Changing a site's color and its impact...

Industrial music CDs on eBay USA | eBay UK | eBay GER

02 Nov, 2006 Share

As you may have noticed, the Side-Line website has completely changed color and lay-out. It does not look very goth does it? Well it never was intended to look goth anyhow. Since the layout change caused some mayhem on forums, not in the least on our very own Side-Line forum, I decided to explain the reason for using the colour scheme and the general idea behind its use.

First this, Side-Line an sich never was and never will be a pure Goth website. As a magazine we have always decided not to pigeonhole our attention to gothic music alone and therefore stretched out to other related music styles from synthpop, industrial, dark electro, gothic metal, noise over experimental to even techno music. It makes that the site itself is not at all limited to just this small section of the indie music called goths.

This mix of styles has proven to be very popular with a very varied breed of visitors hopping by to read news on artists active in the above mentioned music scenes. This varied readership implies that the online environment has to be accessible for everyone. A black website with a whitish font therefore is the last thing one should do (aside from the fact it hurts the eyes due to its unnatural nature - a background is supposed to reflect not the characters used) in order to please a larger crowd.

Over the years Side-Line has had virtually every colour, from the obvious black, white and grey in the very beginning to an army green in the 2003 version. The color change also went hand in hand with an enlarged readership, not that the colors did that job, far from it. But the colors were always there not to shock the readers who were just passing by even when as such they were never considered scene fans (Evanescence for example pleases more than just gothic metal fans). Also for this new change we had this in the back of our mind.

For this change - less drastic from our point of view than some seem to think - the editorial staff decided to see what colours scheme reflected the vibes of Side-Line the best. This resulted in a list of terms, from 'vivid' to 'explicit', from 'open' to 'indie' and so on. The whole list of terms was then linked with a color scheme in which we could all find ourselves back.

The result is a threesome of colors which are being repeated throughout the site.

Will it scare goths away ? I sure hope it won't and I am pretty sure it won't. Because for those that have been in the dungeons for a while, the scene is getting more and more coloured: fluo hair extensions, fluo shoes, fluo T-shirts, fluo bags and so on and so on. Add to this that CD covers are getting more and more colorful and you can only decide that black only is over and out as far as the complete 'dark' scene is considered.

Now that I have explained the reasons for using these joyful colors let me ask you a question: what reigns, content or colors ? If the latter is your answer than I am afraid you should check out another site. If you picked the first answer than welcome into the wonderful and colorful world called Side-Line ! Because... Content is King !

So what is the general impact then of colors you might ask ? For me it only plays a role in one thing: create an ambient in which no one feels excluded or discriminated and which powers discussion. Seeing the enormous amount of posts the past few hours, I am already convinced it succeeded in reaching that aspect.

Related to this post, feel free to read what Mark Boulton recently posted in his blog about the use of colors in a site.

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Posted by: anihilus on Nov 09, 06 | 2:09 am

At first I was surprised with the change, although I'm not a gothic purist you know industrial/EBM etc always like this kind of dark and fetish look. I guess some people wouldn't complain about this neutral look, but anyway appearance is not the most important thing.
Actually this change of scheme has helped me because now I can read your magazine more comfortably during my work time, because a lot of people in the office can see my screen, and your previous design was more suspicious seen from far away. Now I can read for hours and they may think I'm reading something related to my (boring) job.
So, thought I sthetically dont love it, i must say 'Thank you!'

Posted by: Side-Line on Nov 11, 06 | 10:36 pm

Next time we will turn it in flashy pink, promised :)

Posted by: JonCyn90 on Nov 15, 06 | 5:42 am

Although we totally agree with the premise behind the site color change (i.e. - diversity rules!), we personally really (really, really) don't care for these three particular colors (OK, OK - so the red works...). Yes, alot of the 'scene' these days includes bright colors, which is totally cool, but we must say that we have seen little of the yellow to orange curve of the color spectrum. Any chance you could do some experimenting with other brights and maybe get some member feedback on what they like the best? (Don't take this the wrong way - your site is still The BEST indie news site ever..!)

Posted by: djemptyx on Nov 19, 06 | 5:25 pm

I strongly agree with JonCyn90's take, although I agree with a reevaluation of the site, I believe the chosen colour set to be obnoxious. Over and over again Side-Line mentions "goth" this and "goth" that in the original post. To me, black and neutral have nothing to do with "goth". When I think "goth" I think shades of purple mixed with grays etc. They are just CLEAN colour sets. Regardless, there are thousands of combinations that could have been used in the primary colour set alone. That said, I do not disagree with the chosen colours, only the final combination of these colors. The red works. The orange works (i personally like its inclusion the best). The yellow works. Red, Orange and Yellow together used throughout the website do not work on my eyes. It makes the portal page a displeasure to read, no matter if it is loaded with "content" or not. Yes "content is king" but lets not forget our queen and court in the trenches, layout, navigation and yes colour. Another point I would like to bring forward, you say that you do not wish to cater to the eyes of the "goth" crowd, which I think, without mention, you are actually refering to the "dark music scene" crowd. Since dark music scenesters make up an obvious overwhelming majority of subscriptions do you not think it is unfair to slap them in the face with these assumed non-goth colours (just going on what you claim are goth colours, which is also speculation)? I think if the colours had been less obnoxious in tone (strength) difference (and less primary) then they may have worked and sparked a better reaction from the community.

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