Monday, November 24, 2014

The New RENDY'S BLOG - The New Face Within The Same Core

Remember when this blog had somekind of "untidy" interface and less-attractive colors as seen above? Now try to compare what the blog now has, design-wise. Thanks to my expertise at tinkering CSS and layouting, plus keeping the golden rules of designing (including web designing that is), GARAGE-R has become simply RENDY'S BLOG. Yes, it was the name of my old blog and adding Hi-v would be much better than just the aptly-chosen name, but it is the shift of direction this blog has taken. In fact, this is my second step on fixing my social media life after I stopped crossposting within the Trinity (Facebook, Twitter and Google+). Well, despite blog is technically anything but a social media, but it is actually a "media of thoughts" where every user can post anything pertaining to the subjects they are interested in.

This post takes a look at my history of blogging, how this blog is born and how it underwent design changes until the blog is what it is now.


My very first blog entitled simply "Rendy's Blogs" established in 2009; the "s" behind the second word is actually a misnomer by the way.

I started blogging around June 2009, writing under the blog name "Rendy's Blogs" [sic], yet the URL is a shout out to one of my favorite Super Smash Brothers characters: Captain Falcon from F-Zero. It was the character's memetic mutation "Falcon Punch" that gave the name Super Falcon Punch. Back then, I don't understand anything about making a good blog design, which explains why it used one of Blogger's ready-to-use templates. The posts were also "untargeted", meaning that I "just" blogged things, within a low number of paragraphs, leading to the blog having a series of short posts (exceptions to longer posts) that are so good, it's like they were written by someone who knew internet days ago spiced with the eye-sore English. The blog also had more than one topic in each post; at some point each post possessed two topics, and to an extreme three topics.

The very first post was posted on July 9th, 2009; my last years of Junior High. The first post was actually an unimportant first post claiming that the new blog is under construction. The reason I wrote that was that I was still looking for some templates and tried to add some widgets. In the same month, I've written SIX other posts, all of which were randoms, from Summer Projects to Jacko's Death. Until today, I haven't broke that record, although that roughly one of my recent posts are more than enough to beat the word counts of those seven posts combined, while not beating the total blog post count. Also worth noting that this post signaled my passing the National Exam.

The preceding months, I posted one post, with the July 2009 post was where I posted things about the top down racing games you know if you followed this blog.In 2010, I managed to make five posts in April and three posts in May, breaking last year's record of 10 posts with 13 posts. 2011 and 2012 however were when I was lazy posting things, with the Midnight Sunshine translation being my first bid at translating a Japanese song, and the first post of 2012 AND the final post of the blog itself signaled the end of Rendy's Blogs [sic], and the transition to the blog whose URL still lives on today.


"THIS NEW RENDY'S BLOG [finally not sic] ISN'T JUST FOR SHOW!" - Yes it isn't, except for that unreadable profile text :v

How the new blog's content is presented. There are now three columns compared to the predecessor's two.

Having retired the old blog, I've made a new one entitled "Hi-ν Rendy's Blog", the one you are seeing now (duh), in March 2012. The "Hi-ν" in its name is taken from RX-93-ν2 Hi-ν Gundam, the alternate interpretation of RX-93-ν ν Gundam Amuro Ray use in Mobile Suit Gundam's novel "Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack - Beltorchika's Children". The Hi-v name is also an emphasis for the new blog, and the emphasis in question is a shout out done right albeit the name.

The new blog is born with a new styling at that time which, once again, was true to its theme (Space and Gundams are two inseparable themes, mind you), despite, once again, it used one of Blogger's default templates with some widget and color tweaks. Also worth noting that in the new blog's first post, I did state that I would also write articles in Indonesian, but sadly the only Indonesian-written article in this blog is the post about Galau (Sadness) and Gundam, which actually is a totally random article covering the sadness / gloomy situation(s) different Gundam series characters underwent in their respective series and how it can relate to the readers' sadness. From there on, the future article, and eventually most articles, are presented in English. The problem is that I'm more comfortable writing things in English rather than Indonesian, and there are things that cannot be translated or "too good" to be translated to Indonesian, mind you. Another entry of the series of first posts is the short random pertaining to how windy the situation was at the time of the writing, because, you guessed it, it was written at my high school's computer lab prior to the bad weather in my place. Ending the consecutive random post streak is my experience of attending a local Japanese Culture festival.

The first year, I scored 7 posts in total (and thank goodness, they are more "filled" than my old blog), with the April post being the experience of my High School-level final exam and two August posts before I made my blog go sabbatical until April 2013. One of the two April posts is the introduction of [R]GARAGE, which is the first time Turbo Sliders and GeneRally are mentioned in the new blog. These games are mentioned once again in the preceding month, and Animaku no Hibi is also mentioned for the second time too. Unfortunately, the event didn't return for its 5th year or that I didn't notice the fifth one.


The logo of GARAGE-R. The name is used prior to the rebrand of this blog; it was meant to be the supplement of the [R]GARAGE site.

The name GARAGE-R was used in the middle of 2013, rebranding the blog from a random thoughts depot whose name is taken from a novel-exclusive mecha to a supplement for the [R]GARAGE site, even to an extent its mobile version appeared as a widget on the site's home page, playing with the "Yo Dawg" factor before the widget is sheltered back to its rightful place: the nothingness. The rebrand also replaced the Earth background with the plain white color and the profile widget is retired for good. Other than that, color tweaks and an addition of a header picture were done. The posts throughout the GARAGE-R days comprised of motorsport event posts, be it a recap or a random, and posts throughout the Turbo Sliders and GeneRally spectrums, yet they are not the only games covered. Also, despite the rebrand, random topics such as Inside the Mall series (continued from the Hi-ν era) and some others, but the most memorable random topic is the "Is Indonesia Humiliating Itself?" series which spawned three different posts, where I graciously smacked about the Education, IT and Moral aspects of Indonesian governments of related subjects and the Indonesian people in general.

Taking the words "[R]GARAGE Supplement" to an extent, I decided to create a "shadow" blog where I test the new colors that this blog would use. The development of this new color was ran parallel with the redesigning of [R]GARAGE, which finally is "ready to launch" anytime, progress-wise. Fast forward to 19th November, the last Wednesday at the time of this post, where the shadow blog's colors were finally implemented, but with a sudden change of direction: going back to the square one by eventually making this blog "RENDY'S BLOG", a ringer to my very first blog, yet complete with the new theme colors and more attracting interface, all thanks to my tweaking the CSS, with the help of Firefox's Inspect Element menu which helped a lot. Not only that, I've followed several designing guidelines such as not using Arial, using no more than three font faces, using consistent coloring and concerning readability. The three first commandments are easy to follow, but the last one needed further understanding.


How GARAGE-R looked like. The recent rebrand, RENDY'S BLOG, bettered this design by miles. RENDY'S BLOG is the third facelift for the "Hi-ν Rendy's Blog" marque.

Making the new design for the new Rendy's Blog took quite a long day, and that includes the procrastination. The new design was initially to become the blog piece for [R]GARAGE, but as said earlier, the direction suddenly changed into the simply-named blog. The redesign is done with lots of factors that goes into consideration, one of which is how I hated the heading fonts that are way smaller than the normal styling, which I decided to use bigger font sizes for headings. The fonts used are Oswald (titles), Open Sans (headings) and Arimo (body), given the fact that I must veer away from Arial and Helvetica. While this combination might not be the best combination (knowing the fact that I'm not really a font combination master, so to say), it is the most righteous and spot-on for the blog. Oswald is chosen because it does capable of becoming a title font face without needing to eat up text spaces. It is indeed looking good, and it reminds me of Bebas Neue and Tungsten a bit sans the vibe of Taylor Swift. Open Sans meanwhile is used as the headings simply because it's a better replacement for the non-existent heavy-weighted Helvetica Neue. Its proper spacing is mega, and it screams "HEADINGS!!!!111!1!!!" when bolded. Lastly, Arimo is the chosen font face for the body, once again in place of Helvetica Neue. This rightful font destined for the blog's body is also styled accordingly with a color that doesn't steal Open Sans's thunder and with the right line spacing to make sure it's very readable. I could have used one of these font faces provided by Google Fonts, but for the time being, it's Arimo all the way for the body.

The used colors the new design is using are the exact same colors of [R]GARAGE: red, grey, black and white. The darker shades of gray, though, is the most-used color set, considering that black background and white texts don't turn out to be a good idea, so do the black background and red texts, though. Thankfully, the black parts in question are transparent, which means that there needs to be a color that can balance the transparent black parts. With the asphalt background in use, the background turns into a grey color with the right column being black. For the red texts within the black background, they are bolded for visibility's sake, and any red instance in the post content is made one shade lighter.

Speaking of columns, all the left column widgets are retired, meaning that my Facebook Badge is the next widget disposed, so do the tag cloud and time widgets. That leaves the blog with one HTML widget which I made into a list of my networks, the recommended articles (consisting three posts) and the blog archive. The designing doesn't stop there as there's another HTML widget, this time on top of the contents. Here lies the all-new header picture showcasing the tagline and the tags navigation. Initially, the navigation were to be a drop-down list but due to circumstances in which such a design is unusable, the drop-down design is dropped and the navigation is the normal navigation.

The other most prominent thing you can notice in this blog apart from the colors and the layout changes is the text-only logo; using the pictured logo, even if you hover outside the logo, it would be linked to the home page, which renders the design unfeasible. Usually, text-only blog title won't link to home page, but with the help of TEH INTERWEBZ, it is possible to make even the text-only blog title link to the home page. Also gone are the Blogger Header bar that can destroy the blog's professional look and the possibility to eliminate the blank space left on the blog. In addition, the blog is given a fully-customized icon which furthers its professional look.

All these things would not be possible without CSS and HTML tweaks. With a little help of  a WYSIWYG CSS editor, the design possibility opens more. This is when the designing work becomes a superb addiction that's more addictive than drugs. Hell, web designing is my strong point, and CSS is one of the things I am capable of. Throughout the five-day process (four days of redesigning plus one day of minor changes), the layouting is just half of the battle, while the real struggle lies in determining the right colors, finding the right font faces, harnessing the full potential of CSS power and minor HTML tweaks.


Starting from bottom where I have absolutely no knowledge of even a design and a proper blogging plus good English to eventually improve myself as I learned things throughout my life, even including the web programming and a variety of designing lectures, it has been a hell of six years. For two blog URLs, four faces and three "Hi-ν" iterations, blogging is more than just writing stuffs that you want to. It's also about reflecting and branding yourself within your style and improving your written English at the same time. Blogging is also a means of harnessing your designing skills through CSS styling, just when Blogger defaults don't satisfy you. To show off your design is just half of the premise, and to make your blog's User Experience (UX) as clean as possible is the main key.

Even with so many changes in the branding for this blog, it has finally found its niche. In the end, sometimes it's better to go back to square one; the namesake when you started it all. There are so many topics to be made blog stories, so are the WIPs for different games. The problem is that I have two spectrums of audiences: motorsport and randoms and all things fandom. While redesigning both this blog and [R]GARAGE is now a finished job, it is now the turn of all my other blogging medias. For my LiveJournal, I could post only FMM-related stuffs and even fan fictions there, but I realized that my LJ needs some sign of living as I can't let it dead, even all the Twitter crossposts don't help; they only clutter things up.

RENDY'S BLOG - Est. 2012. Blogging since 2009, also known as Hi-ν Rendy's Blog, formerly known as GARAGE-R; Thoughts, Motorsports, Creations, Presentations, Randoms, and Stuff...


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