Friday, August 6, 2010

Getting a Facelift

No, not me, silly. I figure I've earned the face I have, but my website and blog could certainly use some updating. It's been awhile since my colors and header were tweaked. While I'm terrified of painting my walls something other than white, I'm totally ok with changing the look of my online home.

My critique partner, Ashlyn Chase, has volunteered to bring a brush if I ever screw up my courage enough to tackle painting. And I got a similar offer I couldn't refuse from one of my online buddies. JennJ, a frequent commenter here, is a graphic designer and owns Sapphire Designs. She graciously offered to design a new banner for me.



Of course, that means I'll be changing some of the other colors to go with the new look. And I'm stressing over which of the colors in the new banner to pull out. (It's the whole panic over painting again.) I tend to gravitate toward the darker shades, but I wonder if lighter would fit the tone of my work better.

So I'm enlisting your help deciding on a background color. Here's the new banner:



Bet you recognize part of the Vexing the Viscount cover in there. And here are some possible color schemes to go with it:

The burnt orange certainly pops.



But before things fade to black in the upper right corner, there's a deep plum that's rich looking.





If I want a softer look, I could go a shade lighter with a dusky plum.



And if I really want to shake things up, going ultra light with a yellow/gold would brighten the palette considerably.



A softer shade of orange might also give the site a lighter feel.



And I couldn't resist trying to pull out the wine of Daisy's lovely gown.


Decisions, decisions . . . Help me choose! Or do you have a suggestion for a difference background color to pull out? (Excuse me while I bury my head in my hands and sigh. The possibilities are overwhelming!)

Which one do you like best?

And of course, if you have a friend with terrific color sense, please email them the link with the handy little gizmo at the bottom of the post. I need all the help I can get!

49 comments:

Shannon McKelden said...

I prefer the first one, the burnt orange. Love the new header! Very pretty!

Mary Anne Landers said...

Emily: Thank you for requesting feedback. I think the yellow or the dusky plum options look best with the banner you chose.

But if I might be frank, I think the banner itself could use some changes. I'm one of those pesky readers who wants to see the whole heads and faces of the cover figures.

Seeing a cropped-off illustration like the one in your banner makes me feel frustrated. Rightly or wrongly, it can imply that the work being illustrated does the same.

This is just my opinion, but a common problem in the visual aspects of romance authors' websites and blogs is the fact that they tend to be too dark. This might be appropriate if the author writes paranormal romances or dark romantic suspense.

But I also see it in the websites and blogs of authors whose works are considerably lighter. Their color schemes should reflect it.

Hope this helps. Keep up the good work!

Wildheart said...

Love the black with it. Lends a sense of sophistication and genteelness.

Amy Nichols said...

I'm torn between the plum and the yellow. There's a darker gold in the sunset that's really pretty.

I think that the background color should be subtle so that your name pops when the page is loaded. So if you chose the yellow (which has more contrast), darken and soften it to a gold color and see how you like that.

My mother is an artist. Can you tell? LOL

amy

Nancy Mirtle said...

Hi Emily,
I've just read the comments and I'm laughing at the disparity. I vote for the yellow; second choice: burnt orange.

Good luck making up your mind.
Nancy

Edie Ramer said...

My favorite is the dusky plum, and my second was the yellow orange. The yellow lightened the mood but the dusky plum was more lush and romantic.

Barbara Monajem said...

I prefer the burnt orange. Second choice is the last one, which looks good, but I'm not fond of purples.

Jane L said...

Emily,

I love the Plum, it looks rich and warm, more sophisticated, romantic! I do not like the yellow I am sorry I think it lacks luster, it is to sappy for me. I think your style of writing is not dark, but deep in history and romance. The jewel tones reflect that. Your personality leans more toward an elegant persona. JUST MY OPINION!!!

The banner is awesome! I

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

I think the dusky plum is more romantic and the yellow makes the mood lighter. :-)

The banner is beautiful!

Cat Schield said...

Gorgeous new banner!

I suck at making decision for myself, but for others I can make a decision. Here's my 2 cents. The burnt orange makes the banner pop like you said. It's also a little different that what you'd expect. I also like the dark plum. The black is too stark. The yellow and light orange too bright.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Choose one that won't overwhelm your covers. The background should be unobtrusive so our eyes are caught by your covers and not the background. I like the yellow best as it goes with both covers.

Carolynn Estes said...

I think they all look great, Emily! The yellow was my least favorite when I first scrolled through, but then I took a closer look and found it was pretty and appealing. I like the lighter colors because the banner popped more for me. The darker colors made the banner look darker to me . . . which isn't bad, just depends on what you want. I don't think you can go wrong with any of them.

I really like the new banner, too!

Helen C. Johannes said...

I like the burnt orange, but I also like the last two. The burnt orange "pops" but the last two enhance colors in the book cover and mesh with those.

Anonymous said...

here is something for you to think on:
red and the colors beside it on the color wheel-- yellow, orange pink; some red purples (plum)denote heat: fire; sizzling hot;the sun--Valentines Day--

Plum makes me think of richness; depth since it is deep color

Blue denotes coolness: water, the ocean,the sky; a blue room often FEELS cooler than a red one.

What do YOU want the colors on you site to tell readers?

marylou anderson

Sandy said...

Emily, I liked the softer orange color, but I say go with what you like best. You can't go wrong then.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

I'd have to go with dusky plum first choice, and plum 2nd choice.

Love the new header!

Caroline Clemmons said...

I like the first ones with red or plum best.

You have to paint your home something other than all white. Screw up your courage and try one room. Even one wall of one room. You'll love it.

White is blanco in spanish for a reason. Blank, blah, white.

Janet Kay Gallagher said...

Hi Emily
Your friend is very talented I love the logo and colors for Sapphire Designs.

Question: What is going to be put into the space with the side color?
Now you have Book Covers being advertised, Followers,Links, etc.

If it is nothing then the dark colors-Wine was my choice there, but if you put writing then you should go with the yellow/gold. This has to be crisp and easily read. Color-blind and eye problems need to be considered in your selection. Your site has always been an easy read, so I see you keeping that attitude.
Also the yellow/gold draws your eye to the yellow sun in the center of the picture with the gold name.
Hope you are having fun with your renovation.

Marcy W said...

What great comments today! Sure shows how much color means to everyone, doesn't it!?
I prefer the yellow, and agree with Amy Nichols who suggests making it more of a soft gold (perhaps just a hint of metallic gold on an edge ... that would make it richer, and a little sheen adds texture and a hint of mystery, IMO.) I also like the very bottom one, the wine -- which is dark enough, I think, to have any type on it be in white. (My legally-blind cousin has taught me that the easiest to read is white type on a dark background -- just something to add to the mix.) I like the new banner a lot.
And I love Caroline Clemmons' post ('blanco' equals blank, blah ... great!!), and second her suggestion to try color on just one wall of one room: such a good baby step. An accent wall in a bedroom (usually the wall the bed is on) is always appealing, and you don't have to share it with others in a more public space :-). Just pick a color from your bedspread: presumably you liked that when you chose it, so that should narrow your choices a lot right off the bat! Can't wait to see photos, but on the other hand, don't want you to take time from your writing. Would your DH do the painting ... just one wall??

Anonymous said...

If you go with the colors in the new banner, I think they set off the colors shown in the third one down the best. The yellow is too bright (for my old eyes) and the others don't quite match the ones in the banner as far as I can tell. The only thing I would request is please don't put light type on a dark background--it makes it too straining to read. Thanks for asking our feedback. I love your site now, but can understand you wanting to update it a little.
For some reason Google wants me to be anonymous. Can't sign in otherwise. Must be something I'm doing wrong...
Maurine

Ashlyn Chase said...

I like the next to the last one, Emily. Sort of a bright burnt orange.
I'll print my paint brush next time we critique and I'll try to pint the winning color on your computer screen.

Ash

Ashlyn Chase said...

"Print my paintbrush" and "try to pint?" LOL. Maybe I should try to type first!

Ash

Delle Jacobs said...

Hi Emily! Great new header!
Actually I like the cropped head type of images, but I agree that full faces are better for me. The cropped head may be trendy but I love seeing a handsome face.

I deal with these background color issues a lot when working on blogs and websites for people, and I have to say that while I love highly figured or pictorial backgrounds, the price is distraction from the center message. Sometimes they are just too busy. Also, although there's a temptation to perfectly match the colors in the header, that can sort of leach out the very color you are copying, and thus lessen its impact. Lighter colored backgrounds do work in some cases, but if you want your header and page to really pop, go for a dark color or a muted color. My favorite here is the very dark plum. An excellent complementary accent- an accent as opposed to a major element, which is what a background ought to be. You might also experiment with much duskier shades of these colors instead of perfect matches.

Good luck! I'm sure it will be gorgeous!

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks, Shannon. I'll put a tally mark in the burnt orange column.

EmilyBryan said...

Mary, I appreciate your thoughts. It's always difficult to choose something that will appeal to everyone. As you know, lots of romance covers are peopled with headless torsos. I believe the thinking behind that is to allow readers to put their own faces on the figures.

EmilyBryan said...

Wildheart--That's actually not black. The color didn't show up well in the screenshot. It's a very, very deep plum.

EmilyBryan said...

Amy--Good idea. My color sense is somewhat limited, but I know what you mean about the warm yellow. I know what I like. Recreating it is another thing altogether.

EmilyBryan said...

Nancy--I always say it's a good thing we don't all like the same things. Otherwise you'd all be after my DH! LOL!

EmilyBryan said...

Edie--Thanks for your opinion and thanks for giving your second choice too. It helps.

EmilyBryan said...

Barbara--Not fond of purples, huh? I must confess, I'm not excited about orange either, but Jenn managed to use them in a way that's appealing.

EmilyBryan said...

Jane--I'd never thought of yellow as sappy before. I like jewel tones too.

EmilyBryan said...

Jeanmarie--Romantic is what I'm going for!

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks, Cat. I appreciate you tell me why you like what you like and why you passed on the others.

EmilyBryan said...

Anonymous--Excellent point. The main purpose of the website is to highlight the covers of the books. I need to keep that in mind.

EmilyBryan said...

Carolyn--Thanks. I like something about each of the choices.

EmilyBryan said...

Helen, Thanks for bringing me back to focusing on my book covers.

EmilyBryan said...

Marylou--YOu're right. There is an emotional subtext to colors that speak to us on a subconscious level. I need to consider what my message about my books is.

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks, Sandy. If I go with either orange, I'm going to have to eat my words because orange usually has a high "ick" factor for me. But I've seen it work on other websites, so maybe it would on mine too.

EmilyBryan said...

Stacey--The plums were my first instinct too.

EmilyBryan said...

Caroline--I know I need to try a different paint color than white in my home. That's why I put it on my Personal 9 Month Bucket list. Early in my marriage, I made a very sad paint color choice during a time when we couldn't afford to do it over. I just had to live with the sick hue. It's made me hesitant to try something different, but I'll get over it.

EmilyBryan said...

Janet--The sidebar on my blog will still be white. The background will just be on the outside edges with no text there at all. I so agree that making the text easily readable is paramount.

EmilyBryan said...

Marcy--Good idea about picking a color from the bedspread for a wall in our bedroom. Only one problem. Our bedspread is . . . white!

EmilyBryan said...

Maurine--I agree about light type on a dark background. It's hard on the eyes. I promise not to do that.

EmilyBryan said...

Ashlyn--Sure a "pint" isn't to blame for the typos? LOL!

EmilyBryan said...

Delle--You're right. The function of a background color is . . . to fade into the background.

JennJ said...

I just wanted to say thank you for all the sweet comments on the header and my other work. You are too sweet. :) God bless you all. BIG HUGS

librarypat said...

I like the Dusky Plum or the next to the last one.
In response to Mary Anne Landers, I am one of those pesky readers who actually like the trend of the partial heads/faces. It leaves more to the imagination. The eyes tell much about a person, and there are things that need to come out a little at a time.

EmilyBryan said...

JennJ--You deserve the accolades, my friend. Thanks so much!

EmilyBryan said...

Pat, thanks for sharing your opinion on the headless torso thing. Always makes me wonder where the covers are headed next.