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Maxvoltar - mid-2009

Maxvoltar is the personal weblog of Tim Van Damme, a freelance interface designer at Made by Elephant.

50° 54' 47" N, 4° 25' 50" E mid-2009

I admit, launching a redesign 2 hours before you board a plane to go offline for a week isn’t the smartest idea. But hey, have you taken a good look at me? Not the sharpest crayon in the box, as they say.

This really was a last-minute project. The design, HTML and CSS were already finished a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t had the time to give them some Textpattern love. Last week I decided to disable CSS so that would push me to get this redesign out. This morning, this sans-CSS-style-minimalism was still staring at me and it was getting on my nerves, so I started hacking away.

I’m well aware that some pages (including search, archive and the 404 page) are not even close to finished, and I can live with that (at least for the week I’m on holiday). The fact that it’s live means a great thing to me.

Not all (hmm, that might be an understatement) browsers have decent support for @font-face. I haven’t had any problems with Safari, but you might want to update Firefox to the latest version (I’m running Firefox 3.5.2). Or I’m a complete tool and made some schoolboy CSS-errors. Still need to squash some layout bugs in Opera (which has a new icon!!), but that shouldn’t be too much trouble.

Now that we’re talking about @font-face, I’d like to thank Veerle for linking to the beautiful Axel typeface a while ago. As soon as I saw it, and noticed you’re allowed to embed it on your website (see 2.2), I just knew I needed to redesign so I could play with it :)

Layout-wise, this redesign is another step in a learning process. With every redesign, I get closer to what for me (and the content I publish) is the perfect blog layout. I borrowed a lot from previous designs, like the fixed sidebar, the header, the about section…

On the homepage, you might notice the notes don’t float like something you can achieve by using CSS only. For this, I used the wonderful jQuery Masonry plugin.

I think that’s about it. I’ve got a lot of articles in draft mode waiting to get published, am working my ass off on various projects, and will be doing a lot of traveling in the upcoming months. Life’s good.

So, how are you doing today?

Update: I had to face facts that Axel is a lovely typeface, but not very readable. Another disadvantage was that @font-face takes some time to load. Thus the main typeface you’re seeing right now is Cambria, a lovely serif.


  • Andy

    4962 days ago

    Simply stunning — great work Tim!

  • Mike Piontek

    4962 days ago

    That sidebar is really smart. Well done Tim!

  • Andrew Cornett

    4962 days ago

    Yeah, totes genius sidebar! Loving everything about this design, really excellent work.

  • nnanochrome

    4962 days ago

    Great work tim!

  • Doug Vander Meulen

    4962 days ago

    Seems like an evolution from the previous site. I like all of the little icons sprinkled here and there are nice and make the site very cohesive. The @font-face through me for a loop. Love your work!

  • TJ

    4962 days ago

    Great work as always

  • twe4ked

    4962 days ago

    Amazing work, Tim. I love it!

  • Kai

    4962 days ago

    I’m good. I’m just wondering how you guys always find the time to redo your own sites. There are about 4 designs on my Mac that I – by the time – found perfect for my folio, but then a project came in between and when I look at it 2 weeks later, it’s just…. hideous as hell. What I’m saying: thumbs up on pushing out new stuff spontaneously. Not everyone gets away with it, but you can! :)
    Have fun travelling! If you are in Australia any time soo, gimme a shout. I remember you talking about NYC aswell. Let us now when you are going to be there, willya?

  • Samuel Vermette

    4962 days ago

    Your website inspires me.
    Keep up the awesome work.

  • Ian P. Hines

    4962 days ago

    Indeed… quite exquisite. Very sharp.

  • Tim Van Damme

    4962 days ago

    Thanks for the kind words all! Glad I was able to launch it before I left.

    @Kai: Don’t you know? I don’t sleep! Australia is still on my I-really-need-to-visit-that-continent-list, but I’ll be in NYC mid-September (14-21).

  • J-P Teti

    4962 days ago

    Nicely done Tim. Looks fantastic!

  • David DeSandro

    4962 days ago

    Tim – It’s great to see you putting the Masonry script to use. I’m happy to see you only employed it moderately, with a simple two-column set-up. A lovely re-design, once again.

  • mickerlodeon

    4962 days ago

    The sidebar is absolutely gorgeous. The way it rolls out from under the header is fantastic!

  • Eric E. Anderson

    4962 days ago

    Fantastic work as always, Tim. You are truly an inspiration to us all. Oh hai @font-face

  • Mike Jones

    4962 days ago

    brilliant design! once again, you’ve hit a home run.

  • Evan

    4962 days ago

    well, it IS a little buggy in FireFox 3.5 (comment form and coordinates at top are wonky)…

    but damn do I like the way the side menu logo slides out from under the header.

    genius. :)

  • Kean

    4962 days ago

    Nice work. Clean and simple, expertly done.

  • Sam Brown

    4962 days ago

    My man! Great work Crayon boy – see you next week for dCon.

  • Mattijs Bliek

    4962 days ago

    Hey Tim,

    Redesign looks good, big improvement over the old one, and that was already good. Have fun speaking at dConstruct. All the best,


  • Chris O'Donnell

    4962 days ago

    Love everything but the new font for the post body. Too hard on the eyes. The gradient above the sidebar is a nice touch.

  • Piotr

    4962 days ago

    Doesn’t work under IE6. Joking ;-) Great blog, stylish design. Greetz from Poland.

  • Cyprian Gwóźdź

    4962 days ago


  • Stephen Coles

    4962 days ago

    Beautiful blog design.

    I think Chris is right about Axel, but only because you’re using it slightly too small. Bump it up a couple of pixels and it will perform better. Axel is so condensed, your column width would suit a larger text size anyway.

  • Bannachan

    4962 days ago

    Love the new design, escpailly the newer/article/older buttons bleding in with the new fusion add design.

    The footer design blending with this form looks cracking too.

  • Christoph

    4962 days ago

    Really great redesign!!!
    Could repeat every word Kai said.
    Perhaps I should pull some more all-nighters to finish my blog redesign before dConstruct, beside my client-work. That was my goal a few month ago, but the site is still empty :-(.
    So, I’m still interested in how you manage the amount of work :-)
    Enjoy your holiday!

  • Joseph McLaughlin

    4962 days ago

    Looks great Tim! There’re a few quirks on my 10” Eee PC (partiicularly the fusion ad box, and the website box on the comment form), but I’m sure they look perfect on my MBP.

    Have fun at dConstruct!

  • alex

    4962 days ago

    Really great work, I think it’s one of the most beautiful blog I’ve seen for a while, a great mix compiling simplicity, ergonomy and fun.

  • Trent Walton

    4962 days ago

    quite a few clever touches here for sure.
    Nice looking header scrolls to reveal right-hand header (smart)
    Newer / Articles / Older navigation (real smart)
    Short URL (real darn smart)

  • Mark Nutter

    4962 days ago

    The aesthetics of this site completely match those of my preferences. Reminds me of Derrick Punsalan’s work, but more polished. Great job!

  • Kyle Fox

    4962 days ago

    Great work. Your completely greyscale website demonstrates the importance of composition, shape and typography. Quite inspiring.

  • Ian Parr

    4960 days ago

    Great stuff. I actually feel compelled to click those ‘newer’, ‘older’ buttons as they follow me down the page. A great feature.

  • Amrinder Sandhu

    4959 days ago

    Like everybody else, I like sidebar the most. I remember it from your last version of this site. Nice stuff! I am really impressed how you used absolute positioning.

    However I want to know about this comment form I’m writing in. What made you shift input labels to right?

  • Eric Caine

    4957 days ago

    Nice website! :)

  • Lee Munroe

    4957 days ago

    Loving the sexy sticky sidebar. Nice work all round

  • Daan

    4955 days ago

    This is just some awesomess. Really Tim, great work you’ve delivered here. I love it :D

    I truly love your sidebar as well :D

  • Eugenio Grigolon

    4952 days ago

    Really nice work Tim. Loved the way you worked with the gray. Perfect!

  • Daus

    4949 days ago

    You always come up with something unthinkable. I think that is the challenge of being a real designer.

  • Grace Smith

    4943 days ago

    Stunningly beautiful Tim, you never cease to amaze!

  • Paul Cripps

    4938 days ago

    Great design as always!

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