Sunday, October 11, 2009

The hottest blog on the planet not my own.

Just under two years ago, in my final year of undergrad, my friend Brutus unleashed his lovechild upon the world. At the time, he solicited my help in designing his Blogger layout. Always looking for bold new ways to procrastinate as well as opportunities to flex my creative juices and maintain artistic abilities with some semblance of relevant modernity, I agreed.

The name Brutal Turtle originates from an artificial intelligence setting for computer opponents in the strategy computer game Command & Conquer 3 - referring to computers that take the slow but steady approach, taking the early game easy and crushing you in the late game with overwhelming force.

As far as the blog was concerned, Brutal Turtle was my first brush with Google's Blogger, providing the familiarity necessary to entice me towards the creation of my own humble blog (in conjunction with a new website) in the summer of 2008.

Because of my only passing familiarity with CSS code, editing Brutal Turtle's layout was mind-bending as I tried to sort out which lines coded for what elements of the page. I began with a preset template called "No. 897" and from there began tweaking the colours and graphics. More sophisticated changes such as editing the column widths were verboten at the time, since playing with those had a tendency to disrupt the layout in ways beyond my corrective abilities.

I generated several versions of a turtle mascot for the site, which Brutus has subsequently used not only for the branding of the blog itself, but also to watermark his photos. Then, I applied a Hong Kong theme, adjusting the colour scheme to the reds, blues, and whites of the colonial flag.

While this Version 1.0 layout may have been an acceptable foray into the strange new world of Blogger, it was hardly ambitious and stuck close to the format of the original template. With Brutal Turtle approaching its two year anniversary, Brutus asked me whether Brutal Turtle might be amenable to some more character-giving changes.

I have to admit, it felt nice to be working on a project again. I haven't done any serious design work since putting together my website in 2008. Re-skinning Brutal Turtle would also give me the opportunity to put to good use some of the lessons I had learned while adjusting Chronicle's own minimalist layout.

Brutal Turtle Version 2.0 is very much a made-to-order project. While I can't really explain why Brutus wanted the new background to be modelled after an LV purse, I have to admit - it worked. The new layout is cleaned up, widened, and overall smoother. The colours took a long time to coordinate, with a lot of back and forth between Brutus and me. I arranged the colour scheme to emulate the reference purse; and while Brutus was initially cold to the idea of a brown theme, he reconsidered as it all came together.

The result of this collaborative effort is this: one of the sweetest looking blogs this side of the Internet (and if you don't think so, then... shame on you). Now I know what you're thinking at this point, so let me answer that question for you - cash only, please. /jk


shirls said...

I like ver 2.0 A LOT better than 1.0. It looks sophisticated.

Riona55 said...

It looks great! have any more time on your hands to revamp a second blog? haha! said...


Catalogue of Queens said...

that turtle's got attitude, don't wanna mess with him. regal with beady eyes. LOL, this is a funny looking turtle. For a minute, I thought you merged the Toronto and Hong Kong skyline, which would've been cool. It's still very pretty, I'm just saying. :)

sandlot said...

After seeing this, I would like to give you the opportunity of revamping my wordpress blog. Cash cannot be offered, but i think that my awesome friendship is much better than cash anyway. hahahahaaha.