New website design and blog!

by Sarah Milcetic on January 7th, 2010 in Web development2 Comments

I’ve been putting off redesigning my website for months, but thanks to some inspiration from a couple of my friends, I have finally done it. Here’s the story of the long process that finally landed me with a new design that I love.

My Worst Client

Why have I been putting this off for so long? Because, how expected, I’m my own toughest critic and my own worst nightmare as a client. Alternatively, I’d like to look at it as a slow process of learning more about myself, how I want my company to be perceived and my working style, with a final inspiration from two of my friends that took my fledgling design from, "Um, I think I like it" to "WOW this is so me!"

Colors That Are More {Me}

I started trying to change my website almost a year ago, thinking that the burgundy color I originally chose (because I thought pink might scare away the guys) wasn’t really me. I replaced the burgundy with pink and made a few other changes to fonts and the layout. The site was undeniably girly and way  too Web 2.0 for my personal style. It just wasn’t me. I read a great article called Redesigning Your Own Site and I tried changing it up some more, but ultimately gave up because I couldn’t find myself in the design.

Then some big events in my personal life helped lead me in the right direction. I spent two months last summer in Costa Rica, where I took photography classes with a professional photographer. We spent 2 hours each day covering anything and everything photography related, from camera basics to fancy photoshop techniques. I’ve always been passionate about photography and this summer gave me the confidence to add photography to my professional repertoire. Which led me to the next design step…

I’ve never liked photos on a white background. There is something about the way a photo’s color and composition pops off the screen when surrounded by black. So, I started playing with the idea of a yin-yang type site; a home page with a black and white background and then two sections – web work with a white background and photography with a black background. It didn’t quite feel cohesive enough, so I took a break from the design again.

Home is where…?

Next, my husband Peter and I had started talking about the possibility of getting out of New York. I started looking for work and I had a few phone interviews with a web development firm in Colorado. When they asked me to come out to their offices, Peter and I spent a few days checking out the area to see if we could live there. Peter met with a couple of recruiters and we attended a networking group that was extremely organized and helpful. Unfortunately, I was not keen on the firm I interviewed with and there were no accounting jobs available for Peter either.

It was a little disappointing at first, and it was a little shocking to me how different it all seemed going there on business instead of vacation. I didn’t feel drawn to anything as we traveled to different cities and looked at all the neighborhoods. Peter has traveled for work in the past and wasn’t surprised at the difference the viewpoint can make, but for me it was a new experience. I started to realize that New York is more ingrained in who I am than I had realized. Which led me to the next design idea…New York is part of me and should be a centerpiece of my site design.

I subscribe to a lot of RSS feeds of designers, programmers, my friends and family and people who write about environmental issues. I remembered seeing a tutorial on how to make graffiti with Photoshop somewhere in one of those feeds. I envisioned "Designed by Sarah" grafitied on a wall overlooking Manhattan from Astoria (where we are located). Despite my vision, I got busy doing paid work and put my own site on the back-burner once again, until last night!

A Kick in the Pants

I was inspired by two of my friends, who completely unrelated showed me their new websites on the same day. One, my friend Jake (, wanted help getting the website he made himself out of iWeb and on to the internet. The other, my old roommate Serena (, asked me to subscribe to her RSS feed to keep up with what’s going on in her life since we are on different continents now. Both of their websites are uniquely them and very well designed.

This was the final push I needed. I scoured the web for that tutorial on photoshop graffiti. I added my logo to a brick wall and paired it with a night view of Manhattan through the Triboro Bridge (which I look at every day from my desk). Finally, the new design was born! Paired with black as the primary color, a cityscape and graffiti, the pink no longer makes the site overly girly, but instead adds a feminine touch to a darker, edgier design. Now I have to fill in the rest of the content and get it posted.

What do you think?

2 Responses to “New website design and blog!”

  1. Stacy Says:

    I love the new design!

  2. Serena Says:

    It looks amazing sweetums – congrats 😀

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