Cooking the Cake Bake

posted on April 18th, 2008 by Anthony

My regular readers (snigger) will probably realise that if I go a bit bit quiet it’s usually because I’m working on something.

OK, that’s rubbish. I’m always quiet, and never post anywhere near enough.

However, this time I have been busy beavering away on something.

Claire’s been blogging for over a year now. She actually posts three to four times more often than I do – and she actually has people that comment regularly! She was using Blogger, which was fine to begin with, but it was obvious she deserved something better.

So for Christmas I gave her one of the geekiest gifts possible – I bought her www.clairescakebake.co.uk, some web space… and the promise of a spangly design courtesy of the Web Brewery.

Producing work for my wife was an interesting experience. It certainly gave her something else to nag about – other than playing on the 360 too much… and washing the dishes… and my driving… etc etc etc.

So after four months of “have you done anything on my blog today?”, I’ve finally got the Cake Bake up and running.

Cupcake

Claire\'s Cake Bake and Other Foodiness

Now I had been giving this present a bit of though for a while. A month, or so, before Christmas I started playing around with ideas for a logo. Just to make sure there would be something to show for it come Christmas day.

It started out as some doodles on a notepad. I liked the way the ‘i’ in Claire is dead centre so I started playing with ideas to make a feature of the dot. I worked out it could be a cherry… then *ding* the idea of making styling the type to look like a cupcake fell into place.

Originally it was supposed to be a cherry… but it didn’t quite work. I thought the heart looked a lot better. It also worked as a nice feature to pull out into the rest of the design later on.

I didn’t want to think too much about the design of the actual site too much, I wanted Claire to have as much input as possible… so after the logo was done it wasn’t until after Christmas that things Moved again.

Sketchy

Claire was actually quite reluctant to offer any ideas about what she wanted. It took me about a month before I could coax out a rough sketch on a piece of A4. Armed with that, a vague idea of “something modern, but not” and (hopefully) knowing Claire quite well I started knocking some ideas together.

I first tried to go with the logo as the main focal point. As I’ve found in the past, I found this a difficult way to ‘get into’ the design. The logo was fine for defining a colour scheme… but it didn’t offer much else in the way of inspiration.

So I started browsing through Flickr and the Google Images search for something to kick the imagination into gear. I initially hit on the idea of incorporating some classic gingham patternage beloved of cafes throughout the world. However, Claire wasn’t too fussed. “Chintzy” was mentioned.

Fine.

But the fabrics idea got me thinking so I set about finding a variety of different styles to please my client.

There were quite a few….

Some of that patterns for the ideas process

… Claire settled on a couple and I was away.

After that the rest of the design kind of fell into place on the 960 pixel grid.

I comped together a few bits of kitchenalia to make the header links, and produced a recipe book using some of Claire in action, and that was that.

There’s no earth shattering design leaps or revolution, but I like to think it does the job quite nicely.

Claire seems happy enough, which is the main thing.

Overall she’s been a good client.

Well, apart from the “round font” incident…

Fooooood

Anyway go and check out her new home, subscribe to the RSS feed etc.

You can have it on good authority from me – as a great eater – that Claire is a great cook and the recipes will be more than worth trying.

You can also drool at our amateur food photography.