The Reboot Story: Part One

posted on November 1st, 2005 by Anthony

I’ve been planning a redesign for this site since, pretty much, the day the original was finished.

Well that’s just it, I never really finished it.

I was young and inexperienced (with WordPress), I didn’t give it enough attention, I had a flimsy theme and I got bored with it very quickly. I don’t think I ever really fell in love with it.

So I already had a redesign in mind when I got tipped off about the upcoming Fall Reboot. I was disappointed not to have been able to take part in the original event (mainly because I didn’t have anything to reboot – so it would have been just a boot), so the autumn running of the event was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.

That was three months and two weeks ago, and it seems like I’ve been working on this much longer, but finally it’s here – welcome to the new Escape Crate!

In some ways I have actually been working on this design much longer – the initial ideas were already formed in my head by the end of May – but it was only from the start of the Reboot that I started to flesh the ideas out.

The Beginning

In May, my lovely fiancée and I moved into our first flat together. It’s a great place, with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a nice open plan kitchen and lounge. But by far the best feature is the view – we look directly over the River Mersey to the magnificent Liverpool waterfront. Basically, having something that stunning outside your window, every day, makes it difficult not to be inspired.

I really didn’t have much of a choice.

Hours were wasted on these intricate illustrations

So I had a theme in my head, and I started to jot some ideas down. Originally I wanted to have the whole waterfront featured, and I went down that road quite a long way. I produced a load of Illustrations of different buildings (which you can see over there) and tried hard to make them fit. It just didn’t happen.

So I cut back the idea to a bare minimum, and set upon focussing the idea on the Mersey Ferry, which incidentally also happened to be the first graphic I made – typical! The design then kind of stalled.

I was stuck with just the boat and a blue band for weeks. I tried a load of combinations, sketched out different page layouts, lot’s of layouts were deleted, I started from scratch three or four times. It was looking empty, I was a bit stuck and I needed inspiration.

So I went on a few location shoots to generate ideas:

West Kirby

The No Bathing sign

The wall and railings

The life ring


The tide/comment level

Wexford, Ireland

The ring of er iron

The quay thing

(If I think on I’ll upload the whole lot onto Flickr.)

If you look around the site you’ll see a lot of familiar sites from those photos, the ideas were all built up around them.

So, from my original thoughts of trying to recreate a representation of the Liverpool Waterfront I have moved to trying to capture the essence of a waterfront (with a hint of the Mersey).

Those blue railings are actually one of my earliest memories in life. I can actually remember being pushed in my buggy past them! So they are a strong image for me. (In an abominable move they are now painted black, but I’ve restored them back to their rightful blue.)

Coming Soon

That sorts out the basic thoughts behind the design. In the next part I’ll look a bit more closely at the ‘what has gone where and why’, then some of the more technical aspects, and I’ll also talk about why I’ve made some of the design decisions.

So that’s it for tonight, it’s late, I’m tired, and I’m a bit stressed. Please let me know what you think of the new look, but be kind – I might snap ;O)