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:

  • 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.

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