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Tuesday, 23 February 2010


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Right on Jesse.

Care to share the top ten finalists?


Elegant, Restrained, Legible and I dare say, won't pall quickly. Good choice, good work.

What the heck? I pretty much read your column every day. I read about the contest this morning just before work and I get home to find out it is over. Good thing I noticed the update before I spent too much time on it, I already spent the hour drive home mulling over ideas.

I think you should have given it at least a week or two.

Congrats to Jesse. I think he got the look right (even though I still prefer my submissions ;-).

There's spec work and then there's Spec work. I never do Spec work.

As a designer I would have been happy to submit some samples even if you hadn't offered a reward. The reward was a nice plus however.

I don't think Mike makes much money from this blog (ie he's not rich, not looking to "monetize" the header). And for the sake of a little header on a blog, going through portfolios would be a bit silly. This site gives all of us (readers) a lot for nothing. Tough to be criticizing Mike for spec work when, in a way, that's what he does every day with this site.

This sort of spec work doesn't bother me in the least. And I don't think it's all that fair to be critical of it.

Like it, Mike. Looks good.


"I think you should have given it at least a week or two."

Dennis and Jim,
Sorry! I just figured since I'd gotten one I liked, and gotten the NO!SPEC finger wagged in my face, I shouldn't ask for more help than I in fact needed.

If we ever get around to doing a photo contest, the rules, terms, and durations will be more carefully mapped out.


I know I wouldn't have won, I just wanted to try.

Glad you like it! I was wondering about how long this would go on -- my first chance to work on anything for it would be tomorrow evening. But I really should do other stuff then anyway, and now I don't have to decide, so that's okay.

It does look as if your description of what you wanted had some relationship to what you really wanted -- at least, the one you chose is very much what you said you wanted. Not all clients can manage that!

And the photo of Jesse's that you show is striking, I must find time to go and look at more.

Good choice! Shockingly Mike, you went with a look that wouldn't be out of place on the cover of photography books(!) by John Sexton, Ansel Adams, Paula Chamlee, John Szarkowski, or the Aperture series - an inclination consistent with the frequent photo-book posts on TOP.

At first I thought the color scheme was too muted, but I think it will wear well and won't clash with those photos of newly announced pink and blue m4/3 cameras. It's definitely more tasteful than the headers on most of the other photography sites I frequent.

Nice job, Jesse.

Elegant and effective.

And yes, Jesse's website is a pleasure to view.

That's one wonderfully elegant header. Well done Jesse!

So I'm sitting in Google Reader thinking, isn't he at least going to show us what it looks like?

... oh, right.

I thought you picked up a GF1. But not a word about it since. Curious.
PS - Nice header.

Nice choice, Mike and kudos to you both. Very simple, clean and elegant.

It looks good. Almost as good as the one I sent :)

A lovely new header !

Now...maybe change the color of the sidebars and header background to that same nice yellowish color of the T, O and P ??
It would be...hmmm....refreshing I think. :-)

It's too classy. I can't ignore it like I could the old, homely one, and it makes me feel unkempt and underdressed. I might get used to it, but I have a feeling it's going to goad the publisher into a site-wide makeover, which will take more getting used to, and make me feel like I should shave and comb my hair before I visit my favorite blog.

Hi Mike,

Awesome...er, very nice. I love the "Edited by". Now that's what I'm talkin' about.


Call me a curmudgeon, but I preferred the old one...

That is a gorgeous landscape. I too would love to see the top ten!

"make me feel like I should shave and comb my hair before I visit"

If I don't, why should you? [g]


Okay--you're a curmudgeon. [s]


Nice crisp header! I will be reminded not to slouch while reading TOP from now on.

And the the photo ... "Winter Gateway" by the creator of said header ... I can't take my eyes off it. Stunning work.

Header aside, Jesse's website is fantastic. I might even add one of his prints to my collection.

Looks very National Geographic!

Wow! That was quick! And it looks really nice!

You've set a great example of how to get things done for those blockheads (of all stripes) in Washington. I say we let you reform healthcare, Mike! (Larger Amazon gift certificate for the winning suggestion, of course.)

Couldn't have said it better myself, Paddy.

It's good to step out of lurkdom and contribute something here at Mike's Place. I appreciate the feedback on the graphic ... and especially the kind words about my website/photography.

I like it. Good work, Mr. Speer.

Mike, the new header's color plays off Jesse Speer's photograph. I'll be interested to see what the looks like once you have an new post superseding that one at the top of the page.

I was hoping for something a little more Vegas.

Like, the words spelled out in red dots, then T-O-P flashing one letter at a time, like the USA chant: T-O-P, T-O-P, T-O-P, then all together: TOP - TOP -TOP; then the whole thing explodes into fireworks, from which you see glowing red letters emerge, with amber, blinking, pointing-hand signs on each side of M-I-K-E J-O-H-N-S-T-O-N, followed by MIKE JOHNSTON-MIKE JOHNSTON-MIKE JOHNSTON, and then, even bigger JOHNSTON-JOHNSTON-JOHNSTON, followed by an appropriated head of The Dude, from the Big Lebowski, saying, "My Johnston?", followed by another burst of fireworks that takes us back to the beginning. And then repeat.

But no. I'm ignored, an artist disdained in his own time.

"And thanks again to Jesse, who says he's going to use the money to help pay for a new GF1 kit. Good man! - Mike "

In one word, GF1 is just a pleasure to use.

Shortcoming? Way too many features. :)

Well, put me down as one of the antis. I think small caps looks quite snobby and thus this new banner doesn't match TOP's style. :/

It must look good, because I didn't notice it changed before I read this. :-) Congrats Jesse

Mike, the new header is great, one again you smoked Rockwell. But the reference to changing the trim to match the header is a good one.... Which would include turning the center column white and making the L & R vertical bars the darker brown, as both moves would enhance readability. As it is now, there isn't enough contrast between the columns and the text is wide, so eyes wander off track too easily.

As for the color scheme -- having changed more than my share of diapers -- I wouldn't overdo the use of the more intense yellow next to the brown -- save it for highlighting things. Or perhaps I should say, "marking".

Nice work Jesse. Great choice Mike, very elegant, as classy as the site.

It is gentle on the eyes.

I guess most professional designer would have chosen to cut the size (amount of screen real estate) down a considerable amount.

Less is more and I reckon the header could be more elegant at half the depth. This would leave more depth for the images you use in each entry.

Depending on your screen resolution the header takes up a third(1024x768) or a quarter (1280x1024) of the screen depth.

"...followed by an appropriated head of The Dude, from the Big Lebowski, saying, "My Johnston?", followed by another burst of fireworks..."

That one barely lost out.


Well done, Jesse. The more I look at it, the more I like it.

I had designed a header, but thought I would look at it in the morning to see if I still liked it, before sending it in. Doh! and double doh!

Talking of design Mike, how's your kitchen coming on?

Like Jesse Speer's portfolio a lot, his header design not really. It looks "altbacken". That's German and literally means "oldbaken" connoting something that is from yesterday (yellowish-ocre, like yesterday's bread). Alternatively, one could say your new header looks like spineless corporate design - don't scratch, don't irritate, please everybody.

In any case, it's your blog, your site and your header (it's my party and I cry if I want to ...). I'm just a guest who takes in whatever you serve. It's always a joy to devour your writing so your new restaurant logo won't stop me from ordering your meal.

Nice, but one minor suggestion: this banner would work much better as a GIF file, rather than a JPG. On my screen I can notice some visible artifacts from JPG compression.

+1 for matching the T O P and sidebars colours :-)

Mr Speer's work is good and all, but John Camp "for the win."

I'm traveling in India and have logged in a couple of times to get a little comfort food from reading TOP.

I think the new header looks lovely.

Although I was very proud of my own version, I also think Jesse Speer's is really damn handsome.
It also makes good use of the subtleties one can get into such a large banner.
And since I already have a GF1 myself, he is more than welcome to the prize!

Did all of the archived articles also have to get the new header? How will we ever feel nostalgic, let alone keep track? [g]

I like it. Simple, yet elegant.

One little criticism though: the kerning seems a little rough, particularly on the word "Photographer".


I think the new header is a great improvement. I believe it would become a classic if you changed the beige tones to grey. All other info - adverts and images in color

/Users/melvinso/Desktop/OLP BxW.jpg

Hmm... I must be feeling peckish.

I always thought a "header" was something one took when falling down the staircase.

In any event a change now and then is good for the soul.

I love it.

Does any one know what font is this?
It's beautiful.

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