Website redesigns promise a fresh visual look and new features, but are usually undermined by frustrating changes and broken functionality. Redesigning from the ground up is also a daunting task for developers. I just went through a year of that at my day job. So I have been sputtering on how I wanted to redesign my personal site. It’s long overdue: I’m a running a default WordPress theme called TwentyEleven. Today’s breakthrough was I decided I don’t need to launch a full site redesign, I just need to roll the first update. I believe strongly in continuous improvement and I realized up until now I was treating my site redesign the wrong way. So I’m going to be updating this site feature by feature, section by section, often testing in production. So I am proud to share the first new feature on SteveClancy.com: a webfont.
People who work with me know I grumble a lot about web fonts (and everything else for that matter). I like a little design diversity but I find most don’t really add a lot of value over the defaults. They do end up adding file weight. Still I wanted my site to feel personal so I set about creating a font of my handwriting. It’s called SteveSharpie, named after me and the pen I used. I used MyScriptFont.com to capture my handwriting. It looked bad on the first try so I tweaked the characters a bit in Pixelmator. I felt pretty good about how it looked at that point, so I ran it through Font Squirrel and released it onto the site. It didn’t look great. So I downloaded FontForge and started tweaking the characters in there. Things looked better but the font was still very tiny on the site. I realized font-weight: bold was condensing the font (probably because my font has a single weight). I didn’t figure out how to do that yet, but I changed my CSS for now.
So that’s it, a handwritten font. I think next weekend I might take a stab at customizing the header a bit more. Over time the idea is the evolve the site away from a standard blog and focus on the various things that make me who I am. Until then though this is just a blog, running a 4-year-old theme, with a handwritten font.