After a week off, ManageWP gave us another AMA this week, headed by StudioPress founder Brian Gardner. Find him on Twitter @bgardner.
Gardner lives in Chicago with his wife and son and isn’t afraid to admit his love for Starbucks and Sarah McLachlan. People asked about Gardner’s decision to make themes minimal, how he decides on his next project, and as always, the future of WordPress.
Here are five takeaways.
Sometimes Change Is Good.
Gardner has switched up his blog design many times, and while he admitted part of it is because he is a “creative schizophrenic,” the real reason is to gather audience reaction. With each new design, Gardner gauges how his audience reacts to certain parts of a new design to find the perfect layout.
This works to build Gardner’s personal brand, which relates directly to his company. If you have a beautiful and well received personal blog, you can then use it to promote the work you do for your company.
The ‘No Sidebar’ Approach Isn’t For Everyone.
Gardner prefers a minimalist design, specifically one without sidebars. This by no way means every site should follow this guideline. For online magazines or businesses, a sidebar makes navigating the site and getting quick information much easier. Gardner explained that ‘No sidebar’ is more of a literal thing, and a way to keep the design from getting cluttered.
Always Keep Running.
It isn’t uncommon to hit walls in your professional or personal life, and getting to the next level can seem impossible. The answer may be more simple than you think. Gardner is a runner and compares this problem to “the wall” during a marathon. The only way to get over that hump is to simply keep running until the end.
If that seems too simple, Gardner offered another solution — take a risk. Whether it is big or small, changing things up can really breathe life into a project — refer to the first takeaway. Doing something different can really help things move forward.
The Future Of Drag And Drop Design.
It seems that companies like Squarespace, which offer drag-and-drop design options, are on the rise, but Gardner isn’t worried about that. There is plenty of room on the Internet for many different kinds of publishing sites and companies. The downside of a drag-and-drop model is that it doesn’t offer as much customization as something like WordPress.
That said, Gardner did say he would love to see someone tackle this sort of model for Genesis at some point in the future.
Inspiration Truly Comes From Anywhere.
It may sound like a cliche, but you can find inspiration anywhere at anytime. Sometimes it’s while you’re surfing the Internet, reading a magazine, or talking to a friend. But other ideas come from more unlikely places.
“Last year when I was (heh) taking a day off work and went sledding with my family, I saw a font on a sign on my way down the hill that I wanted to use,” Gardner said.
The moral is never stop looking and you’ll never stop being inspired.
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