Higher Ed Marketing’s minimalist makeover

Updated 9-30-07 — with capital letters. Thanks, Robert, for tweaking the CSS code.

So I thought I would change the look of this blog.

PRblogs gives users about 150 or so different templates, but many of them are over-designed. You can’t say that about this design. It’s called “Zen Minimalist,” and it’s by Joni Mueller of Pixelita Designs. Since this blog consists mostly of words and links, with the occasional graphic, I thought a cleaner, more basic design would improve readability. And Zen Minimalist seemed to fit the bill.

There are some other things I like about this design, too, such as the tabs at the top.


One thing I don’t like, though, is the template’s strident anti-capitalization. It’s just a little too humbling, IMHO. Thus, post titles now look like this (sorry, Shel).


That’s the price we pay when we go for trendy web 2.0 minimalism, isn’t it? at least e.e. cummings would be pleased.

But what about you? What do you think? Love it? Hate it? Discuss.


Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

10 thoughts on “Higher Ed Marketing’s minimalist makeover”

  1. I love it. I really do like minimalist themes, despite my frequent use of those that are anything but minimalist.

    Keep it. It is easy to read and loads fast.


  2. Congrats and shaking things up! Takes nerve. I won’t make any “name change” jokes. I like the “floating on a white background” look. A lot.

    I didn’t notice the tabs until I read your posting explaining the redesign.

    I don’t see the point of not having caps. Really….Overall, though, it looks good!

  3. robert, andy – i appreciate the feedback.

    robert – i know how easy it is to fall into the anti-minimalist, “clutter” trap. it happens to me all the time. if only life were as easy as a template change, eh?

    andy – as for the tabs, you’re right. they aren’t too noticeable, not too intrusive – but that’s one of the things i like about them. thanks also for sparing me the name change jokes. ;)

  4. Andy,

    I like the minimalist look (although a bit of orange would really look good here and there ;-)

    What I don’t like too much is the color for the title of the blog and the posts – that gray looks like it’s the last thing people should see, when it isn’t. Actually, the “rollover” color for both types of titles should be their default color.

    Can you edit the css file of your template at prblogs? If it’s possible, I’d be happy to help you implement my suggestion (and change the lowercase default for the post titles).

  5. Karine – I was afraid you’d notice the definite absence of orange.

    Unfortunately, I cannot edit the CSS file but I will talk to Robert to see if he can help me out.

    Last night I was looking at this site on my Treo and the funny thing is, all the capitalizations were there on the cell phone. That’s the place where I’d think lowercase would be more acceptable. Guess I need to go back and properly capitalize any new posts, lest cell phone viewers think I’ve become lazy.

    Thanks for the input, everyone.

  6. Hey Andrew,

    I’ve changed the lowercase setting in the CSS. If you know what color you’d like to have for your story title’s, let me know and I’ll change that, too.

    The six character hexidecimal code is what I’ll need. As in #8e2323 is maroon. Or, if you don’t have those codes, just point me to an image with the color you like and I’ll get the code from that and make it your title color.

  7. Am I the only one for whom the right edge of this textarea (the one into which we type comments) hangs over the edge of the center column a bit? It seems to do this both in Firefox and IE 7.0.

    Of course, I spent several hours wrestling with CSS this weekend so I know how frustrating it is to make it all work well. I just looked at my webpage in IE for the first time since monkeying with the CSS and I’ve got a few glaring problems to track down and fix… :(

  8. I was on an ee cummings role at the time, I apologize. I am revamping this template to play nice with this latest permutation of WordPress. I believe I will incorporate Karine’s suggestion for a color change. My favorite red is actually #E80000, or the web safe version, #cc0000 (or #c00).

    Contact me and I’ll see that you get the improved version the minute I’m ready to unleash it.

    Joni Mueller
    Pixelita Designs LLC

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