page, and a secondary menu on the left-hand side of the page lists what is available in each section. The right column has links to some extra stuff, like contact info, each section’s “get updates” feature for email and “feed” notifications, and links to interesting sites around the web.

camera The Photography section still hasn’t received the makeover treatment because some special tweaking of the design is necessary for graceful display of the big images. Also, I have plans for a couple interactive bells and whistles that I hope to implement over the next month or so. In the meantime, I hope you’ll wander around and enjoy what’s here.

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6 Responses to Brand New Design, Same Old Site

  1. Josh Byers says:

    Nice job! The design looks good and is very user friendly.

  2. michelle says:

    LOVE it! Your site looks outstanding!

  3. aunt ginny says:

    I love the color palette and the photo it’s based on! The font on this page is tiny!!!! Jennifer’s site is terrific too.

  4. thanks for the compliments! Ginny, I’ll look into the small font size thing that you mention because someone else said it seemed small, but I wonder if it might help if you changed the font size in your browser, too. I’ve checked it on a few machines, and it doesn’t appear any smaller than usual to me, but I’ll keep poking around.

  5. tammy says:

    hi karl! i do love the new look….the colour palette is rich and warm like an old library, and it’s inviting me in…quite fitting for the content you post……and thank you for saving me from death by ennui – that would be so slow and torturous!!! (have you read the gashleycrumb tinies? my favorites are poor neville, and susan, and i should hate to come to a similar demise of either).
    also, re: the font thing – yes, it was definitely in my browser, so hopefully ginny will be able to make the same correction. like i said, i think i must sometimes randomly hit the proper combo of keys to make changes that i don’t mean to, but because i don’t know what any of them are, they seem to happen magically, and finding my way to fixing them can take a while. anyway, great job on the site. also, how does one go about creating a website? are there links that would be helpful, or should i find a real person who can sit down with me and help?

  6. Aunt Ginny says:

    Like you told me yesterday in real life, I went to view and chose a medium font size and voila!! I can read this. It’s not tiny anymore!
    I thought it was pretty funny yesterday when you protested that you had responded a couple weeks ago to my query with this suggestion in the comments section. As the young people say “Hello!” didn’t do me any good- at that point, I couldn’t read them!! Moot point!! I see it now!
    Thanks. You’re one of my favorite geeks.

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