Version Two

When I released V1 back in March 2008, I wasn’t really con­tented with the space in which I was lim­ited to express my blog posts in both typog­ra­phy and imagery. At times when I put empha­sis on my writ­ing, I felt the font was just too small to really deliver any impact. Then there are times when I felt the pho­tos were either too small or too big for the con­tent — they just didn’t fit in.

Work in Progress.

Work in Progress.

It was then when I realised I needed a single-columned theme. My blog posts needed space.

Dur­ing the last exam sea­son,  the ‘design ideas’ part of my brain started kick­ing into high gear. Some­thing that never fails to hap­pen every time I’m in the midst of exam stress. All sorts of ideas started flow­ing in and thus, resulted in Ver­sion Two today, a mish­mash of most, if not all of the ideas that reached me in my rou­tine morn­ing shower.

And I fear, though I’d rather not acknowl­edge, that once I release this theme, some­thing is gonna seem wrong about it and I’ll be brain­storm­ing for new ideas to replace it before I even know it. But oh well. =)

So despite being just two months shy of Ver­sion One’s first birth­day, I decided to rush Ver­sion Two out. I started work­ing on the mockup on 30th Decem­ber, 2008 — the day before I got my dSLR. The 500 pixel wide pho­tos on my old theme didn’t do any jus­tice to the pho­tos I wanted to potray. So I took 6 days to com­plete the mockup before I started gob­bling up another week for the coding.

While two weeks might sound like an eter­nity to design and code a web­site, the time I spent on Ver­sion Two was eas­ily half of that I spent on Ver­sion One a year ago. =P

What’s New?


Okay seri­ously, there a few changes you might want to know. I’ve:

  1. Increased the width for the pho­tos to 600 pix­els and also made use of WordPress’s new image cap­tion stylings.
  2. Removed the side­bar and ditched most of its ele­ments, retain­ing some at the footer.
  3. Hid­den some con­tent at the footer for the sake of sim­plic­ity. These are acces­si­ble via the ‘more?’ link at the bot­tom. Try it!
  4. Added gra­vatar sup­port within the comments.

There also bits and pieces of shiny new stuff here and there that I’ll be leav­ing it to you to find out.


As you might have noticed, my port­fo­lio isn’t quite ready yet. I’m gonna post­pone work on that while I iron out a few more quirks and bugs in the theme, which, if you look closely are still present as of now.

I’ve also haven’t really iron out browser com­patit­bil­ity issues with the theme. As of now, I am fairly cer­tain that every­thing should appear fine in at least Fire­fox 3, IE 8, Safari 3, Chrome 1.0 and Opera 9.6.


by shenghan in Internet, Site on 12th January, 2009 at 3pm, Monday, January 12th, 2009 03:07 pm GMT +8


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  1. wying said

    wow. BIG.
    i need to push my chair fur­ther a bit to read ur blog. LOL.
    i like the header (or is it what it’s called?)
    bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous cup of.. mud, er.. teh C peng i mean. LOL.
    love you designs. nice.

  2. Looks good, Ember. =) I do rec­og­nize the font in the header, and I love the way you’ve made it seemed like a cof­fee shop nap­kin. Gor­geous visuals.

    Oh, and the gra­di­ent in the footer! Love that!

    PS: You may want Sans Serif for the footer text — Serif doesn’t really read well at such a small size.

  3. ember said

    @wying, You’re not far­sighted, are you? XD And yes that would be the header you’re talk­ing about. Glad you liked ‘em! =D

    @Eli James, That’s not sur­pris­ing if you do fol­low any of those design resource blogs, Sketched Rock­well was fea­tured quite a bit a while ago. =D

    As for the footer text, you’re right. It does a appear much smaller in Opera and Chrome (I’m assum­ing you’re using either one of them?). Fire­fox and IE8 ren­ders ‘small-caps’ a bit big­ger though, which is what I’m see­ing now. Gonna have to try to fig­ure out a workaround soon!

  4. KiAm said



  5. Fahriee said

    My god dude. Haha. You’re one tal­ented guy. Ey, how much would you charge for a full lay­out? Per­haps we can dis­cuss this eh? I’m clue­less when it comes to CSS. I can tweak it a lit­tle to suit my taste, but I sure as hell can’t churn out qual­ity lay­outs from scratch like you do. :)

  6. ember said

    @KiAm, Thanks! =)

    @Fahriee, It isn’t all that hard. I started off with a lit­tle CSS tweak­ing here and there of other themes too. I’m not really avail­able for free­lance work right now but I can cer­tainly help you with some CSS for your blog! =D

  7. teddY said

    I just realised the stu­pid­est thing I’ve ever done is to leave a wow-zer com­ment in the pre­vi­ous post with­out check­ing if there’s any update on your new theme release :D my bad!

    Any­way I’ve got to say that I love the clean, new one-column style! I’ve always wanted some­thing as sim­ple as this but I couldn’t ditch the side­bar bag­gage. My side­bar has too many clut­ter to remove, I guess keep­ing them there will be the best com­pro­mise, heh.

    I love earthy, warm colours you’ve used! I’m a big fan of this kind of colour scheme and it looks as if I’m din­ing at some vin­tage kopi­tiam sip­ping on a cup of tehcpeng… in a hot after­noon. Wooohooo!

    p/s: The stars you’ve used in your theme reminds me of Con­verse shoes, lol!

    • ember said

      @teddY, That’s totally okay, Teddy! =D I do that some­times too..perhaps you were expe­ri­enc­ing theme-shock! As in, when­ever a friend of mine revamps his blog theme I’ll get a lit­tle dis­ori­ented the first time I vis­its his new look. =P

      I agree! I think the tough­est part of this lay­out is fig­ure out what to keep and what not to keep in the side­bar. It was a great pain to ditch it com­pletely too. In the end, I closed an eye and left it out of my mockup.

      And I gotta LOL at that vivid imag­i­na­tion of yours! I didn’t really had that vin­tage kopi­tiam impres­sion in mind when I designed this but hey, that’s a pretty good descrip­tion — fits the look perfectly!

      Any­how, I’m glad you like the new look! Your lay­out was def­i­nitely part of my inspi­ra­tion in cre­at­ing Ver­sion Two. =D

  8. Katy said

    I love the theme! Did you write it from scratch?

    I’ve been think­ing of design­ing a one col­umn theme for my blog too but I have some infor­ma­tion on the side­bar I always want to dis­play that I don’t want to move to the footer. I just started design­ing a new lay­out last night but I’ll prob­a­bly be tweak­ing it for months to come so I prob­a­bly won’t be done for a while. Releas­ing a new WP theme is so time consuming!

  9. ember said

    @Katy, Hey there! I’m really glad you do, and yeah I coded its HTML + CSS base from scratch. Although I used Kubrick as a base for Word­Press them­ing and sal­vaged some PHP stuff from other Word­Press themes I’ve been using. I’m not much of a PHP guy, heh.

    That’s usu­ally the prob­lem! I’ve been stuck to side­bars for years now..they’re so use­ful, but I intended to push the lim­its when design­ing this lay­out. Not that there aren’t any sin­gle columned themes around, it’s just that I had that depen­dence on side­bars like you!

    And yeah, Word­Press them­ing is really time con­sum­ing! But once you get the hang of it, you’ll start churn­ing out themes in no time! I haven’t got till that stage though, for as you can see I’m still a slow­poke when it comes to WP themes. ;)

  10. cdason said

    Just gor­geous. I love your work man.. You should start post­ing free word­press themes online so that I can down­load and use em or FREE!! heheh

  11. ember said

    Well releas­ing a theme really isn’t that straight­for­ward unfor­tu­nately. =( I won’t rule it out in the future though, when I get more famil­iar with PHP, hehe. Glad you liked the new look!

  12. Came back to check: and woo yeah, sans-serif in the footer babeh! =)

    I’m await­ing fur­ther photo-related posts. Prefer­ably at sizes that fit the whole con­tent body. That would be AWESOME.

    *twid­dles thumbs*

    • ember said

      Actu­ally it is still the good-old Geor­gia down there, only that now it’s in ‘upper­case’ instead of ‘small-caps’. =D It’s ren­der­ing all well in all browsers now though, thanks for the heads up.

      Well I was think­ing of leav­ing that full-width imagery good­ness to my Pho­to­blog instead. Its still in the pipeline, as i’m still debat­ing to have one in con­trast to this exist­ing blog.

      Hrmm. ;)

  13. Rilla said

    This is amaz­ing! I felt the same as you when I made my first single-column blog design (the cur­rent one I still have up). Yours is absolutely awe­some EXCEPT, you’re using the same back­ground pat­tern in your header image as what I have in the header image of my new design (com­ing up later on). I hate you!

    • ember said

      Rilla you copy­cat! Hah! ;D Seri­ously though, I wouldn’t be sur­prised. That pat­tern I used isn’t all that obscure, maybe only in my part of the blo­gos­phere, which is why I didn’t mind using it despite see­ing its usage in a few of other designer blogs. It’s still very nice for a back­ground pat­tern no mat­ter how often it is used, don’t you think? :D

      And did I hear a new design? I totally can’t wait for it! You cur­rent one is already really sweet and awe­some! *crosses fingers*

  14. Nice new theme! It looks warm and easy to read.
    Btw, ember, I’ve fin­ish with the blog links and I’d like to inform that your tehCpeng is now linked from my blog (It’s on the more blogroll link on the sidebar).

    Thanks :) Keep blogging!

    • ember said

      Glad you liked it! :D And thanks a lot for the link! I’ll make it a point to update my links page with yours in it. Cheers.