A Sunday with no other commitments and a big chance to get in some serious work, so today was nominated the big blog theme design day. I figured that since I’m no graphic designer this would take a lot of time due to trial and error and googling for tips and techniques. I was right.

I started with the colour sheme: Primary red plus black and white are common design colours on chopstick wrappers in the Japanese and other Asian restaurants I frequent so I wanted these as the main scheme. In my mind, I had the image of the Sushigami name and the blog sub-title in primary red in a font with a Japanese feel to it, one with sans serif and a block-like look. I chose a font called Kozuka Gothic Pro that I initially selected it due to its name but then i discovered it was exactly the font I had in mind. Nice piece of luck.

I wanted a banner image of my turtle chopstick rest so I extracted – using Photoshop’s Filter/Extract command — an image from one of the photos I took on Thursday. The lightning on the photo was poor so I had to fiddle with the image brightness to get Extract to do a decent job. After I had cleaned up the image with the history brush and the eraser I was reasonably happy with it, but unfortunately the strong colours of the bento box and chopsticks I had used as props in the image were not quite right for the feel I wanted, so I decided to convert the image to greyscale. I figured this was just right to work with the primary red for the Sushgami wording. I had to play a little bit with the contrast/brightness/curve adjustments to get the right feel to the greyscale as the image was a little too in-your-face and I wanted a more muted feel. I eventually had to do this last segment twice since, the first time through, I flattened the image as I switched to grayscale and when I adjusted the curves it changed the colour of the background. So I redid the grayscale but didn’t flatten the image so that only the image and not the background was affected by the curve adjustments.

I looked for a WordPress theme using the Alex King Theme Browser and decided that Connections was probably the closest to what I wanted. I’d need to change the fonts, colours and images but the general layout looked right. In the end these changes took much longer than I anticipated especially try to map the many colours used in the original scheme. I eventually used a program called ColourImpact to get a bettter understanding of the colour scheme.

The final result is still a work in progress. I’ve decided to let it grow on me for a while before I make any upgrades. So now the site has an official face I can start to add the back posts from the beginning of the project.