This blog’s new title heading

In the midst of all of the talk about Redeemed Rambling’s critique of the appearance of this blog, the consensus that this blog has a good design really, the addition of Cranach’s seal with its many variations, the minor suggestions that people put forward, and the tweaks that Stewart implemented, commenter Tom Hering–who knows a thing or two about design–was kind enough to design some other possible headings for the title of this blog.  I really liked the one with quasi-medieval lettering and the colorful version of Cranach’s seal.   I also like how it adds a touch of color–antiquated parchment color–without taking away from the clear black on white posts.  So Stewart put it up.

So what does Cranach’s seal mean?  It’s very simple, if we go by the original intention:  It means Lucas Cranach!  The device of the winged serpent bearing a ring is part of his coat of arms, as awarded by Frederick the Wise.   Knights had their coats of arms on their shields, and Kings used them on their royal seals.   The Kings of England had three lions.  The Holy Roman Emperors had a two-headed eagle.  Shakespeare’s was a shield with a diagonal spear, which presumably could be shaken.  Middle class types, such as Shakespeare and Cranach, could be granted a heraldic seal in recognition of their services or contributions, and they were typically very proud of that sign of semi-nobility and used it everywhere they could.  So Cranach signed his paintings with his device, which existed in many different forms, from the realistic to the abstract.  This one has the most artistic elements, in my opinion.

So the seal simply means Lucas Cranach and was the equivalent of his signature.  What is its derivation?  That is another question, which was discussed in last Friday’s post.  Was it a multi-language pun on his name, as one expert suggests?  Was it based on a symbol for artists, combined with one for speed, as another expert suggests, building on Cranach’s reputation as a really fast worker?  Was it an alchemical symbol?  A symbol for redemption?  I don’t know.  I’m waiting to hear from John Warwick Montgomery, who has agreed to weigh in on the matter and who has  published scholarship on how during the Reformation alchemical symbols for chemical transformations were used to symbolize spiritual transformations.

Anyway, thanks to Tom for the design.   How do you like it?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    It looks great. Kudos to everyone who made suggestions.

  • SKPeterson

    It looks great. Kudos to everyone who made suggestions.

  • Terry

    Like the white background and black not grey text. Good job.

  • Terry

    Like the white background and black not grey text. Good job.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    It’s cool, but the serpent has a kind of wicked grin to his face. Creeps me out if I look at it for too long.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    It’s cool, but the serpent has a kind of wicked grin to his face. Creeps me out if I look at it for too long.

  • Dan Kempin

    Like the new look. Seems to convey deep and ancient meaning.

    (Plus, for some reason the serpent is evocative of swiper the fox.)

  • Dan Kempin

    Like the new look. Seems to convey deep and ancient meaning.

    (Plus, for some reason the serpent is evocative of swiper the fox.)

  • Amy

    I like that you changed the sides to gray, and I like having the seal and the header, but if I’m going to be nitpicky I actually don’t like the brown. I feel like it’s a little disjointed. Something a bit darker and cooler would work, I think — maybe the chocolate brown you have as the background for your NRP button, or a grayish-navy color. Or alternatively, maybe choose a warmer color for the sides (instead of the gray). But I’m being completely nitpicky. It’s not a huge thing.

  • Amy

    I like that you changed the sides to gray, and I like having the seal and the header, but if I’m going to be nitpicky I actually don’t like the brown. I feel like it’s a little disjointed. Something a bit darker and cooler would work, I think — maybe the chocolate brown you have as the background for your NRP button, or a grayish-navy color. Or alternatively, maybe choose a warmer color for the sides (instead of the gray). But I’m being completely nitpicky. It’s not a huge thing.

  • Tom Hering

    Abby, you see the sides as gray? I still see them as black. (I’ve checked my settings and can’t find anything that would account for this.)

  • Tom Hering

    Abby, you see the sides as gray? I still see them as black. (I’ve checked my settings and can’t find anything that would account for this.)

  • Tom Hering

    Oops. I meant “Amy.” Sorry. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Oops. I meant “Amy.” Sorry. :-)

  • SKPeterson

    I have them as grey also. Kind of a darker, charcoal shade, but definitely grey and not black.

  • SKPeterson

    I have them as grey also. Kind of a darker, charcoal shade, but definitely grey and not black.

  • WebMonk

    Tom, you can check out the code if you like – 3D3D3D, not black. Depending on what your screen is like, though, the severity of the dark grey may appear like black, but there’s nothing a website can do with an “off” screen. (at least not without crazy levels of coding) I like the charcoal grey color better than the black.

    I’m with Amy that the brown header graphic doesn’t seem to be integrated with the rest of the site’s color scheme. Obviously one could adjust the side colors or the top header.

    Experiment.

  • WebMonk

    Tom, you can check out the code if you like – 3D3D3D, not black. Depending on what your screen is like, though, the severity of the dark grey may appear like black, but there’s nothing a website can do with an “off” screen. (at least not without crazy levels of coding) I like the charcoal grey color better than the black.

    I’m with Amy that the brown header graphic doesn’t seem to be integrated with the rest of the site’s color scheme. Obviously one could adjust the side colors or the top header.

    Experiment.

  • Katie

    I really like the design! I might agree about the brown not quite fitting, but it’s not a huge deal. The only other thing are the words “Christianity, Culture, Vocation” at the bottom look a little blurry to me. Do those words look blurry to anyone else? I don’t have the most sophisticated computer so it could just be mine. – But I really do love the design! It’s a good look!

  • Katie

    I really like the design! I might agree about the brown not quite fitting, but it’s not a huge deal. The only other thing are the words “Christianity, Culture, Vocation” at the bottom look a little blurry to me. Do those words look blurry to anyone else? I don’t have the most sophisticated computer so it could just be mine. – But I really do love the design! It’s a good look!

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Yes, those words are a bit blurry.

    I do the like the overall look. Nice job!

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Yes, those words are a bit blurry.

    I do the like the overall look. Nice job!

  • helen

    Keep the header as is (before it turns into a camel)!

  • helen

    Keep the header as is (before it turns into a camel)!

  • Tom Hering

    “So the seal simply means Lucas Cranach …”

    Yes, all we can say about the image is that it’s Cranach’s seal. And that Cranach – who depended on the exaggerated reports brought back by 16th century explorers – didn’t know what seals look like. Arf arf arf! :-)

  • Tom Hering

    “So the seal simply means Lucas Cranach …”

    Yes, all we can say about the image is that it’s Cranach’s seal. And that Cranach – who depended on the exaggerated reports brought back by 16th century explorers – didn’t know what seals look like. Arf arf arf! :-)

  • Stephen

    I like the new banner, but I agree that the side bars could be brown to match the color scheme.

    Since we’re trying to make it easier on the eye, I’m still wondering why that image of Cranach looks so reddish/orange. Is there a better version available? At least maybe outline it in brown as well. It sort of glows. A thought.

  • Stephen

    I like the new banner, but I agree that the side bars could be brown to match the color scheme.

    Since we’re trying to make it easier on the eye, I’m still wondering why that image of Cranach looks so reddish/orange. Is there a better version available? At least maybe outline it in brown as well. It sort of glows. A thought.

  • Tom Hering

    Okay, here’s a mock-up incorporating all your very good suggestions:

    https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B0LY_IA6TPrIYTBiYzIwNWQtM2NjYS00NmU4LWFmZDgtNzcwYmQ3MTI1YjI3&hl=en

    I’ve altered the header slightly (making it appear more edge-to-edge), changed the color of the sides to dark brown, and color-corrected the Cranach self portrait, adding a matching frame. It’s not shown, but I’d also crop “Christianity …” off the bottom of the header (the words are part of the low-res image, which is why they look blurry) and replace them with actual text (same font, same color) so they’d look sharp.

    Like it? Not like it?

  • Tom Hering

    Okay, here’s a mock-up incorporating all your very good suggestions:

    https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B0LY_IA6TPrIYTBiYzIwNWQtM2NjYS00NmU4LWFmZDgtNzcwYmQ3MTI1YjI3&hl=en

    I’ve altered the header slightly (making it appear more edge-to-edge), changed the color of the sides to dark brown, and color-corrected the Cranach self portrait, adding a matching frame. It’s not shown, but I’d also crop “Christianity …” off the bottom of the header (the words are part of the low-res image, which is why they look blurry) and replace them with actual text (same font, same color) so they’d look sharp.

    Like it? Not like it?

  • M Burke

    central section is too thin.

  • M Burke

    central section is too thin.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I like the mockup. Tom. What do the rest of you think?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I like the mockup. Tom. What do the rest of you think?

  • Abby

    Is the top going to be cropped the way it is shown? I would like to see the complete header like the present one without cutting down into the letters. Just my opinion. Colors look good.

  • Abby

    Is the top going to be cropped the way it is shown? I would like to see the complete header like the present one without cutting down into the letters. Just my opinion. Colors look good.

  • Tom Hering

    Abby, no, the top of the header wouldn’t be cropped. I just scrolled down a bit for the mock-up, because I wanted Lucas to be able to breathe through his nose. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Abby, no, the top of the header wouldn’t be cropped. I just scrolled down a bit for the mock-up, because I wanted Lucas to be able to breathe through his nose. :-)

  • Katie

    I wish I could just write that I love the mock up because I hate to frustrate anyone! But since Dr. Veith asked what we think… I think that color brown is too much when it is added to the side. Could the designed header change color to match the charcoal side bar that is here currently or not? I think the charcoal side bar is great. But if you choose to go with the mock up I wouldn’t be turned off or anything; I just don’t think that it’s quite it yet – the design is awesome, maybe just a darker color scheme.

  • Katie

    I wish I could just write that I love the mock up because I hate to frustrate anyone! But since Dr. Veith asked what we think… I think that color brown is too much when it is added to the side. Could the designed header change color to match the charcoal side bar that is here currently or not? I think the charcoal side bar is great. But if you choose to go with the mock up I wouldn’t be turned off or anything; I just don’t think that it’s quite it yet – the design is awesome, maybe just a darker color scheme.

  • Abby

    The colors you have right now are really nice–like a dark tan leather look. Just to play a little, I was trying to envision the sides being the color of the upper right corner of the header? Which would be much lighter. I can’t see it quite in my mind’s eye. You could tell better by seeing it on screen. I just wondered if you experimented with that?

  • Abby

    The colors you have right now are really nice–like a dark tan leather look. Just to play a little, I was trying to envision the sides being the color of the upper right corner of the header? Which would be much lighter. I can’t see it quite in my mind’s eye. You could tell better by seeing it on screen. I just wondered if you experimented with that?

  • http://blog.captainthin.net/ Captain Thin

    For what it’s worth, I quite like the mock-up. It eliminates some of the unnecessary bright white around the edges, while retaining the black-on-white text that the majority of readers seemed to favour. The mock-up has my vote!

  • http://blog.captainthin.net/ Captain Thin

    For what it’s worth, I quite like the mock-up. It eliminates some of the unnecessary bright white around the edges, while retaining the black-on-white text that the majority of readers seemed to favour. The mock-up has my vote!

  • Tom Hering
  • Tom Hering
  • Tom Hering
  • Tom Hering
  • Abby

    Tom, I like yours better than mine or Katie’s. Mine looks too pink. I thought there would be more yellow in it. Your brown looks much better–warmer. Thanks for showing it though.

  • Abby

    Tom, I like yours better than mine or Katie’s. Mine looks too pink. I thought there would be more yellow in it. Your brown looks much better–warmer. Thanks for showing it though.

  • Abby

    Here’s an example with no side bars: http://advance2011.com/

  • Abby

    Here’s an example with no side bars: http://advance2011.com/

  • Tom Hering

    Pink? I just reset my monitor’s colors to factory default yesterday, and I see a light yellow cream. Anyone else see pinkish sides in the mock up @ 23?

  • Tom Hering

    Pink? I just reset my monitor’s colors to factory default yesterday, and I see a light yellow cream. Anyone else see pinkish sides in the mock up @ 23?

  • Katie

    Yep, the one for me is too dark. My favorite is the one for Abby @23! I don’t see pink at all. That one looks great!

  • Katie

    Yep, the one for me is too dark. My favorite is the one for Abby @23! I don’t see pink at all. That one looks great!

  • Abby

    Well–it must be my monitor that’s off then!

  • Abby

    Well–it must be my monitor that’s off then!

  • Booklover

    Well, Tom, since you’re making custom mock-ups for all these chickies, I want mine red like a shiny new Dodge Ram Truck.

    JK

  • Booklover

    Well, Tom, since you’re making custom mock-ups for all these chickies, I want mine red like a shiny new Dodge Ram Truck.

    JK

  • Tom Hering
  • Tom Hering
  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Oh, Tom. That actually looks like my red Ford Ranger! Except for the wings. And the crown.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Oh, Tom. That actually looks like my red Ford Ranger! Except for the wings. And the crown.

  • Tom Hering

    Uh oh. I know which way this thread is going to go now. Ford vs. Chevy vs. Ram vs. Nissan vs. Toyota …

  • Tom Hering

    Uh oh. I know which way this thread is going to go now. Ford vs. Chevy vs. Ram vs. Nissan vs. Toyota …

  • Booklover

    Oh I love it love it!!!! The truck and the red are both very cool! But of course it’s not my blog, so I’ll just sit and look at this mock-up.

    I can’t afford a red Dodge Ram truck, so I have a stupid red phone.

  • Booklover

    Oh I love it love it!!!! The truck and the red are both very cool! But of course it’s not my blog, so I’ll just sit and look at this mock-up.

    I can’t afford a red Dodge Ram truck, so I have a stupid red phone.

  • Tom Hering

    I’m seriously diggin’ a red scheme. And Dr. Veith’s blog really ought to match his truck. It would balance the universe:

    https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B0LY_IA6TPrINmZmMzlmMTQtYzc1ZS00MTUzLTkwOGYtYTBmNzkzNzI2N2Qw&hl=en

  • Tom Hering

    I’m seriously diggin’ a red scheme. And Dr. Veith’s blog really ought to match his truck. It would balance the universe:

    https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B0LY_IA6TPrINmZmMzlmMTQtYzc1ZS00MTUzLTkwOGYtYTBmNzkzNzI2N2Qw&hl=en

  • Tom Hering
  • Tom Hering
  • Abby

    If it is ok to still offer an opinion–red could certainly go along with the idea of “hot” topics. But I remember Dr. Veith (seeming) to prefer a “parchment” look? Instead of a “cool” red, maybe a “warm” red? Softer somehow (without becoming pink), instead of bold and heavy? I still like the cream/brown look also.

  • Abby

    If it is ok to still offer an opinion–red could certainly go along with the idea of “hot” topics. But I remember Dr. Veith (seeming) to prefer a “parchment” look? Instead of a “cool” red, maybe a “warm” red? Softer somehow (without becoming pink), instead of bold and heavy? I still like the cream/brown look also.

  • Abby

    Tom, here’s another “red” example for you to see if you like. The white tempers it really well.

  • Abby

    Tom, here’s another “red” example for you to see if you like. The white tempers it really well.

  • Abby
  • Abby
  • Tom Hering

    Abby, nice example, but my passion for red has passed. Did you notice the two-tone graphic behind the header there, and the way it’s visible on the sides, too? That’s the whole idea of the format being used here on Cranach, i.e., to give the appearance of a continuous page or sheet floating above a continuous graphic background. Just filling the background with solid black, like here, kind of misses the design point. Here’s a nice example of the visual pleasure this format is meant to provide. There’s no other reason for the center column not to be full width. End of design rant. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Abby, nice example, but my passion for red has passed. Did you notice the two-tone graphic behind the header there, and the way it’s visible on the sides, too? That’s the whole idea of the format being used here on Cranach, i.e., to give the appearance of a continuous page or sheet floating above a continuous graphic background. Just filling the background with solid black, like here, kind of misses the design point. Here’s a nice example of the visual pleasure this format is meant to provide. There’s no other reason for the center column not to be full width. End of design rant. :-)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@40), what? That’s a “nice example”? Hmm. That page you link to seems a bit too busy to me for a background!

    And while I don’t think the “solid black” background here (it’s actually charcoal, 76% black, and there’s a subtle fade effect near the white column) is necessarily sacrosanct, I disagree that it “kind of misses the design point”. The point of the current design is that it very much respects the content of this blog by not distracting from it.

    The site that you linked to doesn’t look very serious to me (I mean that in a bad way), and my eyes are drawn more toward the background than the actual content of the blog. (The background image also doesn’t tile very well at my browser width, with a very unfortunate seam on the right-hand side — this is a frequent problem with background images.)

    “There’s no other reason for the center column not to be full width.” No no no! The main reason for any column of text not to be arbitrarily wide — whether or not there’s any decorative element in the background — is for readability. People cannot read long lines of text without getting lost every time they start a new line. It causes delays in reading and hinders comprehension.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@40), what? That’s a “nice example”? Hmm. That page you link to seems a bit too busy to me for a background!

    And while I don’t think the “solid black” background here (it’s actually charcoal, 76% black, and there’s a subtle fade effect near the white column) is necessarily sacrosanct, I disagree that it “kind of misses the design point”. The point of the current design is that it very much respects the content of this blog by not distracting from it.

    The site that you linked to doesn’t look very serious to me (I mean that in a bad way), and my eyes are drawn more toward the background than the actual content of the blog. (The background image also doesn’t tile very well at my browser width, with a very unfortunate seam on the right-hand side — this is a frequent problem with background images.)

    “There’s no other reason for the center column not to be full width.” No no no! The main reason for any column of text not to be arbitrarily wide — whether or not there’s any decorative element in the background — is for readability. People cannot read long lines of text without getting lost every time they start a new line. It causes delays in reading and hinders comprehension.

  • Tom Hering

    Sorry, Todd, but I find the black or charcoal or whatever it is VERY distracting too – because of the strong contrast where it meets the white. (I’m just not seeing that “subtle fade” without looking hard to see it. But I guess that’s what makes it subtle, eh? :-) ) I agree that long lines of text cause a problem, but the text column here doesn’t have to change, no matter what you do with the background – including changing it to white for a single-column appearance.

  • Tom Hering

    Sorry, Todd, but I find the black or charcoal or whatever it is VERY distracting too – because of the strong contrast where it meets the white. (I’m just not seeing that “subtle fade” without looking hard to see it. But I guess that’s what makes it subtle, eh? :-) ) I agree that long lines of text cause a problem, but the text column here doesn’t have to change, no matter what you do with the background – including changing it to white for a single-column appearance.

  • Abby

    Tom @40: I did like the two-tone background also with the white floating on top like you described. Actually, I’m glad you’re giving up on the red too. You’ll come up with something very pleasing yet I’m sure. I’m still liking the “leather/parchment” look–if you and the rest do also, and primarily of course–Dr. Veith.

  • Abby

    Tom @40: I did like the two-tone background also with the white floating on top like you described. Actually, I’m glad you’re giving up on the red too. You’ll come up with something very pleasing yet I’m sure. I’m still liking the “leather/parchment” look–if you and the rest do also, and primarily of course–Dr. Veith.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X