After receiving the students' design, I started to improve whatever I could.
The biggest difference I introduced was making prominent use of the cartoon characters “Mimi & Eunice” by the amazing Nina Paley throughout the whole page. After all, Nina's work is the sort of free/libre/open culture we celebrate, so we can build upon it freely, and it highlights our values. Aaron had already incorporated her comics in various pages such the one on Non-Scarce Economics. I just embraced the characters fully to create a more engaging and consistent design.
I also switched the main font to “Nunito” which was introduced by earlier style tiles from the students.
Unfortunately, the student team had no time to address the logo as part of their relaunch, so I jumped in and created a quick alternative. That first draft didn't really meet my standards and soon got replaced by a more promising one that better in many respects but still not good enough. So, I devoted substantial time to get a dynamic, unique, simple, scalable, reproducible and fitting logo:
Iterative design process
To get an idea of the whole design process, here's a video slide-show from my first draft building on the student work to the current final homepage design:
Applying the new design
Just the welcome page isn't enough, of course. In order to cover a broader set of design elements, I applied the new look across multiple pages. From those pages, I derived the basic underlying design decisions and put together our new design guide. This makes new contributions and new pages faster and easier to stay consistent with our identity.
Come help us implement!
Now, the design needs to be hammered into a responsive webpage. If you happen to like working with HTML, CSS, and Boostrap, please come help us! Join our live chat on IRC at #snowdrift and our design email list, and consider filling out a volunteer form. Of course, we always welcome any other kind of support, too. The new theme is just one important element. Other areas to help with include general illustration, back-end coding in Haskell, help with welcoming other volunteers, legal research… See our how-to-help page for more details.