September 20, 2005

Happy blogiversary to me

Today is the Crusty Curmudgeon's second anniversary.

As always, my anniversary present to the blog is a complete makeover. I have been fascinated for a few years now with the Art Deco period of design, and so I thought I'd do a more radical rewrite than I have previously, and try and do something in the spirit of Art Deco.

Art Deco is the design period most strongly associated with the late 1920s and 1930s. Typically it features geometric forms and bold colours. The period was influenced by a number of sources, including primitive art, Cubism, Futurism, and jazz.

I have made use of a number of Art Deco typefaces in this new design. The orange text in the banner is Futura; headers are in Gill Sans and body text is in Palatino, if you have those typefaces installed. (I admit I'm pushing the Deco motif a little bit with Palatino.)

In my opinion, the Deco period represented the pinnacle of commercial graphic arts. The posters of A. M. Cassandre, for example, are practically works of art in their own right. In fact, it is Cassandre's railway and steamship line advertisements that are the main inspiration for the new header banner.

Later Art Deco is also called "Streamline" or "Moderne," because it was influenced by the streamlining techniques that came into vogue during the 1930s. This is the age of the Chrysler Airflow, the SS Normandie, and the streamliner. The streamlined look was so popular that even household items such as chairs and radios were designed in the same fashion (because we all know how important it is for your radio to have a nice low drag coefficient). The banner graphic features a shrouded steam locomotive based on the Commodore Vanderbilt of the New York Central Railroad, the first of its kind.

The site redesign is basically done, though I'm sure there were a few details that I missed. No doubt some tweaks, both aesthetic or technical, will occur here and there over the next little while. If you see something broken, please let me know.