Magic Lantern’s Makeover – Your Thoughts?

OK, so until I can hire a web designer (soon, I hope) to revamp the whole look of this site and make it as professional-looking as some of the other blogs I frequent, this will have to do. I got a bit tired of the old template, so I decided to mix things up a bit and give The Lantern a bit of a make-over. It’s not as dramatic a transformation as Eliza Doolittle, but it’s a start.

I would very much appreciate your feedback on this & get your thoughts on the new look. Please let me know if you like this design better or not – and why, if you have a moment. Is this layout easy enough to navigate around? Is it confusing in any way? Most importantly, I’d like to know what you feel can be done to improve the look of the site – in your opinion, what is missing?

Thanks so much! Your comments are greatly appreciated.

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22 Responses to Magic Lantern’s Makeover – Your Thoughts?

  1. Lizzy says:

    I like it, it does feel “clean”
    I think you should put that picture back at the top.. keep that as your “logo” or until you create a logo
    This print is definitely easier on the eye..
    good job all around 🙂

  2. Simon/Ripley says:

    Tis lovely, dear boy. Makes it all earth-friendly and junk.

  3. rtm says:

    I like the crumpled paper background, Peter, but I see John’s point about having a recognizable masthead though. I like your previous layout before, but I always prefer dark text on white background as it’s easier on the eye. And clean, neat look like this is always a plus in my book. Kudos on taking the time to do the makeover, Peter, I’m still behind on mine. The only I’ve done so far is register my domain 😦

    • Yours looks great and I like your theme, Ruth. I may change the crumpled paper to something having to do with film. I liked the layout before too – just got tired and wanted a change. Hopefully soon, I’ll get it looking how I want. Thanks, as always, Ruth!!!

  4. CinemaFunk says:

    Much better! Besides, everyone had the previous wordpress theme. This one is so much easier to read and looks so much better.

  5. Tracey says:

    Wow. Big difference! I like it. “Clean” is the first word that came to mind, which is good. I went and checked out a bunch of your blog buddies’ sites so I had something to compare with…but I won’t get into that here.

    I will say that I’m not really feeling the paper lantern. I liked the other pic of the couple near the bridge.
    The paper bag thing is okay… but what does it have to do with movies? Popcorn on the other hand…
    The little cartoon icons next to each person’s comment remind me of Pac-Man for some reason and since the rest of the site is smart and mature, I don’t think they go. But that’s just my opinion.

    How’s that for positive feedback?! Ha! Actually, I do have some good things to say and I will but right now I have cookies that need to be made.

    • Thank you, Tracey. I will change the crumpled paper to something movie-related, but not distracting. The avatars near each person’s comments can be changed – you can have your own pic if you would like. Just need to create a profile, which is quick to do. I think it looks clean too, and not terribly difficult to get around. I need to find a place to put a logo. The paper lantern was just used for this post, not to be used again. Has nothing to do with a “magic lantern” which is the old-style film cameras. My original logo showed that. Curious to know what you felt about the other blogging sites and how this one compares…..Thank you much for the feedback!!!

  6. Castor says:

    As I said in the previous post, this template makes it easier to read your content, I wasn’t the biggest fan of that bluish-greenish background you had lol. Your site used to take a very long time to load as well and this certainly has improved that issue. Not a bad template at all! Congrats for the makeover 🙂

    • Thank you much, Castor. The blue/green background was ok for me for a while, but I agree that this looks better. Next time, let me know when something looks “yucky.” 🙂 If I can get my site to look half as professional as A.M., then I will be a happy blogger!

  7. Pat A says:

    Looks good. Now I have to figure out where everthing is again Ha Ha !

  8. John says:

    From a branding perspective, it’d help to have a solid, repeatable, recognizable masthead- something that you can spill into your avatar/gravatar/whatever. The logo (I take it the image in your entry will be the logo?) should probably convey something film-related. I really liked what you had up there previously. Maybe there’s a way to incorporate it into the masthead?

    Clean is definitely “in”. Things like Flash are falling by the wayside because they harm accessibility across viewing spectrums (i.e. someone pulling up your site on a smart phone or an iPad will have troubles viewing it the way you want if it’s got a lot of Flash on there). A lot of design is becoming an off-shoot of the Apple look- lots of black, lots of lighter gray type, lots and lots and lots of white space, etc. You’ve got a lot of that going on right now with your top nav links, so that’s good. Also, to enhance ease of use, fonts that are available on most systems are “in”- for instance Rockwell is huge right now, and Helvetica/Arial are always a solid idea.

    The paper bag look isn’t bad at all but I’m not so sure that it adds anything (i.e. I don’t think it looks more visually appealing because it’s there). I think you’re on the right track. A textured look might work (a repeating crosshatch pattern) or you could always go with one very large photo background.

    Sorry, I’m a graphic designer by trade so I’m probably the LAST person you want answering this question. I hope that’s all constructive and not nitpicky.

    • No no, not at all – because you are a graphic designer, yo are the FIRST person I would want to hear this from. Of course I would like a film-related logo somewhere on the page, preferably on top where it says “Magic Lantern Film.” I would actually like to use a few B/W drawings of old-time cinema lanterns that I have. But WordPress is not letting me do that, at least not with this chosen theme. I wanted SOMETHING in the background, and the rumpled paper looked clean and not distracting to me. It isn’t meant to add anything. My avatar is of course, Woody’s Manhattan poster – but that is not what I’d use as my logo. You say it would help to have a repeatable/recognizable masthead….how is this done???

      Thanks, John. Not nit-picking at all. It’s all helpful.

      • John says:

        Here’s a link to the older image you had; I really enjoyed it:

        I wish WP would let you choose your own theme elements. There were a lot I played around with, and liked, but they didn’t have a customizable masthead (which it looks like your current theme is in the same boat; no customization on the masthead).

        Those old B&W lanterns might make for a good background. In the link to your old image, for instance, if you had the giant photo background, it could be cropped such that the lantern dropped just to the left of your blog info, and the spotlight on the wall would be just to the right. It’d take some monkeying around but I think it could be done.

        RE: masthead elements… I’ll use my own as an example (but please understand I do this out of no hubris as there are far better examples out there). On my blog, in the masthead, I’ve got my mashup of C3PO photoshopped into the eye-slicing scene from Un Chien Andalou. Then, I cropped the masthead down to just C3PO and the razor, and I use that for my gravatar. It’s a “brand”, if you will. So (hopefully/eventually/if I’m lucky) people will see 3PO with a razor next to his eye and think of my blog. Essentially it’s a way to link up awareness of your Magic Lantern blog across mediums (Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, wherever you comment). I bet there are some great elements out of those drawings that you reference that could be used in this way.

        I hope that helps. I’m a big fan of your content.

        • I like the masthead to your blog. It looks great. I think some themes on WordPress allow you to do this and some do not. I think it is different if you convert to WP.ORG rather than dot-com. And yes, you want to be able to create awareness and for readers to identify your website with a specific image. I could not agree more. Just having difficult getting that. I like the Magic Lantern photo I had and there are a few others that are great, that I would love to use as my logo. I’d even take the Manhattan pic I use as my avatar. Still tinkering. Thank you so much for taking the time to write and help me out. It is very helpful and appreciated.

  9. Marc says:

    I like the clean look of the page. Sometimes clean can look boring but here clean looks smart:) One thing I noticed with my “grey-o-rama” template is that by itself it can look drab, the more pictures you add the more colorful and appealing it will look.

    I also kinda like the paper bag background…is that a nod to peanuts at a Yankees game? Finally, the buttons on your header are slick. A good logo would top this all off but but I don’t really know where you’d put it:P

    • Thank you for the feedback, Marc. I agree that the header buttons look nice. I would LOVE to put a logo on top — but I don’t seem to be able to do so with this particular WordPress theme. The paper bag in the background I thought just looked neat. Wish I had a more profound reason for choosing it. I like that you said this looked “smart” — I figure if I use many photos and such, it will keep from looking to word-driven and academic. Thanks!!!

  10. Shannon says:

    I liked it before, it looks good now. You’ve come a long way, baby!

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