A new beginning, same old, same old

Gabriel Lellouche + "s Avatar

by Gabriel Lellouche

new logo design

For those of you that don't know, which as far as I know is everybody that has ever existed thus far, I recently completely redesigned my website. Why did I do this? general anedonia to all other topics, but also because I think creating your personal image is something that anybody can, and has an interest in doing, we all want to show some version of ourselves, for some this is an ideal version; the best friend, the smart one, the good employee.


For me I decided the initial design was a reflection of me in a pretty bad way, the site felt like it was trying too hard to be something it wasn't, and the constant flux and (un)'inspired' design only made it more bland, it failed to send any sort of message or convey anything of value about me.

So, when I finally sat down and got into figma properly I figured what's a better first case study and project than myself? I took the opportunity to first visualize something that I liked, and then work to understand why, and how to implement it. So what did I come up with?

Well, I would describe the new design as more bold, larger, with a more sincere tone and outlook, mirroring my own. I wanted a site that spoke the way I did. The design was definitely inspired, but I decided the best place to get inspired is to just find websites whose designs I liked, 'break them into components' - understand what I liked about them and why, and find ways to implement similar feelings in my own website. the powerful contrast an absolute #000 black gives really helps make the navigtion (Header and Footer) stand out, a full screen mobile menu gave me more room to play with animation and layout, a bold wide heading font really spoke to me (unfortunately due to next/font and next 13 as a whole it seems that font won't speak to anyone else).


In terms of more developer-y things I started off with next 13, because I liked Next.js, I felt it was the best way to develop with react, with tons of useful features that didn't compromise on developer experience.

I don't like next 13 too much tho.

Why? well its a massive shift from just one version prior, and despite being in the works for months now and 'stable', feels barely more than beta. It strikes me as a very modern, corporate approach to creating a product, that is to say releasing it as soon as possible just so you can tell your shareholders you did, and then slowly working to iron out the issues and inconsistencies. Mostly a lot of obtuse, seemingly needless changes to directories, hierarchies and naming schemes, but also stuff that just straight up doesn't work right, as I eluded to earlier, this maybe the first time I can't get a font to load on a deployed project. In an attempt to make everything as 'magical' as possible (call it streamlined, optimized, easier) they basically shunted any alternatives, so now you can't manually import a font in the head(there is no more head, that's deprecated) nor in the css.

Some things are nicer, mainly anything that has to do with backend stuff, I decided to use sanity for this blog now and bringing it in was probably the most painless experience I've had with a third party solution in a while. Integration was super smooth and swift, and with server components a lot of tiresome get-thing-props boilerplate got cut out. However its worth noting that the industry is moving as a whole towards server-rendered, and you could probably find equal convenience with other frameworks, in fact most of the credit here is to sanity, who floored me with their seemless integration which did all the boring stuff for me.

So why did I use next 13 instead of something like astro? simple, because I am guilty of the exact same thing I accused them of, I really did not want to delay releasing this website for another week or two while I transitioned to a completely new framework that doesnt seem to support things like state or css modules, but hey I'm one guy sick of procrastinating, whats their excuse? do I sound bitter? I kind of am, I really enjoy coding with react, something so modular and free about it, but with every new feature or release it seems like we're either moving backwards, or being forced to 'fall in line' with what the nebulus industry deems super important.

In the end of the day what I'm trying to say is, fix your font library, its unacceptable.