Wednesday, 20 January 2010

New Year New look

I've got a new look for my Etsy shop for the new year. I've made a new banner which I absolutely love, and plan some new packaging to go with it. After trying various designs and layouts, I opted for a more subtle look with turquoise rather than the bright colours seen above. However, it turned out that another Etsy shop already had a similar styled banner, so it was back to the drawing board.

When I first decided to change the look I initially intended to keep the brightly coloured spots, change the grey background for a brighter turquoise, and incorporate some photos of items currently available in my shop. But I had a real problem with the red circles. They looked great on the Seashore site I was working on, and looked lovely when I uploaded them to Flickr, but when Etsy got hold of them, they looked truly awful!

I tried everything I could think of to rectify the problem; saving to various file types, using web safe colours, toning down the contrast, but nothing would remove the dark outline and squiggly pattern on the surface of the circle. It looked very much as something viewed under a microscope; lots of wriggly worm shapes. The larger circles weren't too bad, but the smaller ones were very noticeable. I think they looked more pronounced against the turquoise than they did against the grey.

I ran a search in the Etsy forums and discovered others who had experienced the same problem with red, especially when used in conjunction with a darker colour. It seems to occur when Etsy compresses uploads and only affects certain colours. Red is the main culprit, but only if there is a block of colour, and at first it appeared to only affect warm colours. But after much experimenting by uploading different coloured spots on test banners (hope no one was viewing my shop at the time) it transpires that it affects red and royal blue the most, and purple and pink to a lesser degree. I tried replacing the red spots with orange and although it was a good clean colour, it didn't look right with the other colours.

I wasn't going to be beaten and spent hours trying various combinations, but I just couldn't get it to look right. So in the end out of sheer frustration I ditched the circles altogether and opted for the plain turquoise background. But as I said above, it turns out the layout was seen by some to be too similar to another person's banner. The colours, font, and photos were entirely different, but the layout was the same. Although the other shop owner didn't mind in the slightest, agreeing with me that it was a very basic layout, and was happy for me to leave it as it was, it didn't hold the same appeal for me anymore and I wanted to change it.

I tried various layouts, but couldn't get it to look significantly different, so I went back to my original theme of circles. Accepting there was no way around the red problem, and not liking any other substitute colour, I decided to keep it simple and use complementary tones of the main turquoise. I think the result is more in keeping with the way I envisage taking the style/look of my shop.

As is often the case, things that start off as an annoyance can often turn out to be a blessing in disguise. The resultant design is not only different, but I actually prefer it to the previous one. I'm also in the process of ordering some beautiful new packaging to match the new colour scheme. So all in all I'm very pleased with the way it's turned out. :)