More thoughts on the redesign.

Hi guys.  I’m going to have to step away from this for a few hours, but just thought I’d give you an update on where we are with some of your comments on the redesign:

Re: the comments section

  • The pink lines are gone for the moment, but I think I’ve fixed the spacing/padding issues.  (Hopefully?)  I have a pending question at a tech forum for how to make the first level comments stand out more.  If anyone is handy with CSS and can figure it out, I’d love to hear from you.

Re: the fonts:

-------Sponsored Links--------

  • I’m bummed to hear that you guys don’t like Arial, which I actually chose because a number of fairly big news sites — including The Wall Street Journal — use it for their main body font.  I’ve made the kerning a bit wider, but let’s try to live with it for a few days and see how we’re feeling.
  • I’m also surprised to hear that anyone misses the old logo, or thought the one in Courier was more professional.  The current font, called Whitney Condensed, was designed by my friend Tobias Frere-Jones for the Whitney Museum.  I thought it struck a great balance between being legible, bold, professional, but still friendly.  (I was kind of expecting more pushback on the cursive font, a free one called Lover’s Quarrel.  Is that still rendering in Comic Sans for anyone?)

Re: the ads:

  • Didn’t add any new ones, honest, or make the current ones bigger.  I suspect it’s a layout issue (padding or margins or some such), and will look into it as soon as possible (but I thought the comments section was a much, much higher priority today).

Thank you for your patience, guys.  Change is hard, but I really felt it was time for it for the site.


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  1. On the font – I think one of the reasons I dislike Arial is BECAUSE I associate it with work, news and otherwise less fun websites than this one :) It feels very clinical and impersonal to me as a result.

    The comments definitely look much better to me (on Chrome). I liked the thin lines that just ran adjacent to each post in the old format – it was easy to tell where a comment appeared as to the comments immediately above it, but you didn’t get lost in a sea of lines. For the differentiating between new threads, is it possible to insert a horizontal line as the visual cue.

    Thanks for being so responsive, Kat!

    • Just typing this to see how it looks!

      By the way, I think I like the new logo.

    • Agreed re Arial! Maybe Helvetica for a compromise?

      • Press Chic :


      • Yeah, Helvetica is better. Also, I’m one of the readers who really dislikes the new logo; it gives off a too-girly bubblegum playground vibe to me.

    • Of Counsel :

      I wouldn’t have picked that font for the banner — too blocky. I don’t think the calligraphic font works with the logo. I’m also not a fan of Arial.

    • Personally, I’d go with Verdana rather than Arial for comments. It’s not my favorite typeface, but it was designed to be read on-screen and I think it’s better for readability.

    • This exactly!

    • I like the new logo. The previous one with Courier with the pink “shadow” looked much less professional. Overall, I think the site looks much better than before. The menu bar at the top looks neat and functional.

  2. Hi Kat:

    Thanks so much for all the efforts you are making to respond to our comments. Rebrands are always hard and I’m sure it will just take us all a few days to adjust. I do really like the adjustments you’ve made over the course of the day (and I, for one, am not bothered by the Arial!).

    As for the new logo, the font itself is very clean and attractive (and kudos to your friend for designing it) but something about it isn’t sitting well with me….perhaps it is the fact that the initial “C” isn’t capitalized? Perhaps it is the kerning? Not sure.

    • P.S. I also really like the juxtaposition between the very clean Whitney font and the cursive tagline.

    • I think I view the new logo/font as unprofessional because, however clean it may be, it just seems like block bubble letters, a la a teenage girl would write on the front of her notebooks. Not business-y at all, just childish.

  3. I like the new logo, Kat!

    Don’t worry about all the negative comments. It takes people a while to get used to change. Every time Facebook makes a change, people get up in arms, but then in a few weeks, they end up liking it. It just takes people time to adjust.

    You may have a few quirks to iron out, but you are doing the right thing to update the site.

    • Of Counsel :

      Actually, there have been been plenty of blogs on which I commented, “Good Redesign.” I don’t think I’m responding just to the strangeness, I genuinely don’t like it. I don’t hate it, and I read for content, not merely quality of graphic design.

  4. I think I dislike the new font because it looks sort of like something 8th grade me would have used as a girly way to jazz up a school report.

    Also, there seems to be a ton of blank white space all around everything on both the home page and the comments pages for me. Not sure if anyone else is seeing this, too.

    I agree with other commenters asking for some lines or something to break up threads and posts.

    Good luck with the redo!

    • I agree with this. On the link that you provided for your friends font, there seems to be background images and a lot of “fun” context, sort of like on a poster. Here it mostly looks teeny bopperish (if that’s even a word)

    • This. It makes it looks childish. But I love your content and all of the comments!

    • Business, Not Law :

      Agreed. The “corporette” looks very juvenile but I do like the script below it.

    • +1

  5. Anonymous :

    I like the new logo – I think it looks much more professional. I don’t love the cursive, but I’m not mad at it (as the Fug Girls would say).

    Thanks so much for taking all of the issues with the comments into consideration TODAY – that was some crazy-impressive turnaround, and it is nice (for me) that you focused on that because that is why I hang out here. I mean…check this blog like it’s my job, which it is not.

  6. SF Bay Associate :

    I like these boxes more than the pink lines. The new “c-te” font is kinda cartoon-y/comic-y to me. I’m not against it, but it does look like how I would have wanted to write on my book covers in middle school. I’m sure I’ll get used to it and that your design friend knows more than me… the 90s are back anyway, right? As for the cursive tag line, it’s ok other than the super-loopy h, y, and g. Would I have gone with these fonts personally? Perhaps not, but it’s not my website, its yours. And if you like it, then we will learn to like it too :).

    • Frou Frou :

      This. I think the redesign will take some time to grow on me. I really don’t mean this to sound mean or anything, but honest opinion? The new logo and font, to me anyway, look a bit juvenile and unpolished. Meaning, not at all how I want to appear in my professional life. But, like SF said, it’s your website, and we’re not going to run away in a huff. :)

      • Seconded to Frou and SF

      • Agreed. The new logo font reminds me of Charlie Brown, for some reason – it’s almost cartoonish.

        Much as I generally consider it to be an anti-woman pit of voles, Above the Law has, IMO, a very good site design and a strong visual brand. I would have gone for something more along those lines – sleek and modern, rather than…quirky? whimsical? Not sure what this is, but it doesn’t convey “site for professional, high-acheiving women” to me.

        • Agree with this comment.

          The comment section is MUCH improved!!! Thanks for tackling that update so quickly.

        • Anonymous Poser :

          Agree with cbackson’s feedback.

          Also, I attempted some web design just long enough to confirm that it isn’t something I am interested in learning/doing professionally. Considering the ways various fonts appear on different browsers (and different versions thereof) started to drive me nuts.

          Thanks for your work, Kat.

  7. I’m now getting these obnoxious ads that “pop-up” (not in a new window) and take over the entire screen. The ad automatically starts playing a video, which is bad for browsing while at work.

    I understand the advertising is a necessary part of this blog, but this is getting intrusive.

    • …. maybe you shouldn’t be browsing blogs while at work. These kinds of ads have been popping up on this site since I started browsing it 4 months ago.

      Kat, I love that you took the initiative to make a change. I think it looks great. I don’t necessarily think it looks like you paid some graphics design whiz to create it, but knowing what field you’re in professionally, I think you did a wonderful job! Clean lines are where it’s at for me. The pictures you bring in stand out more, and Arial is just fine for reading pleasure. I’m not here to look at fancy fonts, I have art/design blogs and Pinterest for that. I’m here because I work from home and want to know what’s appropriately fashionable since I don’t have coworkers to compare myself to! Thanks for all you do to make this blog great. :)

      • Also: I love the cursive font.

        • In the Pink :

          I do as well. I think the block font is just that; a bit too wide/blocky. Perhaps it takes away the feminine vibe of the name in general? Also, I think the pink outlining is less visible now at the end of the site’s name.

          This format for posts is easier for me than what it was earlier in this version C—R—-E—-T—E—.2 !

          Great going, Kat. I know it’s hard and I had a negative reaction to my website when the professional first put it up. But soon I learned it was my expectatoins and anyone who saw the site loved it because THEY had no expectations.

          Guess all of us here have had expectations!

  8. I think the tweaks look great :) Still a little bit crunched over to the left half of the page (on Chrome using adblock) but definitely looks nice and clean and easier to follow than the initial redesign. I’m glad the pink lines are gone and I like the back/forth arrows, although they do seem backwards. Thanks for all your work on pleasing your picky readers, Kat!

  9. I’m looking at the comments in Firefox and Chrome, and it’s much easier to differentiate the replies to comments in Chrome. Like some others said in the other redesign post, the gray borders that show up in Chrome to define a thread doesn’t show up in Firefox. (Haven’t looked at this site on IE.)

    I have no idea if you’re using tables or CSS or something else entirely to separate the content and ad columns, but I think the criticisms of the ads being too large would go away if you increased the overall size of the content (decrease the left margin and maybe the right margin) section.

    Anyway, it seems like the redesign makes the entire site load faster, so yay for that.

  10. Brooklyn, Esq. :

    This is one of the nicest site-redesign response posts I have ever read! Kudos.

    For the fonts (as a former editor, this is my bugaboo):
    1. The logo: I like the clean lines of the font and it is DEFINITELY better than the old Courier logo, but the font here is so fat as to appear cartoonish. What about using the same font but in “light” (or “regular,” if it’s bold)?

    2. I too like the juxtaposition of the sans serif logo and the curvy tagline.

    3. Arial is a really tough font. I think it looks great up to 10 pt in size (e.g., the default for Outlook emails), but once it’s bigger than that (which is how this site renders for me), its proportions get messed up. I didn’t realize the WSJ used it for their body text so I went over to check it out–it doesn’t look good there, either. For a very similar feeling, I think Helvetica and Verdana are slightly better than Arial when scaled up. That said, I think there are some cool sans serif fonts out there that would look better than any of those–but serifs are the best of all!

    For comments, your responses were lightning quick and you have already solved a lot of problems! I liked the pink lines, but any other way of making the head comment in a comment thread would be an improvement–I think we still need it. Alignment alone is kind of hard on the eyes as a way of differentiating.

    Finally: The site is great! So glad to have this community. Thank you!

    • Brooklyn, definitely ditto your last two paragraphs. I also think your input, as an editor, was very constructive.

      • Brooklyn, Esq. :

        Thanks, eek (I love your name, btw). I mean the “as an editor” thing to be more of an indication that I’m well aware my proclivities on these things are actually very personal and can become personal quirks/peeves, rather than being right or wrong.

        • Brooklyn, Esq. :

          I didn’t really finish my thought (think I need to go home…): Because editors are PARTICULARLY prone to font fetishism and other annoying traits. :)

          • TO lawyer :

            I totally read that as “foot fetishism”… I think I need some sleep :)

      • I understand and I hope I didn’t come across as sarcastic! I wasn’t meaning to be, at all. I rely on my editor friends to help me out and I always love hearing about what things skeeve them out (like fonts, etc).

  11. The logo looks unpolished. Not comparing it to the old but just looks something an 8th grader would have chosen for a myspace page, back when 8th graders used myspace. The cursive font screames DIY wedding invite.

    I would recommend taking a look at Design Sponge for a true beautiful re-design.

  12. I’m a big fan of serif fonts, generally. The logo I can take or leave. The logos in the “as seen in” section are looking a little fuzzy though – maybe higher resolution source images are needed?

    • applesandcheddar :

      They don’t look fuzzy on my screen (using Mac OS with Firefox).

      I have no problem with the font or the logo. I don’t think either makes this site look less professional. I think we’re forgetting that this site is a blog for women, and not a memo for work – it can be fun!

  13. Kat, I admire your responsiveness and thickskinned-ness to the comments about the re-design. I appreciate your willingness to listen, especially since this isn’t a democracy, and I am grateful for this community – I’m certain I’ve taken more than I’ve contributed.

    • I'm Just Me :

      Ditto to eek.

    • This x100000000000. Kat, at the end of the day, so many of us are just grateful that you’ve provided a place for the ‘r e t t e community to grow :) Thanks for working so hard to make this site what it is!

    • +3

      Thanks a million, Kat.

  14. I love this blog, and agree that there may be changes that just take me a while to get used to. But I really don’t like the new corporette logo at all – really grates in its big sterileness, and v. much hope that changes. other than that, thought your fast and pleasant and sheer responsiveness of the response to the comments was uber classy, and speaks loads about your management of this site. kudos, and fingers crossed that you change the logo.

  15. Katherine :

    Hi Kat, I’m a regular (dailyish) corporette reader. I’m kind of amazed that you’re taking comments on the redesign, but my 2 cents are: this font size/structure makes it difficult to actually scroll/read through posts and comments. It seems like only half the page (horizontally) is given over to content – the proportions are just off. I think blog redesigns are very common and to be expected, so I’m not anti-change, but essentially don’t find this format user friendly anymore.

  16. Left Margin :

    I still have a huge left margin that seems like a lot of wasted space. However, the lack of indentation between the original poster and the replies is my biggest complaint. FWIW I am on a Mac, Safari, and it’s really difficult to track when a new post starts and the replies end.

    • are you seeing the indents now? Because I do see the replies indented, and I am on Safari v5 on a Mac, so it would be weird if we were seeing different things.

      I see grey boxes as the header of each comment, and the replies are indenting just the right amount. So when I scan down the page i can easily see where new comments are, and follow threads of replies. I also think the font size for the Poster’s name and for the comments are great, although I also like serif fonts. ;o)

      And thanks again, Kat, for accomodating us!

      • Left Margin :

        I do see indents, they just seem so much smaller than before the redesign to the point where I’m finding it frustrating to read (daily reader). Ditto on the fonts. I do like the grey boxes – at one point today the first tier posts or whatever they’re called had a grey background while the replies had a white background which seemed like a great way to differentiate.

  17. Anonymous :

    I appreciate the feedback.

    But, the script font is the same one that crazy Pinterest decorating people use for “wall words”. You know, like those “inspirational” demands people put on their living rooms walls? “love love laugh”. yeaaaah not so professional.

    Also, that script screams “cheap wedding invitation” to me. Sorry.

  18. Actually, I find the font a bit hard to read. I have to keep getting closer and then farther from my screen, and adjusting my laptop. (Perhaps the letters are too close together?)

  19. FOOEY! I think I lost my post!

    • I didn’t do any websight redesign, Ellen, so if you’re having trouble posting here feel free to come comment on ELLENWatch instead. I have a few readers who are somewhat interested in your updates, and I wouldn’t mind knowing what’s new with you either.

  20. Friendly suggestion for text that has nothing to do with the redesign but a lot to do with readability: Single space after periods.

    Double spacing became unnecessary when we moved from typewriters to computers.

    • Single spacing after periods actually makes things harder for me to read. Maybe I just had old school teachers, but that double space got drilled into me pretty hard. I have trouble delineating sentences without the extra space, and if it’s not there it looks like a wall of text smacking me in the face. Ugh.

  21. My earlier post may be caught in moderation, but random comment #2: Earlier today you (Kat) had mentioned something about a new feature you hope to unveil soon. In the random off chance that you’re working on a message board, can I suggest making sure you have some strong anti spam protection? I feel silly saying that to a pro but one of the blogs I used to read ran against this problem and it sucked the air out of the community. There wasn’t spam on then comment threads but on the board all sorts of random posts started appearing and people left very quickly, which I’d hate to see happen here! End of speculative rant…

    • Hah! When I read that, I thought maybe Kat had landed a book deal and was redesigning the site to match up with her cover art. Something as mundane as a message board didn’t even occur to me. I was all, “Oooh, intrigue!”

  22. In FF15, the cursive font is is rendering as arial, and thankfully not comic sans. I don’t think there’s any way to make the font show in Firefox unless you host the font WOFF on the c-rporette domain.

    I think some of the comments you’re getting about white space and poor font readability come from the fact that the site CSS defines font size and margins in pixels rather than resolution independent units. The layout looks great to me on the screen I have, but it will look very different (and not necessarily good) to someone reading on a portable device, netbook, or high-end monitor. Your user experience would be more consistent if the site CSS used resolution independent units wherever possible.

  23. In FF15, the cursive font is is rendering as arial, and thankfully not comic sans. I don’t think there’s any way to make the font show in Firefox unless you host the font WOFF on the same domain as the blog.

    I think some of the comments you’re getting about white space and poor font readability come from the fact that the site CSS defines font size and margins in pixels rather than resolution independent units. The layout looks great to me on the screen I have, but it will look very different (and not necessarily good) to someone reading on a portable device, netbook, or high-end monitor. Your user experience would be more consistent if the site CSS used resolution independent units wherever possible.

  24. Thank you for adding buttons to click to the previous or next post!

    I’m with those who dislike Arial. I much prefer serif fonts, and I associate Arial completely with work.

    • I’m digging the back and forth arrows to the next and previous posts as well. Great addition.

      If you can get more delineation/padding between the posts – new ones and replies – that would help. I’m in Firefox 14 (updating right now) and Windows 7 – and it’s difficult on the eyes when doing a rapid scroll.

  25. I know some commenters mentioned the previous/next arrows seem backwards, but I actually think they make sense for a blog. Given that the nature of the format is reverse chronological order, the navigation is going to be “backwards” from a book. Maybe it would help though if you added the words “Previous” and “Next” underneath the arrows? I’m not sure if that’s possible based on your post and I know nothing about website programming, so it’s just a thought.

  26. It looks great!! Change is always hard. Take the criticism with a grain of salt. Love it.

  27. Kat, I TOTALLY told you about my diehard love for your old logo! Keep doing what you do, but I want stickers, dagnabbits!

  28. Sydney Bristow :

    Kat, thanks for changing the comment boxes. It’s much easier to follow now. I also like the next and previous post arrows, but I’m reading it on my iPad (using Safari) and the left-side arrow overlaps some of the comment text. It makes it a little difficult for me to scroll when I zoom in to read the comments. The only other thing is that only the left side of the logo is working as a link to get back to the homepage. Neither of these things is a big deal and I can certainly get used to them, but I just wanted to let you know the issues from another platform.

  29. I’m probably not alone in saying that I hate almost any kind of change. To paraphrase Holden Caulfield, I’ve long been a believer that somethings you should just be able to stick in a glass case and keep ’em there forever.

    BUT – change totally needs to happen in real life and, Kat, I just want to commend you on being so amazingly responsive through all this. We all have our opinions and I am sure it’s not easy sifting through some of the criticism (or dealing with all the technical issues), but just wanted to say how much it’s totally appreciated! You’re doing a fantastic job with this site. I will try to adjust :)

  30. Maybe I’ll get used to it after a while, but as of right now, I don’t like the new logo. I also don’t like how it’s pushed to the left. It feels misbalanced. If I didn’t know better, the logo looks like it’s the title of a post rather than the banner at the top of the website.

  31. Seattle Lawyer Mom :

    Love how I can see more text of posts and comments (it goes farther on my monitor now), and less screen real estate is going to ads. I get that this site is Kat’s income, but the ads were becoming way too much — it was like a 3″ skinny bar of true text I could scroll forever and read and the rest of the screen was hopping and jumping with ads screaming at me. Mostly pretty decent ads, but just too much of them.

  32. I like the redesign, agree that the logo is a bit cartoonish, but it is much cleaner than the old one.

    There is a lot of white space for me (Chrome).

    One WordPress add-on I’d’ve liked to see here is “recent comments” – especially since people may comment on older posts, but it gets lost in the newer ones.

  33. When I’m reading the comments, the left hand arrow (to go to next post) is partly over the comment text. It’s really putting me off reading. It might be because I have an iPad and not a computer, but it’s still making it really difficult. I love the font and logo, however.

    • This happens for me if I’m reading on my smartphone. But I’m not that bothered by it.

  34. Diana Barry :

    Yay, the indents are fixed!!!

    I would also prefer a serif font and NOT Arial. Garamond? :)

  35. anon in tejas :


    just wanted to say, don’t get bogged down with the negative comments on the redesign. people may not be a fan of it initially, but it’ll take some adjustment. don’t feel like you “owe” it to readers to please. this is your site and your brand.

  36. It is a little more readable now, but I too prefer a serif font. However, I very much appreciate Kat taking our concerns into account so quickly. Kudos Kat!

  37. At some point during the various changes to the comments, the way it showed up on Internet Explorer was that any replies to a comment were in a box (i.e., with vertical lines) together with the comment that it was a reply to. I thought this helped tremendously. The indent of the replies helps a little bit, but the indent is so small that it’s not that eye-catching until you start to get into replies to replies to comments, and then you notice it. And when there are a lot of replies to one comment, and with the indent so small, it’s hard to then see where the next comment (as opposed to a reply) starts. The box/vertical lines helped a lot with that.

  38. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I actually really like the new logo! Also, Arial is perfectly fine with me too.

  39. Kat, I like the redesign overall, and I admire you for undertaking it. Let me add my name to the list of those who don’t like the Arial, though. I know this is a blog and not a work document, so take this with all necessary discounts, but this article on Painting with Print explains why sans-serif fonts are harder on the reader. It also addresses some of the sizing / spacing issues that can impede readability. The Seventh Circuit has it on its website, and I refer to it all the time in my work.

    In the end, this is your brand and your blog, so thanks for accepting suggestions.

  40. Thanks for working so hard on the redesign Kat! I like the cursive in the subheading, loopy letters and all, and the juxtaposition to the “clean” fonts used everywhere else.

    I agree about the ads – I think they only appear larger because the content looks smaller (wider margins, narrower text block).

  41. Kat, you’re doing a great job, and thanks for being so responsive! I’m using IE, and the comments look odd to me (maybe because they’re centered in the page, rather than left aligned), and it would be great if we could get some sort of thin line around the comments that separates original comments from comments/replies. I’m not sure if I’m articulating that well, but a standalone comment without a reply would have a thin box the size of the comment and a comment/reply thread would have a larger box that expands to fit the size of the thread. But don’t bring back the pink lines!

    Good luck with all the changes!

  42. The text/commenting section looks wider to me today, which I prefer. Maybe I’m just crazy, but it seems better. IE 8, for reference

  43. There’s a space appended after every name before the colon in the message header like this one-
    Diana Barry :

    Kat, I dont care about the ads and such, but please fix the beginning of the message threads. I always keep corporette open at work but make the window small so that people dont think am spending a long time reading non-work stuff. Having a hard time trying to locate the beginning of this post.

    This said, we love you. This is just a feedback to the changes you’ve made to the site. This is no criticism whatsoever.

  44. Kat: Thanks for reading and considering commenters’ input. I think the comment section is looking *much* better than it did on day one of the redesign.

    Commenters: Thanks for not flouncing and turning the redesign into Gawkerpocalypse 3.0.

  45. Dessert Doctor :

    Although I generally can’t handle change, I actually like the new look of the site, overall. I have no objections to Arial, and the new logo is fun — which fits with my mental schema of this blog as being fun *and* really informative. I also have to commend you, Kat, on how incredibly responsive you have been to all the issues with the comments section. Your modifications have made it a lot easier to read as compared to the initial roll-out. Thanks so much for your hard work on this site!

  46. I like the entire redesign. Much more professional logo, too.

  47. The discussion of font has come up for me recently in a few contexts at work. Thought I’d pass along this NYT article about how people react to fonts and tend to “trust” the content more or less depending on the font.

  48. eastbaybanker :

    The font isn’t the problem. The logo’s scale and weight are too large/heavy for the subtitle. The logo also overwhelms the headers (Home, About, Contact, etc). Try scaling the logo down by 10-15%, and then increase the kerning (the space between the letters) of the logo. I really think everyone complaining about the font will like it once you adjust the proportions. Any font looks a little off when it’s too big.

    Also, in Explorer the G in overacheiving is being sliced off at the bottom. It’s hardly visible but should be fixed.

    I hope this helps. I’m summoning all those years editing the high school paper!

  49. Nice job, Kat, addressing everyone’s comments and concerns about the comment section. I think it’s much easier to read thanks to the changes you have made.

    I really like the addition of the large arrows that let you navigate to the next and previous posts … but am I the only one who thinks it should be right hand arrow = next / left hand arrow = previous? (I liken it in my mind to flipping pages in a book…)

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