4.21.2008

readers speak: the biggie.



OK deep breath. It's time for another readers speak, the last of which you had a LOT to say! I'm loving the collaboration here and am hoping you can help me with another topic I'm a bit nervous about discussing.

Design for Mankind has been growing rapidly since August of last year, and holy speed bumps, I have no idea what to do about it. I didn't realize that my passion for inspiring others would soon become a forum for others to do the same, and I am just so BLESSED to have you all along for the ride. THANK YOU, if I don't say it nearly enough.

So, the ultimate topic of a site re-design has been raised by a few gentlemen, and I'd love to open this idea to you readers, because really, I'd be talking to myself without you. [Again THANK YOU. It's not pretty when I talk to myself. Really.] And before I go on, I will address the subject of ad revenue, b/c this is an ongoing battle between many bloggers that I just really want to get out in the open:

YES. I will accept advertisers.
NO. Advertisers will not affect the content.

With that said, you should all know [hold on to your seat, Dad!] that I resigned from my day job last Friday. It's simply too much, and life is too short to burn the candle at both ends. And I would be totally hypocritical if I encouraged each of you to break free from your boundaries and I didn't do the same. Roadmaps has been the dose of medicine that I needed to feed myself, and that has become quite evident in the past month.

So. To get "technical" on you, I've been dabbling into site designs to support ads for a few weeks and am torn. I need you guys to make the call. After all, this is YOUR site, not mine [THANK YOU again. If it was my site, holy crap, it would get messy.] Here's what I want to know:

What is your design preference for the future of Design for Mankind?
(a). Magazine-style template, such as this, this or this? OR
(b). Simple layout, such as this, this or this?


Obviously, there are pros/cons to each, but my fear is that by offering more content as in the mag-style, the site will become impersonal and/or stale.
BUT, a simply layout is equally stunting, simply because content would be constrained.

Help? [THANK YOU, again. Truly.]
Note: I'll be keeping this post up until tomorrow morning, so give me whatcha got!

87 comments:

Krissy said...

OMG! congrats for following your dreams!!!!

and to keep it short but sweet, my vote is the simple layout because of your exact con of the mag style.

jess gonacha said...

CONGRATULATIONS again, my dear! I am so so excited. I can't wait to see the direction Design for Mankind takes with this new development and new free time you now have!!

I think I am partial to the third magazine style layout... it seems to leave the most room for creativity somehow, and you'd be able to have quite a few images/ideas on the same page, as opposed to the blog format. Does that make sense?

Can't wait to see the new design, whatever it may be!!

Jude said...

My first pic is simple #2, followed by simple #3. But, you already know my thoughts and I'll be a devoted reader no matter what format you ultimately choose, because it's the Erin Content© that matters!!

Wow! Congrats on breaking free from the day job. I've got my fingers crossed for you for lots of personal and professional success.

heidi said...

First...CONGRATS!!!
Second... welcome to the club!
Third... i like the simple design, because it will highlight the colors & textures of the images you post. I love the simplicity of how it feels now, and i associate that with your grace & beauty.

bandelle said...

Erin, I am absolutely THRILLED for you. This is fantastic news and I only wish you the very, very best. In terms of your layout, I've been secretly toying with the magazine style too but haven't made the switch yet because of the same reason. But honestly, whatever you decide on will be great because it's YOU.

design for mankind. said...

This is such valuable feedback. Thank you, lovelies--- what would I do without you ladies??

Christy said...

Erin -

You are amazing and inspiring. And you will continually be so, no matter how your site appears. :-)

Having said that, I really enjoyed the first magazine style, and the last simple style. The magazine style looks fun and interactive but the simple style really "looks" like you. I have to agree with bandelle - whatever you choose will be perfect.

andrea said...

Congratulations on deciding to follow your dreams! You are such an inspiration!
I like a simple design because I have internet ADD and a simple design is easier for me to navigate and keeps me from feeling anxious about reading everything on the ENTIRE website all at once.

Kelly said...

Congratulations, Erin! You have been and continue to be a huge inspiration for me.

I'd go with the third simple layout. Maybe because it's what I'm used to, but also because I think it's the most personal; and that's one thing your blog has been...really personal and uplifting. The magazine formats seem more removed/impersonal like you mentioned.

I'll keep reading, no matter what the format. You go girl!

ease between notches said...

Wow Wow Wow! CONGRATULATIONS!! So great that you are following your dreams wherever they may take you!!!

I definitely prefer the simple layout - either #1 or #3. I think #3 over #1, but would there be room for ads? if not then #1 gets my vote. The magazine layouts always leave me so cold and that is the opposite of what I usually feel when I visit dfm.

Decor Fellow said...

CONGRATS MY DEAR! SIMPLE SIMPLE SIMPLE :)

design for mankind. said...

WOW. You guys are soooo fast! Thank you so much--- you make me cry! :)

design for mankind. said...

[a good thing, I promise!]

Diana said...

First - congrats! You did an amazing thing and should be proud.

Second - I love the simple style. Keep in mind - focus on the content, an about the author page, and an easy way for readers to leave comments. I'm sure there are more, but that seems to be a great simple formula.

mado&co said...

Waoh! Congratulations!

Billy said...

Congratulations! I hope your Dad took your decision well! ;)

I prefer the "simple" layout.

Magazine layout has a little bit of text for a lot of articles and I find it more confusing.

Hey, but I´ll keep subscribing its RSS feed anyway!

Meg said...

I like the third simple, followed by the third magazine style. Congrats on being able to leave your day job! I just applied to grad school in for an MA in historic preservation thanks to your roadmaps posts and decor8 series.

design for mankind. said...

Wow-- congrats, Meg! :) And me, too, Billy. :)

Penny Boyd said...

Congratulations on quiting your day-job.

My preference is for the magazine style number 2, or simple style number 1. Keeping things clean and simple is always the way to go.

becca said...

i like: simple layout, second option.

jen said...

Congratulations! I think that it is wonderful that you were able to take the leap.
As for design stuff I am thinking that the simple is best. While the magazine format can be quite lovely- I think that I would prefer to read your site in the simple blog format... though to be honest- my favorite would combine a bit of both.
Hope that helps.

design for mankind. said...

It does--- thank you, Jen!

A Print A Day said...

oh my gosh! what a truly exciting venture! with your talent and your sincere enthusiasm, you'll do awesome-ly (is that even a word?!).

i can't decide which layout i like. to tell you the truth, i like what you have now :P but personally, the cleaner and easier it is to navigate, the better for me. i'm not one for bells and whistles in a website. i mean, of course it's a factor, but content is a bigger factor for me. and in your case, you obviously have great layout choices, PLUS you've got excellent content. so...win win!

alice said...

I vote for the simple layout - but having said that I am sure whatever you do will be awesome :)

sara said...

As a Scandinavian I would say: Simple! Simple, Clean and Easy to navigate.

Well done and congrats!!

design for mankind. said...

THANK YOU!!!! :)

Tizzalicious said...

I like the simple ones best!

And good luck with everything!

Anonymous said...

Simply put, Simple #3!!!

mizu designs said...

A HUGE congrats on quitting your day job! How inspiring!!!!!
As for layout styles, I quite like it as it is but if I had to choose from those options I'd go with mag layout no. 2 or 3.

Cindy K said...

congratulations erin and thank you for all you do for us! i'm sure your dad will be ok with your decision. he's your dad and only has to read some of the comments to see your impact.

regarding ads, people have to be realistic about making a living. i just wouldn't over do it with all kinds of flashing images on either side of the main content. there are some very popular blogs that are just overwhelmed by ads and no empty space to rest your eyes.

when i studied information architecture we figured out the content categories that would be included on the home page and then did a grid layout before looking at actual design. you actually have 4 different styles as some of them have similar layouts when you look at them in a simple grid, i.e. mag style 1 and 3 are similar in a grid; as are 1 and 3 in the simple style. i'm not a web designer, but would be happy to send you a link to to a pdf containing schematics as an example.

i also like simple designs that don't compete/detract from the content. i like the first magazine style format as it's clean, but also has some pizazz.

hope that makes sense and helps! let me know if it doesn't.

littlemithi said...

Wow! Congrats Erin! Hope you're already enjoying your newfound freelancedom...

My preferences are obviously no ads and simple (but I've got ad-blocker on firefox, so I hardly look at ads anyways...)...

But again, do what you find easiest to read and navigate.

Cindy K said...

i'm back - sorry! i think i like the mimbo magazine layout the best because it has the most images.

the other examples are text heavy unlike your site now.

Mrs.French said...

I am a simple layout kind of gal (the last one in that category is my favorite). The magazine style is too overwhelming and impersonal, I usually don't stick around sites like this for too long. The reason I love your blog is because you have a way of making your readers feel welcome, I am hoping this would not change with the magazine layout. However, if anyone could pull it off, you could!

Congrats, by the way! You are living out my dream. I would love to be able to make a living by posting my ideas and inspiration on my little blog. You rock momma!

jozette said...

Well, for whatever my opinion is worth, I prefer the simple layouts. It's what I most enjoy about your site now - the images you post are not overwhelmed by the layout of the page. I do read some blogs with the magazine type layouts, but to tell you the truth, I read them less frequently and don't enjoy them as much. The simpler layouts just seem more organic and true. Hope that makes some semblance of sense :). And, congratulations!!

shing said...

I like the simple styles, because I think it preserves your wonderful, conversational and personal tone best.

angeliaa said...

This is so exciting. A new life adventure is wonderful. I love the simple designs with all the interest/visuals in the content.A

Justine said...

I prefer the simple layout. You're right, it evokes a more personal feeling, and that's a key component to any blog, and especially so with yours. A magazine style can also be confusing to navigate and can cause content to get lost, I think.

Jessie Cacciola said...

Personally I like what you have going on right now, but maybe have easier to find topic tabs on the top. I'm all for simple style!
- Jessie -
P.S. You Rock! gutsy girl, you inspire me! =)

lizzyl said...

congratulations on leaving the day job! :)

i prefer one of the simple layouts. the magazine style would be tmi for me to process and i wouldn't know where to start reading, i think.

Marilyn said...

I think I like these two the most:

http://flickr.com/photos/eston/295180653/sizes/o/
http://flickr.com/photos/angel_thearsonist/2187169401/in/pool-wordpress

Nicole & Amanda said...

Congratulations! What guts :) I like the simple layout, #2. Oftentimes you are posting such lovely things and I feel like a simple layout would really support all of this visual interest without getting too confusing.

MARICHELLE said...

HOLY MOLY!!!! Congratulations Erin yaaayyyyyy!!!! I'm so so so happy for you.

My vote would be for the simple layout. Attention span is decreasing as the years go by - so the simpler the better! OH my god I can't get over it! Any plans to come to nyc? It would be nice to meet my fairy blog-sister!

Julia said...

Oh holy hunny! You are so brave, so courageous and I can't tell you how inspiring you are to all of us! BRAVO!!!

As for your questions, perfectly valid, and perfectly exciting! Honestly? I think if you could give yourself a forum that was inspiring to you, and thus inspiring to us, it'll go so far! I do like the magazine style, just graphically, but, will this be a diverse enough forum for you?

I would love to know what excites you in this process :) We respond to your loves, and that's why we love you and your site!

HUGS! And heaps of luck! We're totally behind you!

Janelle said...

First ... congratulations!! Way to live the dream!

Second ... I vote for Simple #1, with Simple #2 as the runner up. But no matter what you decide to do, I'm confident that it will be fabulous.

corine said...

I've been happily working from home since 1992. I quit my job then, and never could get back to working 9 to 5 to make someone else rich and successful, thank you very much. It's a leap of faith and I applaud you. As for the design, follow your heart only.

design for mankind. said...

Holy thank you's are in order! Wowza. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I stepped out for a moment and returned to email after email flooding my inbox. I can only be so lucky to get such encouragement after doing such a [very out of character, mind you!] risky thing.

THANK YOU.

As for the format, I hear you loud and clear and will see what I can do... ;)

THANKS FOR YOUR SOOO HELPFUL DIRECTION! :)

poetic home said...

Congrats on living your inspiration!!

I personally like the simple layout because ease-of-use is big with me. However, regardless of what you choose, it is your content and ideas that make me laugh and feel inspired!

Putting ads on your site is only natural! We totally support you and want to make sure your bills are paid while you inspire our community!

Natalie said...

I think it's r e a l l y important for your blog to reflect who you are (your character). Ya know, like when you post your hand-written PDFs for us to read. There's a lot of character there. Your "brand" if you will. Grace over at Design Sponge really leveraged a personal "style" to her overall look, and I think it worked out well. Keep in mind that your readers (including moi) are used to your very-easy-to-navigate blog. As an interactive creative Director and branding gal, I think it's really important for your personality to shine through and to keep thing simple. (there will always be space for ads) I want you to make money - that way you'll keep creating great content. Feel free to email me - I'll give you a quick (free) consult. :) xox -Natalie

Stephanie Ryan said...

Wow! You continue to inspire me. Wow! Well done.

The redesign will be a challenge, simple, clean, and packed with goodies to read, inspire, and soak in. You can do it...obviously you can do anything!!!! Congratulations.

design for mankind. said...

Wow--- you are something else, guys. So supportive. Thank you!!!

lillianna said...

The content is just so wonderful (inspiring, helpful, witty, etc), you don't need anything fancy, design wise...I love the blog just the way it is :) Simple, clean, and oh so readble...I know I'll keep coming back no matter what...


congratulations on taking the leap

canyouhearme? said...

whoa- can we say totally inspirational?! (and i'm not just talking about the poster...) way to follow your heart/dreams/everything that's great in this world.

after looking at all the different potential layout options...am i weird for loving designformankind just the way it is?

Anonymous said...

I like the simple layouts - I think the magazine layouts would become too overwhelming (what to click first?!?).

Congrats on following our dreams, I hope I have the courage to do the same one day...

mette said...

keep it simple!i think its the future :)
thank you for a great blog and congratulation!

Nathalie said...

oh wow congratulations, this must be feeling like a dream, amazing !
my advice is to keep it simple, i think its important that blogs retain their personal simplicity so that they don't go falling into the standard website feeling, personal, small is what i think attract us all to blogging :)

Esti said...

I wish you good luck with your new life! May great treaures encounter your path! :)
(Simple would be fine with me)

kate said...

Simple simple simple! You site is so great and such an inspiration because of that fact.... that its simple in layout and makes it easy to read and find all the interesting things you have to share and say without getting all caught up in fancy display.

Camilla said...

Congratulations! And for wht it's worth I vote for simple...

instantanés said...

OUAH !!! CONGRATULATIONS !! SO HAPPY FOR YOU !!

kT said...

simple would be easier...

as for ad space, the guys over at Penny Arcade (which is a gaming webcomic... http://www.penny-arcade.com) are really super picky about their ads. they only advertise games and groups they actually support and approve. Like they won't adverstise something that sucks.

Yes they get a gazillion hits a day at the moment, but i think it's a good mentality that they have. it helps you respect the advertisments.

Congrats!

jennifer said...

good for you for taking the leap. I'm partial to clean and simple.

That Girl Designs said...

Well, I really like the look and style you have now. But if I had to pick one, it would be the simple layout examples. I think ads are fine and if you can make a living while giving us all valuable and fun reading, then more power to you. I will say however, that the flashing ads really distract me when I'm trying to read a post; especially a long one! Congrats on following the beat of your drum!

Cecilia said...

Congratulations on following your dream. I've been keeping with your Roadmaps series, and I really appreciate what you're doing for us.

I think the third magazine design is my favorite. Does this mean you'll be moving on to wordpress?

Prêt à Voyager said...

I'm so impressed, Erin. Way to go. I can't wait to continue to see where your road takes you :)

Anne

Sarah's Fab Day said...

I love the simple layout. Sometimes when there is so much I zone out, get lazy and don't read everything that I can (too much clicking). All of this is usually followed by disinterest.

Regardless I love your content so keep it up, it's wonderful.

Liz said...

Congratulations on leaving the day job behind! First choice is Simple #3, tho I also like Magazine style #1. We will all be reading happily as you build this beautiful ship!

design for mankind. said...

Awww, thank you so much, guys. And yes, Cecilia--- I'll be moving to wordpress when the time comes! :)

Pikaland said...

OMG! Congrats!

My favorite is simple layout #1.

I have a feeling things will turn out great for you sweetie! *Hugs*

YAY!

painted fish studio said...

CONGRATULATIONS! i'm so happy that you've gotten such a great group of loyal readers, and i don't have a problem with ads, when i know they are supporting a blogger's ability to really focus on writing the blog.

design-wise, i loathe magazine-style templates, but didn't love any of the simple ones presented, either.

gotta throw a wrench in, don't i?! :)

Kelly C. said...

Congratulations, sweets!!! I'm so excited and happy for you! AWESOME.
As far as layout goes, although I love what some folks are doing with magazine-style sites, the simple layout you have going on right now REALLY works. I like the last of the simple layouts you linked to above. Either way, i KNOW whatever you decide on will ROCK!
xoxox
k

design for mankind. said...

HA--- no worries, painted fish... I think I'm going with something customized. You'll like it [I hope!!!].

Stephanie said...

Oooh, how exciting! Congratulations on taking such a big step and doing so with such poise and confidence (at least that's what we see!).

The simple layout is definitely more appealing than the magazine layout. I cannot make myself read magazine layouts no matter how hard I try.

Looking forward to your customization and all the upcoming changes!!

Leah said...

congratulations!!! and best wishes in living your dreams!

seems like most everyone has said, go for the simple layout and i agree. seems to suit your style more. but however you do it, i'm sure it will be great!

Marisa and Creative Thursday said...

EEEEEE!!!! Congratulations to you!!!
and of course, I'm always one to vote for the "simple" kind of style. I know your choice will be great!!!!! :)

Karen said...

Definitely go with the simple options -- I like things simple and clean and easily accessible. Love the simple layout you have now so more of the same (or similar!)

Karen said...

Definitely go with the simple options -- I like things simple and clean and easily accessible. Love the simple layout you have now so more of the same (or similar!)

Barbara said...

A magazine layout would allow you to have each of your daily features have a space and they can all be seen at a glance. That would be nice, but it does take away from the blogginess of it all, which is why it feels so personal.

Simple is probably best. I like Simple #3 best, but I think you would be better served with a 3 column layout and devote one of the smaller columns to advertisers.

I always get your posts in RSS feeds though and just click through to comment. Granted I do comment quite a bit, but you should probably listen to people who don't use the feeds and just view you directly from the page instead, since they'll be impacted more.

Also, add text ads to the bottom of your feed posts. I think your fans understand that it takes ads to support what you are doing and we benefit from it.

bronwyn said...

Yay for you!!!!! Congratulations! I prefer the simple layouts, but I'll keep reading either way!

ApartmentCat said...

Wow! Congratulations!
I'm not too fussed as to the layout. I'll keep reading.
I do hope you keep the 'loungeroom in a jar' graphic that you have in your banner in some form or another though. That image is what first drew me to the site in the beginning.
Good luck!

Summer (designismine) said...

Congrats! I always get so very inspired by creative women taking the plunge and escaping everyday jobs. You deserve it!

I adore your site dearly and find it so very inspiring on a daily basis. As far as the layout, I tend to always prefer simple layouts that show more of a personal side to them. But I'm quite sure that anything you create will be wonderful.

artsharyne said...

Hi most gorgeous & talented woman. I've been meaning to reply to your comments re feminist issues - sorry for being so slack! I understand your position & was not offended at all. The wonderful thing about your Design For Mankind is the personal nature of both your content & the responses/comments given. Every opinion is valid. This is why I put my vote for the simple rather than mag format too. What I love about reading your stuff is that it's like sitting down with a group of girlfriends chatting. The amazing thing is that we are all participating in an intimate convo despite living at different corners of the globe. How absolutely fabulous is that??? Flicking through a mag is never as intimate or might I add, as relevent. What ever you do - just go for it girrrl!!! We support you.
Cheers from Australia :)

design for mankind. said...

THIS IS SOOOOOOO HELPFUL, YOU GUYS!!! THANK YOU! :)

sulu-design said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! I'm so happy to hear that you've resigned and are following your desires. I made a similar move a little less than a year ago and it's the best thing I ever did for myself. Best of luck to you. I'll be following along regardless of your layout, advertising, etc. Yay!

Megan said...

Congrats on the resignation! I remember the feeling when I resigned in March 06. Very liberating! I'm not a fan of the magazine layouts...they seem so "techie" and impersonal. I love how you have it. It's simple, easy to read, and calming. I'm sure you could edit your current layout to have more little details here and there with custom borders and design elements (perhaps in the aqua from your header?) but it doesn't necessarily need it.

Jessie said...

Erin,

SO proud, SO happy, SO inspired, SO excited for you!

Can't wait to see the new designs for the site (no matter how it looks), and I'll always be one of your biggest fans.

Thanks for being so encouraging and helpful throughout my creative endeavors, as well.

As I say, you are a GEM! We (your readers) love you no matter what!

- Jessie

JLC Studio said...

Wow!!! Congrats on leaving your job...I had no idea you did all this and had a job as well...you are superhuman!

I really think that your site as it is is terrific...maybe if you added a third column for more content? Otherwise, simpler is better! It's all about your fabulous writing and sense of humor anyway!!! Can't wait to see what you come up with-I'll read it no matter what it looks like (unless it's in another language of course!!)!

BTW---Let me know how much your ads will go for because I'm ready to jump on board!!!

http://www.jlcstudio.blogspot.com :)

elizabeth@shoptwig said...

I'd love to find out about your advertising - I'd love to get an ad on Design For Mankind! Congrats on taking a risk.

welcome.

because beauty lies in the details of design. in the pencil shavings, in the blueberry waffles. the vintage dress, framed portrait, old postcard.

design is inevitable. celebrated. design for mankind.

4.21.2008

readers speak: the biggie.



OK deep breath. It's time for another readers speak, the last of which you had a LOT to say! I'm loving the collaboration here and am hoping you can help me with another topic I'm a bit nervous about discussing.

Design for Mankind has been growing rapidly since August of last year, and holy speed bumps, I have no idea what to do about it. I didn't realize that my passion for inspiring others would soon become a forum for others to do the same, and I am just so BLESSED to have you all along for the ride. THANK YOU, if I don't say it nearly enough.

So, the ultimate topic of a site re-design has been raised by a few gentlemen, and I'd love to open this idea to you readers, because really, I'd be talking to myself without you. [Again THANK YOU. It's not pretty when I talk to myself. Really.] And before I go on, I will address the subject of ad revenue, b/c this is an ongoing battle between many bloggers that I just really want to get out in the open:

YES. I will accept advertisers.
NO. Advertisers will not affect the content.

With that said, you should all know [hold on to your seat, Dad!] that I resigned from my day job last Friday. It's simply too much, and life is too short to burn the candle at both ends. And I would be totally hypocritical if I encouraged each of you to break free from your boundaries and I didn't do the same. Roadmaps has been the dose of medicine that I needed to feed myself, and that has become quite evident in the past month.

So. To get "technical" on you, I've been dabbling into site designs to support ads for a few weeks and am torn. I need you guys to make the call. After all, this is YOUR site, not mine [THANK YOU again. If it was my site, holy crap, it would get messy.] Here's what I want to know:

What is your design preference for the future of Design for Mankind?
(a). Magazine-style template, such as this, this or this? OR
(b). Simple layout, such as this, this or this?


Obviously, there are pros/cons to each, but my fear is that by offering more content as in the mag-style, the site will become impersonal and/or stale.
BUT, a simply layout is equally stunting, simply because content would be constrained.

Help? [THANK YOU, again. Truly.]
Note: I'll be keeping this post up until tomorrow morning, so give me whatcha got!

87 comments:

Krissy said...

OMG! congrats for following your dreams!!!!

and to keep it short but sweet, my vote is the simple layout because of your exact con of the mag style.

jess gonacha said...

CONGRATULATIONS again, my dear! I am so so excited. I can't wait to see the direction Design for Mankind takes with this new development and new free time you now have!!

I think I am partial to the third magazine style layout... it seems to leave the most room for creativity somehow, and you'd be able to have quite a few images/ideas on the same page, as opposed to the blog format. Does that make sense?

Can't wait to see the new design, whatever it may be!!

Jude said...

My first pic is simple #2, followed by simple #3. But, you already know my thoughts and I'll be a devoted reader no matter what format you ultimately choose, because it's the Erin Content© that matters!!

Wow! Congrats on breaking free from the day job. I've got my fingers crossed for you for lots of personal and professional success.

heidi said...

First...CONGRATS!!!
Second... welcome to the club!
Third... i like the simple design, because it will highlight the colors & textures of the images you post. I love the simplicity of how it feels now, and i associate that with your grace & beauty.

bandelle said...

Erin, I am absolutely THRILLED for you. This is fantastic news and I only wish you the very, very best. In terms of your layout, I've been secretly toying with the magazine style too but haven't made the switch yet because of the same reason. But honestly, whatever you decide on will be great because it's YOU.

design for mankind. said...

This is such valuable feedback. Thank you, lovelies--- what would I do without you ladies??

Christy said...

Erin -

You are amazing and inspiring. And you will continually be so, no matter how your site appears. :-)

Having said that, I really enjoyed the first magazine style, and the last simple style. The magazine style looks fun and interactive but the simple style really "looks" like you. I have to agree with bandelle - whatever you choose will be perfect.

andrea said...

Congratulations on deciding to follow your dreams! You are such an inspiration!
I like a simple design because I have internet ADD and a simple design is easier for me to navigate and keeps me from feeling anxious about reading everything on the ENTIRE website all at once.

Kelly said...

Congratulations, Erin! You have been and continue to be a huge inspiration for me.

I'd go with the third simple layout. Maybe because it's what I'm used to, but also because I think it's the most personal; and that's one thing your blog has been...really personal and uplifting. The magazine formats seem more removed/impersonal like you mentioned.

I'll keep reading, no matter what the format. You go girl!

ease between notches said...

Wow Wow Wow! CONGRATULATIONS!! So great that you are following your dreams wherever they may take you!!!

I definitely prefer the simple layout - either #1 or #3. I think #3 over #1, but would there be room for ads? if not then #1 gets my vote. The magazine layouts always leave me so cold and that is the opposite of what I usually feel when I visit dfm.

Decor Fellow said...

CONGRATS MY DEAR! SIMPLE SIMPLE SIMPLE :)

design for mankind. said...

WOW. You guys are soooo fast! Thank you so much--- you make me cry! :)

design for mankind. said...

[a good thing, I promise!]

Diana said...

First - congrats! You did an amazing thing and should be proud.

Second - I love the simple style. Keep in mind - focus on the content, an about the author page, and an easy way for readers to leave comments. I'm sure there are more, but that seems to be a great simple formula.

mado&co said...

Waoh! Congratulations!

Billy said...

Congratulations! I hope your Dad took your decision well! ;)

I prefer the "simple" layout.

Magazine layout has a little bit of text for a lot of articles and I find it more confusing.

Hey, but I´ll keep subscribing its RSS feed anyway!

Meg said...

I like the third simple, followed by the third magazine style. Congrats on being able to leave your day job! I just applied to grad school in for an MA in historic preservation thanks to your roadmaps posts and decor8 series.

design for mankind. said...

Wow-- congrats, Meg! :) And me, too, Billy. :)

Penny Boyd said...

Congratulations on quiting your day-job.

My preference is for the magazine style number 2, or simple style number 1. Keeping things clean and simple is always the way to go.

becca said...

i like: simple layout, second option.

jen said...

Congratulations! I think that it is wonderful that you were able to take the leap.
As for design stuff I am thinking that the simple is best. While the magazine format can be quite lovely- I think that I would prefer to read your site in the simple blog format... though to be honest- my favorite would combine a bit of both.
Hope that helps.

design for mankind. said...

It does--- thank you, Jen!

A Print A Day said...

oh my gosh! what a truly exciting venture! with your talent and your sincere enthusiasm, you'll do awesome-ly (is that even a word?!).

i can't decide which layout i like. to tell you the truth, i like what you have now :P but personally, the cleaner and easier it is to navigate, the better for me. i'm not one for bells and whistles in a website. i mean, of course it's a factor, but content is a bigger factor for me. and in your case, you obviously have great layout choices, PLUS you've got excellent content. so...win win!

alice said...

I vote for the simple layout - but having said that I am sure whatever you do will be awesome :)

sara said...

As a Scandinavian I would say: Simple! Simple, Clean and Easy to navigate.

Well done and congrats!!

design for mankind. said...

THANK YOU!!!! :)

Tizzalicious said...

I like the simple ones best!

And good luck with everything!

Anonymous said...

Simply put, Simple #3!!!

mizu designs said...

A HUGE congrats on quitting your day job! How inspiring!!!!!
As for layout styles, I quite like it as it is but if I had to choose from those options I'd go with mag layout no. 2 or 3.

Cindy K said...

congratulations erin and thank you for all you do for us! i'm sure your dad will be ok with your decision. he's your dad and only has to read some of the comments to see your impact.

regarding ads, people have to be realistic about making a living. i just wouldn't over do it with all kinds of flashing images on either side of the main content. there are some very popular blogs that are just overwhelmed by ads and no empty space to rest your eyes.

when i studied information architecture we figured out the content categories that would be included on the home page and then did a grid layout before looking at actual design. you actually have 4 different styles as some of them have similar layouts when you look at them in a simple grid, i.e. mag style 1 and 3 are similar in a grid; as are 1 and 3 in the simple style. i'm not a web designer, but would be happy to send you a link to to a pdf containing schematics as an example.

i also like simple designs that don't compete/detract from the content. i like the first magazine style format as it's clean, but also has some pizazz.

hope that makes sense and helps! let me know if it doesn't.

littlemithi said...

Wow! Congrats Erin! Hope you're already enjoying your newfound freelancedom...

My preferences are obviously no ads and simple (but I've got ad-blocker on firefox, so I hardly look at ads anyways...)...

But again, do what you find easiest to read and navigate.

Cindy K said...

i'm back - sorry! i think i like the mimbo magazine layout the best because it has the most images.

the other examples are text heavy unlike your site now.

Mrs.French said...

I am a simple layout kind of gal (the last one in that category is my favorite). The magazine style is too overwhelming and impersonal, I usually don't stick around sites like this for too long. The reason I love your blog is because you have a way of making your readers feel welcome, I am hoping this would not change with the magazine layout. However, if anyone could pull it off, you could!

Congrats, by the way! You are living out my dream. I would love to be able to make a living by posting my ideas and inspiration on my little blog. You rock momma!

jozette said...

Well, for whatever my opinion is worth, I prefer the simple layouts. It's what I most enjoy about your site now - the images you post are not overwhelmed by the layout of the page. I do read some blogs with the magazine type layouts, but to tell you the truth, I read them less frequently and don't enjoy them as much. The simpler layouts just seem more organic and true. Hope that makes some semblance of sense :). And, congratulations!!

shing said...

I like the simple styles, because I think it preserves your wonderful, conversational and personal tone best.

angeliaa said...

This is so exciting. A new life adventure is wonderful. I love the simple designs with all the interest/visuals in the content.A

Justine said...

I prefer the simple layout. You're right, it evokes a more personal feeling, and that's a key component to any blog, and especially so with yours. A magazine style can also be confusing to navigate and can cause content to get lost, I think.

Jessie Cacciola said...

Personally I like what you have going on right now, but maybe have easier to find topic tabs on the top. I'm all for simple style!
- Jessie -
P.S. You Rock! gutsy girl, you inspire me! =)

lizzyl said...

congratulations on leaving the day job! :)

i prefer one of the simple layouts. the magazine style would be tmi for me to process and i wouldn't know where to start reading, i think.

Marilyn said...

I think I like these two the most:

http://flickr.com/photos/eston/295180653/sizes/o/
http://flickr.com/photos/angel_thearsonist/2187169401/in/pool-wordpress

Nicole & Amanda said...

Congratulations! What guts :) I like the simple layout, #2. Oftentimes you are posting such lovely things and I feel like a simple layout would really support all of this visual interest without getting too confusing.

MARICHELLE said...

HOLY MOLY!!!! Congratulations Erin yaaayyyyyy!!!! I'm so so so happy for you.

My vote would be for the simple layout. Attention span is decreasing as the years go by - so the simpler the better! OH my god I can't get over it! Any plans to come to nyc? It would be nice to meet my fairy blog-sister!

Julia said...

Oh holy hunny! You are so brave, so courageous and I can't tell you how inspiring you are to all of us! BRAVO!!!

As for your questions, perfectly valid, and perfectly exciting! Honestly? I think if you could give yourself a forum that was inspiring to you, and thus inspiring to us, it'll go so far! I do like the magazine style, just graphically, but, will this be a diverse enough forum for you?

I would love to know what excites you in this process :) We respond to your loves, and that's why we love you and your site!

HUGS! And heaps of luck! We're totally behind you!

Janelle said...

First ... congratulations!! Way to live the dream!

Second ... I vote for Simple #1, with Simple #2 as the runner up. But no matter what you decide to do, I'm confident that it will be fabulous.

corine said...

I've been happily working from home since 1992. I quit my job then, and never could get back to working 9 to 5 to make someone else rich and successful, thank you very much. It's a leap of faith and I applaud you. As for the design, follow your heart only.

design for mankind. said...

Holy thank you's are in order! Wowza. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I stepped out for a moment and returned to email after email flooding my inbox. I can only be so lucky to get such encouragement after doing such a [very out of character, mind you!] risky thing.

THANK YOU.

As for the format, I hear you loud and clear and will see what I can do... ;)

THANKS FOR YOUR SOOO HELPFUL DIRECTION! :)

poetic home said...

Congrats on living your inspiration!!

I personally like the simple layout because ease-of-use is big with me. However, regardless of what you choose, it is your content and ideas that make me laugh and feel inspired!

Putting ads on your site is only natural! We totally support you and want to make sure your bills are paid while you inspire our community!

Natalie said...

I think it's r e a l l y important for your blog to reflect who you are (your character). Ya know, like when you post your hand-written PDFs for us to read. There's a lot of character there. Your "brand" if you will. Grace over at Design Sponge really leveraged a personal "style" to her overall look, and I think it worked out well. Keep in mind that your readers (including moi) are used to your very-easy-to-navigate blog. As an interactive creative Director and branding gal, I think it's really important for your personality to shine through and to keep thing simple. (there will always be space for ads) I want you to make money - that way you'll keep creating great content. Feel free to email me - I'll give you a quick (free) consult. :) xox -Natalie

Stephanie Ryan said...

Wow! You continue to inspire me. Wow! Well done.

The redesign will be a challenge, simple, clean, and packed with goodies to read, inspire, and soak in. You can do it...obviously you can do anything!!!! Congratulations.

design for mankind. said...

Wow--- you are something else, guys. So supportive. Thank you!!!

lillianna said...

The content is just so wonderful (inspiring, helpful, witty, etc), you don't need anything fancy, design wise...I love the blog just the way it is :) Simple, clean, and oh so readble...I know I'll keep coming back no matter what...


congratulations on taking the leap

canyouhearme? said...

whoa- can we say totally inspirational?! (and i'm not just talking about the poster...) way to follow your heart/dreams/everything that's great in this world.

after looking at all the different potential layout options...am i weird for loving designformankind just the way it is?

Anonymous said...

I like the simple layouts - I think the magazine layouts would become too overwhelming (what to click first?!?).

Congrats on following our dreams, I hope I have the courage to do the same one day...

mette said...

keep it simple!i think its the future :)
thank you for a great blog and congratulation!

Nathalie said...

oh wow congratulations, this must be feeling like a dream, amazing !
my advice is to keep it simple, i think its important that blogs retain their personal simplicity so that they don't go falling into the standard website feeling, personal, small is what i think attract us all to blogging :)

Esti said...

I wish you good luck with your new life! May great treaures encounter your path! :)
(Simple would be fine with me)

kate said...

Simple simple simple! You site is so great and such an inspiration because of that fact.... that its simple in layout and makes it easy to read and find all the interesting things you have to share and say without getting all caught up in fancy display.

Camilla said...

Congratulations! And for wht it's worth I vote for simple...

instantanés said...

OUAH !!! CONGRATULATIONS !! SO HAPPY FOR YOU !!

kT said...

simple would be easier...

as for ad space, the guys over at Penny Arcade (which is a gaming webcomic... http://www.penny-arcade.com) are really super picky about their ads. they only advertise games and groups they actually support and approve. Like they won't adverstise something that sucks.

Yes they get a gazillion hits a day at the moment, but i think it's a good mentality that they have. it helps you respect the advertisments.

Congrats!

jennifer said...

good for you for taking the leap. I'm partial to clean and simple.

That Girl Designs said...

Well, I really like the look and style you have now. But if I had to pick one, it would be the simple layout examples. I think ads are fine and if you can make a living while giving us all valuable and fun reading, then more power to you. I will say however, that the flashing ads really distract me when I'm trying to read a post; especially a long one! Congrats on following the beat of your drum!

Cecilia said...

Congratulations on following your dream. I've been keeping with your Roadmaps series, and I really appreciate what you're doing for us.

I think the third magazine design is my favorite. Does this mean you'll be moving on to wordpress?

Prêt à Voyager said...

I'm so impressed, Erin. Way to go. I can't wait to continue to see where your road takes you :)

Anne

Sarah's Fab Day said...

I love the simple layout. Sometimes when there is so much I zone out, get lazy and don't read everything that I can (too much clicking). All of this is usually followed by disinterest.

Regardless I love your content so keep it up, it's wonderful.

Liz said...

Congratulations on leaving the day job behind! First choice is Simple #3, tho I also like Magazine style #1. We will all be reading happily as you build this beautiful ship!

design for mankind. said...

Awww, thank you so much, guys. And yes, Cecilia--- I'll be moving to wordpress when the time comes! :)

Pikaland said...

OMG! Congrats!

My favorite is simple layout #1.

I have a feeling things will turn out great for you sweetie! *Hugs*

YAY!

painted fish studio said...

CONGRATULATIONS! i'm so happy that you've gotten such a great group of loyal readers, and i don't have a problem with ads, when i know they are supporting a blogger's ability to really focus on writing the blog.

design-wise, i loathe magazine-style templates, but didn't love any of the simple ones presented, either.

gotta throw a wrench in, don't i?! :)

Kelly C. said...

Congratulations, sweets!!! I'm so excited and happy for you! AWESOME.
As far as layout goes, although I love what some folks are doing with magazine-style sites, the simple layout you have going on right now REALLY works. I like the last of the simple layouts you linked to above. Either way, i KNOW whatever you decide on will ROCK!
xoxox
k

design for mankind. said...

HA--- no worries, painted fish... I think I'm going with something customized. You'll like it [I hope!!!].

Stephanie said...

Oooh, how exciting! Congratulations on taking such a big step and doing so with such poise and confidence (at least that's what we see!).

The simple layout is definitely more appealing than the magazine layout. I cannot make myself read magazine layouts no matter how hard I try.

Looking forward to your customization and all the upcoming changes!!

Leah said...

congratulations!!! and best wishes in living your dreams!

seems like most everyone has said, go for the simple layout and i agree. seems to suit your style more. but however you do it, i'm sure it will be great!

Marisa and Creative Thursday said...

EEEEEE!!!! Congratulations to you!!!
and of course, I'm always one to vote for the "simple" kind of style. I know your choice will be great!!!!! :)

Karen said...

Definitely go with the simple options -- I like things simple and clean and easily accessible. Love the simple layout you have now so more of the same (or similar!)

Karen said...

Definitely go with the simple options -- I like things simple and clean and easily accessible. Love the simple layout you have now so more of the same (or similar!)

Barbara said...

A magazine layout would allow you to have each of your daily features have a space and they can all be seen at a glance. That would be nice, but it does take away from the blogginess of it all, which is why it feels so personal.

Simple is probably best. I like Simple #3 best, but I think you would be better served with a 3 column layout and devote one of the smaller columns to advertisers.

I always get your posts in RSS feeds though and just click through to comment. Granted I do comment quite a bit, but you should probably listen to people who don't use the feeds and just view you directly from the page instead, since they'll be impacted more.

Also, add text ads to the bottom of your feed posts. I think your fans understand that it takes ads to support what you are doing and we benefit from it.

bronwyn said...

Yay for you!!!!! Congratulations! I prefer the simple layouts, but I'll keep reading either way!

ApartmentCat said...

Wow! Congratulations!
I'm not too fussed as to the layout. I'll keep reading.
I do hope you keep the 'loungeroom in a jar' graphic that you have in your banner in some form or another though. That image is what first drew me to the site in the beginning.
Good luck!

Summer (designismine) said...

Congrats! I always get so very inspired by creative women taking the plunge and escaping everyday jobs. You deserve it!

I adore your site dearly and find it so very inspiring on a daily basis. As far as the layout, I tend to always prefer simple layouts that show more of a personal side to them. But I'm quite sure that anything you create will be wonderful.

artsharyne said...

Hi most gorgeous & talented woman. I've been meaning to reply to your comments re feminist issues - sorry for being so slack! I understand your position & was not offended at all. The wonderful thing about your Design For Mankind is the personal nature of both your content & the responses/comments given. Every opinion is valid. This is why I put my vote for the simple rather than mag format too. What I love about reading your stuff is that it's like sitting down with a group of girlfriends chatting. The amazing thing is that we are all participating in an intimate convo despite living at different corners of the globe. How absolutely fabulous is that??? Flicking through a mag is never as intimate or might I add, as relevent. What ever you do - just go for it girrrl!!! We support you.
Cheers from Australia :)

design for mankind. said...

THIS IS SOOOOOOO HELPFUL, YOU GUYS!!! THANK YOU! :)

sulu-design said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! I'm so happy to hear that you've resigned and are following your desires. I made a similar move a little less than a year ago and it's the best thing I ever did for myself. Best of luck to you. I'll be following along regardless of your layout, advertising, etc. Yay!

Megan said...

Congrats on the resignation! I remember the feeling when I resigned in March 06. Very liberating! I'm not a fan of the magazine layouts...they seem so "techie" and impersonal. I love how you have it. It's simple, easy to read, and calming. I'm sure you could edit your current layout to have more little details here and there with custom borders and design elements (perhaps in the aqua from your header?) but it doesn't necessarily need it.

Jessie said...

Erin,

SO proud, SO happy, SO inspired, SO excited for you!

Can't wait to see the new designs for the site (no matter how it looks), and I'll always be one of your biggest fans.

Thanks for being so encouraging and helpful throughout my creative endeavors, as well.

As I say, you are a GEM! We (your readers) love you no matter what!

- Jessie

JLC Studio said...

Wow!!! Congrats on leaving your job...I had no idea you did all this and had a job as well...you are superhuman!

I really think that your site as it is is terrific...maybe if you added a third column for more content? Otherwise, simpler is better! It's all about your fabulous writing and sense of humor anyway!!! Can't wait to see what you come up with-I'll read it no matter what it looks like (unless it's in another language of course!!)!

BTW---Let me know how much your ads will go for because I'm ready to jump on board!!!

http://www.jlcstudio.blogspot.com :)

elizabeth@shoptwig said...

I'd love to find out about your advertising - I'd love to get an ad on Design For Mankind! Congrats on taking a risk.