Welcome to the new Design*Sponge!

by Grace Bonney

Good morning evening everyone and welcome to the new Design*Sponge! A year ago this month we started working on the redesign of the site with the design team at ALSO. Working with them has been one of the most inspiring and special parts of my job and I trust and admire them immensely. After several ideas and revisions (I’ll share the evolution process this week) we landed on this final look and I knew it was our new home. As much as I have loved, and will always love, our linen background (which ALSO designed in 2007), it was time to grow and change and try something new. I wanted the site to feel like the “older sister” of the current site: something more sophisticated, cleaner and reflective of the change all of us here at D*S have gone through over the past four years. I started this site when I was 23 and now I’m about to turn 30, so I wanted the look and feel to be a better representation of what I love at this age and place in life. In addition, the content had so outgrown the navigation system that it was nearly impossible to find old posts that you were looking for. So we decided to not only overhaul the look, but the way the site works from the bottom up. Rather than assume we knew best, I worked with a fantastic UX expert (hooray for Matt Derby!) to help us come up with a way to make content flow and be easier to use.

Then came the hard part: tagging the site so we could use an improved filtering and search system. Over the past seven years of posting at Design*Sponge we’ve amassed over 11,000 posts- all of which had to be opened, evaluated and re-tagged. Thanks to my dream team of Amy Azzarito, Kate Pruitt and Kristina Gill we got just about all of it done (we’re still feverishly tagging as you read this) so you can now narrow content in each category by a huge range of options. I’ll go into this in greater detail below (and the video above), but I wanted to give a little shout out to the lovely ladies above who gave up many long nights and this past holiday weekend to help make this all happen. They are quite simply the best.

While we were tagging, the designs were handed over to our coder/designer/builder extraordinaire, Joel Oliveira. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Joel as my trusty WordPress expert for a while now and he did a fantastic job of translating ALSO’s designs into a living, breathing website. If you need someone to build, design and thrive in WordPress, Joel is your man. Despite the fact that I had to put the redesign on the back burner for nearly six months because of D*S Book work, Joel hung in there with us and is still hanging in there with us (even on a holiday) today as we launch and work on bugs that pop up and that you guys catch. Thanks, Joel.

Last but not least, I wanted to say an extra special thanks to two amazing women, Deanne Cheuk and Julia Rothman. Deanne designed our new logo based on my request for an updated spin on the original that felt ladylike, but still more grown up and she nailed it. Thanks, Deanne. Julia Rothman helped us put a handmade spin on the logo, contributed some beautiful illustrations for the Columns landing page and joined me on epic trips to M&J Trimming in the city to buy crazy amounts of ribbon- all while working with my insane deadlines. Thanks, Julia.

Now for the fun part: let’s talk about the new layout, design elements and how to use them all! Including all the new filters that let you narrow each category based on the terms you’re most interested in. I’ve broken all this down in a quick video above, but I’ll write it in text form after the jump below if you don’t feel like watching. xo, grace

*P.S.: I forgot to mention, we’re finally home at DesignSponge.com! The site will automatically redirect (as will the RSS feed) but there’s no more pesky “online” at the end.


Let’s start with navigation, since the structure has changed a bit. To begin, ALL of the primary navigation on D*S now takes place at the top part of the page. All the major sections have links here. I’ll break them down below:

This is the primary navigation bar- here you’ll get links to all the new landing pages for sections of content on D*S, from home tours (SPACES) and city guides (PLACES) to biz ladies and videos. Each of these pages opens up a landing page with tons of filtering options (more on how to use those below)

This is the secondary navigation bar- here you can find out more about D*S, our team and how to contact us (and submission guidelines). You can also get info on advertising and the annual D*S scholarship.

This is the third part of the navigation- your search bar, links to the RSS feed and our social networking pages.


Now that you know how to navigate the site, let’s break down where all the content actually lives. There are three main columns on the site now, all of which have content. I’ll break them down below:

Meet your main blog column. This left column is where all the posts will live. It’s where all the “live” content will appear.

In the the left column, above each post, you’ll see a bubble for comments (how many and where to click to leave one) and a linked author name. That name is the person writing the story and you can click their name to see all their recent and archived posts.

The middle column on D*S is brand new. This is where we’ll highlight the most recent posts in our major categories (homes, diy, before & afters, products, recipes). This section will change regularly but will be all about bringing original content written recently back up to the top of the page. Some of our original columns involve months of planning so I hated to see them slip off the home page without ever reappearing. This will solve that problem and give you a new place to check out “heavier” content.

The right hand column used to be reserved only for ads, but no longer! Now we have featured most units here that will allow us to highlight great posts and popular discussions or content. I’ll break down the units below:

Not everyone coming to DS wants to scroll around for hours (though I hope they will every now and then), so we created this pretty widget to get down to business- fast. If you’re looking to do something very specific, these links will take you to search pages that have been organized to suit that need. Whether you’re planning a party or want to cook something, this express navigation widget will help.

This featured post widget lets us highlight especially exciting content or something we want to call more attention to. This will change on a regular basis so keep your eyes peeled for something you may have missed earlier :)

You guys have been asking for a “most read” feature for a while now and we finally have one- a list of posts that are most popular any given week or month. Click away and join in the conversation!

One last content section exists at the very bottom of the site- if you scroll down to the very bottom of each page on D*S you’ll see a new section called “recently on”- it displays recent content, organized by day. There’s a tiny bug in them right now which makes it start with Thursday rather than Monday, but we’ll have that fixed asap.


I’m trying to curb my exclamation point use, but this is such a huge deal for us, guys. We re-tagged all 11k posts so you can search, sort and filter by just about any term you need. That way you can find houses that are say, only small-sized rentals in California. Or only DIY projects that are cheap, easy and use recycled materials and stenciling. You can get as specific as you like in the major categories. The point is- you can finally FINALLY use the archives in a way that’s helpful and lets you narrow to your heart’s content. Alternately, you can just select one filter level and see a wider range of posts. Here’s how it works:

Each landing page (spaces, places, diy, before & after, entertaining, videos, biz ladies) has a center column that’s UNIQUE. It’s specific to the content in that category and the search terms you’d need there. So you won’t see “technique” under houses, but you will see it under DIY projects and B&As.

Here’s how you use it. For the sake of example let’s say you’re moving to California and for inspiration you want to see small spaces that are rentals. The first thing you’d do is click on “Rent” to narrow the home tours down to rentals.

Then you can narrow further by clicking “small” to see small spaces.

Then you can narrow further by state, city or country. Here I chose California because we’ve found people most often look for states (over cities and countries) when looking for home tours. This will give you a much smaller search result of homes that suit ONLY your specifications. You can even narrow further by style if you want!


To “un-filter” something just un-click the X box next to the term you’d like to delete. This will gradually widen your search results to include more things. You can unclick till you’re back up at the top level where nothing is clicked and you’re seeing the full archives. Or you can start by picking one broader filter like just “Modern” under home styles. No matter what, you can always un-click something if you don’t want to search for something very specific.


As part of our work with Matt the user experience expert, we created some new content areas to help things flow better and/or give you direct access to the most popular parts of the site. Here’s how they work:

The more we’ve grow, the more we realized that we’re covering a wide range of entertaining topics without really grouping them that way. So rather than have a seperate heading for food, drinks, events, etc we decided to create an official Entertaining section. What lives there? Anything you need to entertain: Recipes (food and drink), Event/Party ideas (weddings, picnics, etc) and Flowers. We’ll continue to refine these as the content area grows, but to start out this should be a good home base if you’re looking to have people over and need some inspiration.

One of the things about D*S I’m the proudest of is our depth of original content. I knew that would be the area I wanted us to grow into and over the past four years we’ve created over 20 original columns that appear on a weekly or monthly basis. As much as I love products and trends, I really love being able to invite writers with unique points of view of interests to join us here. And their work is what really makes me be proud to publish the site every day- their original columns are creative, unique and always the result of lots of hard work. I wanted you guys to have a place to find this original column and your favorite writers’ content, so this is their new home base. You can find a link to this landing page in the main navigation bar at the top of the site. (Julia Rothman did the cute illustrations for this page)

Last but never, ever least is our new team page. Here you can meet all of the writers who contribute posts to D*S and read their bios, see their pictures and click on their recent and archived posts. I’m so lucky to call all of these people my friends and colleagues so I hope you’ll get to know and love them as much as I do.

That’s about it for the basics! We’ll continue to refine, de-bug and improve the site as we go along, but if you see any bugs, glitches or otherwise off-looking parts of the site feel free to leave a comment here. We’ll be de-bugging all week until we get it right. xo, grace

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  • Congratulations!!!! Everything looks fantastic. Looking forward to navigating the new format. You laid everything out so nicely! :)

  • Love it! Truly. But how do I get to the product guides??? They were some of my favorite posts and I loved how you had them in one place – SO great for when I was searching for a new item but didn’t know where to start looking!

    • lauren

      the product guides are filed under products because people tended to use them that way more often when we tracked their behavior on the site. that said, if it becomes a problem i’ll add a guide link back in again ;)


  • I like the layout it is the type size that is killing me I cant read it with out blowing up the page and losing half the layout. It seems like the old format was much easier reading.

  • Love the new look – congrats to you and everyone who made it happen. Very excited to explore the site and dig into the archives more easily now. :)

  • I really loved your old design and am not one prone to leaving negative comments, but I think your redesign is lacking. The first thing I see when your page loads is a giant ad for Sears. The low res ribbon image separating posts and the stretched and low res images in the footer are poorly designed. On the topic of the footer, the content gets cut off in my browser. I think your last design had more character, I admire the attempt to make the site more functional and easier to navigate but I think you’ve over complicated things in the end, sacrificing both aesthetic and functional aspects.

  • I love your site but this new design is unresolved. I get what you’re going for but this isn’t there yet. It’s a nice palate but the elements aren’t cohesive. The navigation it nice but the ad section occupies too much space. The actual posts are almost pushed to the margins. Down at the footer there are scaling issues with the images. They’re all distorted. With the last site, the textured background was integrated with the site but the ribbons on this new site are distracting. I say, nice start but keep pushing it.

    • hi guys

      thanks for all your feedback, good and bad. i know a big change is never easy to take

      let me say first and foremost- i hate the ads probably even more than some of you do. they’ll be more tailored to the style of the site as we go along, but this is the first our advertisers are seeing of the site design so they haven’t been able to design ads to fit in yet. but they will :)

      also, unless we charge for reading d*s (which i’m not comfortable with right now), we have to have larger ad units. we support a team of 20 writers and sadly that means larger ads. those tiny buttons (which we still sell to indie advertisers looking for a more affordable rate) just don’t generate the sort of revenue we need to keep the team supported fairly.

      my goal will be to work with the ad team to ensure the ads that are most prominent are tailored in style to fit the layout better. so rest assured, i’m on it ;)


  • Love everything about it except for the giant ad at the top–before you even see the title of the blog! I know ads=income for you and I totally support that, but it seems like you’ve sacrificed some aesthetics by putting a banner ad at the top of the page. Just my two cents–I read daily and adore every bit of D*S, so I feel like I have a vested interest in what I see when I come to the site! Congrats on the redesign, nonetheless. A fantastic “older sister” to the original design.

  • The overall tone and feel is lovely! I like how simple the navigation is, too.

    My nitpicks are…

    – that my eye is drawn to the ad at the top first (usually you’d want my eye to go to your own logo/content first) and I think the ad gets an unnecessary amount of vertical space… but I suppose ads are what allow d*s to thrive in the first place, so I’ll deal.

    – and that the middle bar makes things too busy when it’s got stuff in it. (Something the last design did really well was create different layers/levels so that the eye wasn’t overwhelmed. This design is “flatter.”) But I do appreciate the functionality that the bar brings, in terms of filters and such. So maybe there’s nothing to be done about it.

    Sorry I can’t just keep my mouth shut about those 2 things. But really, 2 things are NOTHING in the big picture. This is a very nice redesign and I look forward to getting more acquainted with it. :)

  • FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC, as a designer renovating a 100 year old cottage with a boyfriend sans imagination this will be invaluable! So often do I remember what a chair or a door looked like but struggle to find it. Great work d*s!

  • How AWESOME!!!! (extra exclamation marks for you) Congratulations! The site looks amazing. I cannot wait to explore. Great work you guys.

  • Oh dear! I just read the comments! Design criticism is fine, but be realistic about the adverts guys, this website is so comprehensive, articles are well written, beautifully photographed and wonderfully diverse. You would pay $15+ for a magazine this quality without questioning the ads on every second page- I will happily ignore them for that saving- also a lot of the things people advertise on here are awesome and would take me ages to search for myself.

  • Congratulations on the new site – what a huge overhaul, so well thought out and great result! I know what you mean about wanting to reflect your style now as opposed to when you first started it. It’s like our interiors, even fashion and more often than not our businesses too – I think it’s important to keep an eye on these things and make sure they still work for us, I think it’s important to be able to see that change is necessary and to accommodate it.

  • Congratulations Grace, ALSO and the rest of the D*S team. The new site mirrors exactly the way D*S has evolved over the years, and I can’t wait to check it out!

  • This is so incredibly fabulous! I loooove the grays! Congrats on the new site design! I can’t wait to spend hours pouring through all the articles I may have missed. :)

  • Wow, looks great! A redesign is soooo much work–the site looks fantastic and you guys have so much to be proud of!

    Congratulations to your the whole team! Now hopefully you guys are toasting with a few tasty beverages! ;)

  • I am missing a lot of the navigation/headings when I look at this in my browser of choice – Firefox, (on a Mac).

    I have opened this in Safari to leave a comment (there is no comment tab in FF).

    Likewise there are none of the headings in the row with “Spaces/Places” etc. – they are missing in FF.

    “About” “contact” etc. ends up mashed up over the top of the search widget.

    The “Most Read of the Month” is missing.

    Here in Safari, the middle column is blank, and over in FF, it is missing all the headings.

    I know you will have teething problems – good luck with ironing them all out. I hope you take hearing about them as constructive help, and not as criticism, I think it will look fantastic, once I can see it as it was intended.

    • claire

      what version are you using? i use firefox on a mac to view the site and am not seeing those errors. did you clear your cache and refresh? either way, sorry about that and we’ll look into it asap.


  • Good look so far! The chalkboard color is so different (I’m often partial to white backgrounds) though this isn’t too dark. I like the top navigation bars and the “recently on D*S” part at the bottom. I can only imagine how necessary and tricky it was to re-tag/sort everything. Good organization and filtering is important.

  • Hi Grace, I have been reading your site for years. I like the dark background in the new design but I’m not sure if you’re seeing what I’m seeing. The huge horizontal Google Ad on top is covering part of your ribbon banner. No matter how good looking the ad is I think it should not be there.

  • Congrats, Grace and team! It’s gorgeous. I hope you’ll all be making good use of the “I want to… mix a drink” section, as it’s certainly well deserved.
    One note, in case it’s helpful: I can’t get the site to load properly in Camino (v. 2.0.7: post titles don’t display, the main nav bar is missing, and there are no category headers in the middle column), but maybe that’s all for the good — I probably should have moved over to Firefox ages ago. I’ll do it to get my pretty d*s fix.

    • caroline

      sorry about that, camino is a tough one to design for. i’d recommend moving over to firefox or chrome, but i’ll definitely tell our tech team to look into it in the morning :)


  • I LOVE the color scheme, ribbon detailing, and type choices! All fabulous, and very excited about the new search features- definitely a handy feature for more recent users like myself. Great job!

  • I love that the new look really highlights just how jam-packed the site is with truly original content. Big congratulations!

  • Grace, first of all, CONGRATULATIONS to you and the entire D*S team on the launch of the new site design. I know it was an enormous amount of work, and as a longtime reader and fan of your blog, it’s really quite touching that you care so much about your audience to put this much time and consideration into making this place as awesome as it possibly can be. You set the bar for other interiors/lifestyle bloggers really high, and you deserve all of the good things that have come as a result of your efforts. :)

    Now, that said (and you knew I’d have *something* to say, right?), there are a few blips and bugs and such that I noticed right off the bat—I know some have of these issues have already been mentioned, but I think it’s worth hearing something more than once if multiple readers are noticing certain things. I’ll put it in an email. ;)

  • I love it when websites geared more towards females use black! It’s such a bold statement. Coming from web/interactive designer, some things aren’t my favorite but I can deal for the most part. I do want to point out a couple of things though.
    • The salmon/pink headlines are a bit hard to read against the black background..maybe lighten the pink a bit?
    • The designer needs to pay closer attention to the backgrounds behind the ribbons. I may be the only one to see it, but there is definitely a difference between the ribbon’s background and the site’s background. I can see where they stopped erasing.

    Can’t wait to see how the site changes and evolves into this new design!

  • I like the organization more… (did prefer your other design though!)
    Just some little bugs for me –

    On Safari/Mac – the middle content bar that starts w/”diy”, doesn’t show up at all for me. Just see a dark grey empty column. Links at the bottom are also cutoff, I can’t scroll to the end of the page. Also, the chalkboard background tile isn’t seamless, I can see where it repeats – on a bigger monitor at least, it’s kinda distracting.

  • Hi, congratulations to the team and you! I am sure the design needs a bit of tweaking, but more than confident that you will be much more demanding on it, than I ever will be! :)

    However, i am one of those who visit your site a few times a day, had grown attached to the old site as well… would you not put a before and after, so that we will always remember what a pretty site it used to be?

  • I know you need to eat, but the top ad banner is really killing the new design.
    Also: the dark gray DIY column it’s no showing in inside pages, only on the home

  • this looks amazing!
    i have been reading this blog for 2 years now (ever since i was 13) and always thought that the blog was amazing but I LOVE this!
    I actually read D*S on Google Reader but this makes me want to come here to read the posts.
    Well done. :)

  • umm, just so that you know – the page is getting cut at the bottom and I can’t see the PEOPLE’s page anywhere! I am using IE8!

  • I agree with a few of the other comments in regards to the quality of the background images. You can pretty much see every seem. This was not done by someone proficient in Photoshop. The type looks really good, but the piecing together of the gray paper and ribbon images was done very poorly. Also, the ad at the top has got to go. I know you have to get money, but that is a very unfortunate placement!

  • ps. I’m using Chrome and I can’t see the column directly next to the main column (ie. I can’t see the DIY, etc.)

  • I think the redesign is a beautiful start to a new era for d*s. I think the extreme layering effect that was present in the old design was beautiful but that trend is changing and I think subtleness of the new design is great with these beautiful ribbon accents. The bottom bar is amazing and really makes the site feel more magazine – ish. The predominant neutral/dark colors really helps showcase posts and photos. I can’t wait to see how it evolves going forward.

    PS: The fact that you made a video along with this post to guide the user through the site is amazing and thoughtful. Always putting your reader’s and writers first, that’s why I love d*s.

  • Im having the same issue as claire, I use firefox on a mac and there are A LOT of elements missing. I have ad block, a firefox plugin, and i wonder if, because there are so many ads on the page, it is causing a lot of things to disappear. I LOVE the layout, so it is sad that it isnt working properly on all browsers. I don’t know if there is a way around it, but if you install ad block onto firefox, you will be able to see what happens and perhaps find a way around it. Sorry to be out with the negative, but I’d hate the site to be ruined because of this.

  • First off,

    I love the color scheme. Everything feels so sophisicated and fun! The comment area is absolutely beautiful and I love that I can easily find your comment.

    I kinda miss the layered effect that the previous layout had though.

    2nd, I’m using google chrome and the bottom part seems to be cut off. I’m sure you’re working on that already!

    The ad at the very top is blocking the ribbon picture. Moving it up would help.

    Great job on the redesign!!!

  • Hi! Congratulations on your new design launch! I really enjoyed the introductory video; it made the changes very apparent and easy to understand. I absolutely love the ‘Recently On’ section at the bottom of the page!

    I do have one critique though. The amount of space from the top of the page to the beginning of content is just really big. After initially loading a page on my MacBook this really struck me. Here is a screenshot of what I’m seeing: https://img.skitch.com/20110531-1w6aes3tdapbj466simqmqdsyw.png

  • Ditto to everything that Kristan said. Love the “recently on” section at the bottom, as well as the horizontal primary navigation and search bar. Also love the palette and the ribbons. They don’t look lo-res to me, they look perfect. Understand the issues with the ad. I’m sure you guys didn’t plan that. Biggest issue, really, is the middle column. I don’t know if it is just me, (well I guess Kristan would agree, perhaps) but I feel a little bombarded by the middle column, especially considering the size of the far right column and the number of images, it just feels like too much. I understand its purpose, but it is a bit chaotic on the home page. Subsequent pages aren’t as bad, though on this page, for example, it being gone feels like something is missing.

  • wow! this is so exciting!
    Design*Sponge is my home page since almost two year now!!!
    I haven’t got the time to go through everything (I will probably send you new comments later too…) but i like all the categories in each section (by theme, style…) Perfect when you are looking for a specific thing!
    REALLY nice work!
    love the ribbons too! :)

  • Congrats Grace and and d*sponge team! The site looks fab! Can’t wait to explore!

    A little bit of feedback (I know how hard it is to to get a site to preview and work ok across all browsers, so trying to be helpful and not at all negative) …on Safari Version 5.0.3 (6533.19.4) the DIY column isn’t showing up. Also the bottom is getting cut off at the colour your own candles post (I love that addition of recent posts by the way, a really nice touch).

    Congrats again! LOVE IT :)

  • I love the background of this amazing site, but i can’t see what is written between photos, i mean th main text of articles. I even didn’t mention that is written there. Can you make it more bright? or something…

  • Loving the new site layout, especially the color scheme & typography. Looks like you’re experiencing some technical difficulties, but I’m sure you’ll work out the kinks soon enough. Congrats Grace and the whole team on a fantastic job!

  • Love the new options and improved search engine.

    Really not big on the new look. The image rez is terrible for the ribbons. The footer gets cut off for me too. The middle bar becomes this empty odd space when ever I click on a post. Nothing against the adds, you guys need a living after all ;) But the top one really kills the look. Also an odd color palette for a summer launch, feels heavy and dark, and much more wintery. With the ribbon it’s even christmassy… Not sold on it yet.

  • Big congrats on the site redesign Grace & D*S team. It looks awesome.
    It’s interesting to read everyone’s comments about the ads, I use adblock on firefox so I don’t see any ads whatsover; I had to open in IE to see what the fuss was about. It’s such a tricky scenario when it comes revenue/ paying contributors in blog land. We as readers need to appreciate we get so much amazing content for free.
    The only tech issues I’ve come across is the Our Team page not displaying correctly/ missing content and the footer box at the bottom of this page being cut off at the bottom…but hey, there’s bound to be teething issues!

  • the new design looks great, overall. it looks very martha stewart-ish in a good, modern yet a bit whimsical way. i’m on firefox and can’t scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, it gets cut off and some of the images i notice are distorted and/or warped.

  • I don’t know what you did but it now works in firefox on mac with ad block. So if anyone out there is offended by the ads, get adblock on firefox and you won’t see them :)

  • Love the new redesign and color palette, but I have to agree with Eduardo about the top ad banner. It’s a bit too distracting, especially with ‘ads by google’ in the bottom right corner. I might reconsider that one section. Otherwise a job well done. Congrats!

  • Grace, I love the color palette, font, and logo. It looks great and I can’t wait to explore the new features! I guess if I had to choose something I didn’t like, it would be the groups of different colored ribbons at the top, bottom, and right – especially the group at the top because it draws attention from your awesome logo and the cool font at the top of the page. The peachy pinky blush ribbon that’s paired with “I WANT TO” looks nice – the color looks great with the gray.

  • I love that along with a redesign, you undertook a whole ux overhaul. Especially making it easier to search for specific things! But since you asked for comments about the site I just wanted to echo some of the points made earlier by Heather, Meg, and Andrea. The dark gray background image (bg.jpg )needs to redone to be made seamless as right now you can see a slight horizontal line in the the image that’s being repeated. The ribbons look a bit superfluous and could probably be better integrated into the overall design with some more work, but the ribbon that bothers me the most is the one acting as the top border under the blog post title (bg_post_border.png). It looks unintentionally blurry while the other ribbons are much more crisp. Also the font weight for the blog post title is too thin, making it difficult to read. It’s a headline so it should be fine to make that font a bit thicker.

    I love your blog, and Im digging the direction of the new design, it just needs a few tweaks here and there.

  • I am a big fan of D*S and I love the new design. I think that with a few tweaks the teething problems with the UI can be ironed out. Here are some tweaks that I can think of:

    Issue #1: Ad banner at the top is overlaid on the ribbons
    Tweak: Changes to style.css:-
    line 165: remove padding, set height to 216px
    line 167: set padding to 1px, set margin-left to auto

    Issue #2: Footer links are cut off at the bottom
    Tweak: Changes to style.css:-
    line 186: comment out the height or replace it with height:auto

    Further suggestions for optimizing the space above the fold:-
    1) Instead of having a leaderboard (728×90) ad, use a full banner (468×60) ad.
    2) Position the full banner (468×60) ad to the top right hand corner.
    3) Move the secondary navigation bar further to the top, right next to the ribbon.

    This is easier to understand when you look at a mockup here:

    Keep up the good work. :-)

  • LOVE it! I like the narrowing down filters and the “recently at Design Sponge” The most. Everyone deserves champagne! What a huge effort.

  • “I really loved your old design and am not one prone to leaving negative comments, but I think your redesign is lacking. The first thing I see when your page loads is a giant ad for Sears. The low res ribbon image separating posts and the stretched and low res images in the footer are poorly designed. On the topic of the footer, the content gets cut off in my browser. I think your last design had more character, I admire the attempt to make the site more functional and easier to navigate but I think you’ve over complicated things in the end, sacrificing both aesthetic and functional aspects.”

    I second this previous comment.

  • Congratulations team d*s!!this is awesome..I can’t get over the number and nature of of features you have tackled here..no wonder it took the time it took!the new layout looks more sophisticated and streamlined..the darker background however makes the ads pop a little too much..since you are already working on it I’m sure it will be sorted out soon..I love the user friendliness of the new site and it sure is VERY comprehensive..getting used to it may take some time but it will be a fun ride!great job!! xx meenal
    PS: I could not comment using explorer.it doesnot show the submit button. Had to comment using safari.

  • Beautiful redesign. I especially love the top right “I Want To” navigation and bottom day-by-day summaries. They seem like they’ll be VERY helpful when I’m trying to find a post I may have forgotten to save. And I LOVE the real ribbon pieces.
    The only thing bad I could say is the blog title is a little hard to read, but other than that great and awesome job!

  • Congratulations, Grace and the Team: wow! Looks amazing, looking forward to continuing exploring, growing and being inspired with you!
    Valentina in faraway Cyprus

  • Oh! I prefer the old design so much better!
    The white/offwhite background was just more soothing, this seems rather harsh.
    Text size for ‘most read’ is just way too small!

    Kudos on the search navigation! Love that!

  • Congratulations! I haven’t had time to use all the new features yet but I’m looking forward to it.

    This is a rather specific redesign comment, and probably only affects me, but I have a habit of highlighting areas of text as I read/write, and it’s difficult to read and edit text with the purple highlight color. It would be helpful if it was a lighter shade, especially when highlighting text while editing comments, but again, it’s probably only an issue for the few people like me.

  • Congratulations on your new layout! I lovereading this blog, however now, when I’m reading it on my ipad, using safari, it won’t let me zoom as much as I would like, since the main coloumn is quite small on my ipad that is a shame… Don’t know if I’m the only one with this problem.

  • I’m having the same FF/Mac issues that others have mentioned. That said, what I do see looks fantastic! Just thinking about how much work this was for you and your team makes *me* exhausted! Can’t wait to thoroughly investigate when I’m fresh in the morning.

  • wow very very beautiful! really nice work! Love the comment form styling! and i find the over all look so much more modern than the old without loosing personality. -i guess, from the other comments, that i helps that im viewing the site add free, but i really think you did a fantastic job on the redesign! congratulations!! Im a web designer myself and know all the work and choices behind it all! good job!

  • I really enjoy the new way to search for things. But i think the titles of the “most read of the month” category are way too tiny. It would be great to have a bigger side for those. Thank you.

  • Yum Yum! Classy, simple, elegant; makes me feel like a laaaady! Kinda channels our inner Audrey Hepburn methinks. Also, wasn’t “Design Sponge” a great name in the first place? Just been ruminating on it like never before. Can’t wait for the book now! All the best from you biggest Irish fan!

  • Love the colours, the new organization. Wonderful job and it must have been a huge amount of work getting all those posts categorized.

    The big ad across the header is difficult (please, please, please put it somewhere else…!), but I saw in the comments that you’re working on it…the side bar ads don’t disturb me at all…
    I’m not really convinced about the darker grey column in the middle. I understand what it is doing, but it makes things a bit busy when content appears and it cuts off the peach post header ribbon and looks a bit lost when it has no content.

    But these are just bits – All in all I really like the look, and I think this dark background is wonderful, while the ribbon and the colour combination brings in a feminine touch. Congratulations!

  • What a great redesign! I really like the ribbons, good choice!

    I do have some things annoying me
    – the add in the top banner is REALLY killing it (not only is it too distracting from your site name, the design of the add is ruining the colours and design of your site!)
    – when I choose something in the primary navigation, I get a list of posts with smaller images like this one http://www.designspongeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/1_bond-90×90.jpg. The image is obviously on a 90×90 res (look at the name), while it is displayed at 150×150 px. It resutls in blurry low-res pics, and in an unprofessional look… Antoher example: this image http://www.designsponge.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/shelficon.jpeg is a 110×110 displayed at a 150×150 res.
    – Also, the page is cut off at the bottom here as well (using IE9).
    – the front page is quite overloaded – a bit more white space (dark space in your case :)) in between columns would definitely benefit the design.

    The search section is great, :clappy for you for tagging all those posts! I really love this site, I am a daily reader!

  • I adore your site! Truly, I LOVE it! But… I’m struggling with the black background as I can’t see any of the pink text on top of the black (I’m using Opera.) Also, there is an odd darker black strip down the centre. I hope these minor issues can be resolved. All the best with the little fixes.

  • Loving the colour scheme ribbon motif, but I have to agree with some people about that banner ad at the top, maybe repositioning it somewhat will work better? I want to know what/who I’m reading before I know who advertises with them. I read above that you’re working on it, I hope you find a solution that manages to bring in the revenue without sacrificing look and feel!

  • Congratulations! It really is a very different and new way for a decor blog with the dark brown background! I love it and designsponge gets really unique through that!

    Yours, Theresa

  • Got the shock of my day (I won’t say life, a tad dramatic) when I opened up your page. Love the colours and the overall design but I couldn’t even see the whole header design as it was covered in ads. Can you move this one?

  • Hi Grace,

    Beautiful design! Just a quick note – the developer has put a height on the footer which means it gets cut off – tell him to remove it (line 186 in your stylesheet – #site-footer) and it will fix the prob.

  • Hi Grace and all the girls and guys from the D*S team,
    Goodmorning and congratulations.
    I think the new site looks smart and sophisticated.Love the ribbon design, and yes, OK, there may be some issues ( agree to a point about having a huge ad on top of the page ) but overall I think you have the right decision and I love the way you can navigate and have an overview at the bottom for things you have missed.Now crack open the champagne !! ( You probably will actually start trouble shooting !! :-)))
    ( ps I am using Firefox and I only have three white lines under the comment box, with no indication for where should go what, and don’t really know where name, email address and webaddress should go, so hope this works !!

  • Congratulations on the new design! It looks pretty!

    I did really enjoy the old layout, though and am finding this one a bit complicated to navigate, especially as it was not really clear where to find my favourite, the Sneak Peaks, at first glance. Also, I have to agree with previous commenters on the ad placement at the top. It actually obscures part of the title, which doesn’t seem right!

  • I love Design Sponge, I read it EVERY day. I love grey, love love lovvve it. But it’s so dark behind everything on here… it makes me feel so down and drab… If only it were lighter. (Am I the only one seeing it this dark??) Argh the perils of a visual change on a long running blog. But you have done a great job. Love it.

  • Well done Grace and team – the new logo design and navigation looks great!

    One small bug – on the individual post page the left margin is only a few pixels wide. I’m in the latest version of firefox on a mac : )

  • I’ve search every combination of terms I can think of and I still can’t find the instructions for making embroidered mitered napkins. Please, please tell me it’s still here

  • I hate to be hater, but yikes. I understand you need to support the staff, but you see ads before you even see the name of the blog. Makes it very difficult to appreciate your delicious photography. Love the “recently” summary bar at the bottom but I don’t get the ribbons…

  • New look is great, but too bad the tacky ads cover up the beautiful page header and are the first thing I see…

  • I really liked the old site:( The design on this new site is too busy and like other people have said, the ads are overbearing. The navigation improvements were well worth the effort ladies, but I think as a whole this is a big step back for Design Sponge. The new design feels amateurish and failed to gain an added sophistication you were after. The ribbon isn’t high res enough to really work and it just looks like it was slapped on the page. Also, I don’t feel like the new logo really conveys what the website is really about and it should reflect the authoritative voice of Design Sponge (because this site really is a leader in this realm). This is constructive criticism because I love this site and want it to be the best that it possibly can but I don’t think you will attract new readers/advertisers with this attempt.

  • This may have been brought up before (sorry, I am at work and have no time to read all the comments). I am using Firefox and the your banner gets cut off (even the D and the S of Design Sponge are clipped). And I don’t see the DIY column. But overall it looks fantastic! Congrats!!!

  • Well done. I love your instructional video, I think it made for a much more seamless transition. Also thank you for you comment on the ads, it’s the thoughtfulness of comments like that which make design sponge such a winner.

  • Grace, this looks lovely! I did find a few errors or bugs:
    – In the “I Want to” navigation, there is nothing filed under “Plan a Party.”
    – When you click on one of the links under “I Want to” and it goes to the category page, all of the links under “I Want to” disappear.
    Sorry if I’m repeating any comments or something you were aware of. I tried reading everything, but you’ve got lots of response from the redesign!

    • MJ

      it should work now- sorry it’s tagged correctly but it was listed as a draft in the backend, rather than a live post. just fixed it. thanks for catching that!


  • Too much Advertising!!!
    Actually I prefer the past version….Pure, Clean and centered….
    White backgrounds are better for blogs with a lot of coloured pictures.
    Be also careful with your elements….the ribbons at the top are not that well integrated and gives a feeling of “amateurism” ( blur)….
    I’m really sorry to be that critical, but as a graphic designer, my eyes seem to be a little bit too ‘picky’…lol
    Anyway, I still love your blog and will continue to follow you!

    ps: Sorry for the bad english (I’m french!)

    • sarah

      we’re working on the blurry issue, it’s not happening in all the versions, it’s something only a few browser types are having- and it’s definitely not intended.

      we actually only have 1 additional ad unit compared to before, it’s just in a new location. that said, i’m working on trying to find a way to better integrate it.


  • On first glance, I find the actual blog is lost with everything aroung it. It should be center stage. Seems the ads and the various sections take too much emphasis.
    I will however give myself a few days to get used to it.
    Your blog has always been like a bust of fresh air amidst a busy day. I will see if the dark background still achieves that serenety.
    Love the ribbon motif on top. beautiful.

  • it’s gorgeous, grace + co. nice work!
    i love that everything feels so clean – and i like the subtle lines between the ads, too – it feels easier to see and less overwhelming to me. the colors are super nice, too.

  • The new site looks lovely! I like how colours of the new site contrasts with the old one. Although I don’t get the same homey feel. I’ll get used to it. Keep up the good work!

  • first off, congratulations! i’ve been a long time reader of ds and have always found it to be a staple in my morning routine for daily inspiration. as far as the new site design goes, i love the grey, but the ribbons are a little much for me. just thought i’d throw in the male perspective (which, i admit, is a minority one). i’m not against the idea of ribbons all together, but the way they are used now kind of makes me feel like i’m on site shopping for lingerie.

    as for the ad debate, i don’t think it’s a big deal. i come here for the content. if a huge ad at the top is what allows me to view content for free, i’m all for it. anyways, congrats again, and keep up the great work.

  • Grace, I have no doubt your heart and soul went into this (the contributors and ALSO’s as well). It looks completely gorgeous, totally a move in the more sophisticated direction (not that I didn’t love the old site) and KUDOS on the new organization and search tools — truly awesome. I can’t even imagine how much work all of this was. Congrats. And I watched the video yesterday, super helpful. PS – love that bling of gold ma’am!** ;) xo

  • I think it looks lovely! A nice change to something fresh and different for the site. With any change will come lots of criticism, some warranted and some not….keep on trucking and this too shall pass!

  • Oh my. Everything’s wonderful (although I will admit I’ll kinda miss the old linen look–change is hard for me)! I love the new, improved nav. This may be too soon to mention, but the ads and graphics are a little wonky on my browser (safari).

    Great work, everyone!

  • I am a huge fan of your blog, and appreciate all the work that went into this redesign. But I find the new design really difficult to read, and the ad at the top makes it impossible to see those ribbons! I understand the need for more advertising, but hope you can reposition a bit.

  • The new functions are so well thought out!!! That is amazing. Although, the black background and the many ribbons distract me quite a bit from the content of the posts. I really liked the cozy and homey feeling of the old design! Is it possible to bridge the two somehow? Anyway, I love your site!

  • I miss seeing the actual times that people commented. Any chance this could become a part of the new site? Thanks!

  • Yikes! First Gawker, now this O.o The ads are killing IE 8 for me and I must say I found the old design to be more engaging and professional looking. The weird looking ribbon pics invoke the look of a broken or badly made template instead of the eye candy that was DS of yore.

    I do like the felt like pin board-y background and weekly summary, although I’d prefer to have the latter stuck somewhere up top. I’m sure forthcoming tweaks will meld DS into the that sophisticated older sister Grace is shooting for, but I’ll pass on reading it for awhile.

  • I was completely shocked (in a good way!) when I saw the new website!! Absolutely amazing! Don’t get me wrong, I loved the previous site but this is fantastic!! I LOVE DESIGN SPONGE!!!!! :)

  • I do not like the new design at all. I think the layout is fine, and the user interface is fine, but the graphics are completely in consistent with your previous brand and I don’t think appropriate for the content of the site.

    You should have kept with the original color scheme, this one is too dark. You should have at least referenced the old design with the new one for continuity.

    Hopefully you can make some revisions and keep the light and fun look of the last one with the new site interface.

  • Your ads running along the right side used to be a charming part of the blog, now they just look like ads. Also the banner ad at the very top is awful. I appreciate your need for income, but really….

  • i love the colors and mood of the site. as many have stated, the ads are a huge detractor. i don’t mind the actual ads themselves though the first thing i see when the site loads is a huge ad at the top that covers all your beautiful work. this is really the only ad that bothers me since it is right on top of the ribbons you so thoughtfully selected. it is just a shame to spend so much time and money on something just to have it hidden behind an ad for crocs. so far this is my only complaint. you can tell this was a labor of love so congrats overall.

  • To the entire team:
    I’m sure plenty of people will point out bugs, and as I surf around perhaps I’ll find some to report as well, but knowing what a massive undertaking this was, I want to commend the entire team on what I feel is an exceptionally well interfaced site. The UX is much, much more friendly and I think the advertising, all necessary, has been as minimized as possible. If we are to continue enjoying DS, we must also enjoy the advertising, its the way it goes :)

    Over time, and through testing, you’ll continue to refine the layout and design… as it should be. But for now, please, accept my congratulations and appreciation for the huge undertaking.

    Separately, how bout a little love for WORDPRESS for being such a great platform that it enables DS.

  • Wow! I love the new design! While I loved the previous look, I totally get the more grown up/older sister feel of this one. Beautiful – thanks for all the amazing work you do and the daily inspiration!

  • Congratulations Grace! It’s BEAUTIFUL. Must investigate thoroughly, but I’m loving it already. I’ve been a loyal reader since the beginning and I find something inspiring at DS every single day.

  • Oh you pretty Chitty Bang Bang!
    Love the surface look (I MEAN HELLO RIC RACK)…. but I appreciate the internal rewiring far more. This must have been quite the mountain to climb. Many thanks :) Well done!

  • This is absolutely fantastic! (If I’m not wrong, the dark background helps save energy so I’m loving it.) I’m so excited that I’m having a hard time focusing on any of the content right now, just trying to wrap my head around this new gorgeousness: so sophisticated! Can’t wait to see it without the top banner.

    Congrats, Grace and team. You did good!

  • The new site is amazing and a wonderful surprise for me today. The navigation is great and it look beautiful! Congrats!

  • Yikes! ADS!

    The colors and design are nice, but I actually liked the simplicity of the old “everything down the middle, read it in order” format.

  • Thanks for the explanation of the new site, Grace – it’s very clear, and I can’t wait to take advantage of the new search tools! Everything looks beautiful too.

  • Congratulations, I can appreciate what a huge task this has been, and I don’t even know the first thing about web design. I’m from the “Old School” of graphic design where all you had to do to change a layout was peel it off the board and reposition it. Which is what I’d like to do with your top ad, just move it over to the right and let us see that beautiful bundle of ribbon. Your original layout was cute and scrap-bookie and this new sophisticated big sister better reflects the level of design you feature on your site that we all come here to lust after, keep it up girls! and guy(s?) . . . .

  • I really like how the site looks; it’s very classy, and the ribbons are gorgeous. I’ll admit it’s a little busier than I usually like, but I think that the increase in navigation and content make it SO much better overall–a little busy-ness is enormously useful. I really REALLY love the colors and the added features.

    Regarding the ad at the top–do you think maybe it could just be moved up a tiny bit more? I don’t mind it at the top of the page at all, but it’s on your beautiful logo! I know you’re working to integrate it smoothly and I’m sure you probably already had that idea, but I know the stress of trying to fix bugs in such a big project can also kill creativity (at least, that’s what it does to me anytime I finish a big project of any sort).

    Also–I’m viewing on Safari, about one update behind current, on a four-year-old macbook, and the entire middle column is empty. The amount of open space is nice, but I know that’s not how you meant it to be. I saw a bunch of comments from firefox users but few from safari users who were having this same issue.

  • Brilliant! Love it all. Now I have to schedule more time each morning than I used to, to browse, admire, soak up, and delve into than I used to. Gargantuan, time-consuming makeovers. THANKS!

  • Congratulations, Grace and the Design Sponge team! The new site is absolutely gorgeous and really clear to navigate through. I love how elegant the site is while still having a handmade touch with all of the ribbons. Everyone’s hard work has definitely paid off!

  • Love the new layout! the only thing i don’t like is the ads by google banner right on top. i think it ruins the whole beautiful layout for me.

  • I think the new site is lovely, but I’d been holding my breath for a way to filter by room/feature, and unless I’m missing something, I don’t see a way to do so here. Is there a way to, say, pull up all of your kitchen shots? Or bathrooms, or exteriors, etc.? We got a taste of it with your roundups, but they weren’t exhaustive. (Apologies if you’re already hashed this issue out elsewhere and I missed it. )

    • hi suzanne

      we’re building in a new filter for “best ofs” that will contain those posts. but when we went to retag 1000 homes by room we realized they ALL had good rooms in those categories so it wasn’t much of a filter.


  • um WOW. the new ‘archive search’ function is amazing. i’m pinching myself that this site is free. really?? free?? i keep waiting for the catch, you’ve added SO MUCH value with this re-design. it’s not just a new pretty ‘skin’ it’s a total tech-savvy overhaul! congrats!!!

  • I don’t know if it’s the font color, size, resolution, or the reverse on the mottled gray background but everything seems out of focus.

  • It looks really good, congrats! My only complaint is that I hate it when main content is on the left and the sidebar is on the right… I’m not sure why, but I find it super annoying. I might just be a naysayer though. It’s a great look!

  • NOO, this new site won’t load properly on our work computers so no more reading DS on my lunch break. Sadface.

    • daisy

      can you tell me what browser and version you’re using on those computers? we’ll work on it. we’re trouble shooting all day (and all week) until it’s all fixed.


  • I agree with the commenters that the design seems a little unfocused and less cohesive than it’s previous incarnation. The dark grey bar to the right looks unintentional and you are definitely having resolution issues all over the site. If you are going to continue to have those top banners in the same position I would remove the cluster of ribbons at the top, seems a shame to cut them off like that. The dividers that show up on the side with the raspberry colored ribbons look out of place, I would just have kept all the accents peach colored so you don’t have so many different hierarchies. The old DS had a lot of elements, maybe even more than this site, but they were stationary so it had a more organized look to it.

    I like the general idea and I think with some tweaks you’ll have a perfect site.

  • Congratulations Grace & the D*S team! And thanks for all your hard work. You’ve brought me many hours of inspiration, procrastination, ambition and just plain wow! moments. People never used to say “OMG, I love your apartment, it’s so cute” Now they do! All the time! Thanks again

  • I agree with those who think this is a little dark for a summer launch. this feels very chic but very winter. As others have said, that was one of the things I liked most about the old site – it was refreshing. The new design doesn’t have that quality.

  • Oh, I want so very badly to LOVE this! Pretty color palette, but it feels a bit busy to me at the top with the center column right next to the blog posts. Could you not just rely on the tabs at the top for navigation? Otherwise, do think it is a fun, feminine girly new look. Congrats!

  • Wah! Nearly fell of my chair when I loaded this today, haha. It’s lovely! I really, really like it. And I was literally JUST trying to search D*S for ideas on party planning and found it quite a struggle with the old format. I think I may have to give it another try with this awesome new layout! Wee!

    I imagine by now this has probably been mentioned by other commenters, but it definitely would be nice to have a “Leave a Comment” spot higher up the page, like before the posted comments. Or is it up higher somewhere that I’m just not seeing?

    • hi christina

      if you watch the video above it will walk you through that- you just click the comment bubble at the top of each post to comment. or click “read more” to dive into the comment section :)


  • I read through all of the comments and have to say that I like the simplicity and cleanliness of the re-design: new logo and post-fonts and info. I haven’t clicked around too much, but did listen to the tutorial and played around with the the Sneak Peek filters – and have to say I REALLY like the way those posts are organized. My favorite part of the new design is the “week-at-a-glance” list of posts at the bottom. It’s a great way for me to get to a previous post without having to hit “older posts” or “newer posts” once we hit the bottom of the page on the old design. As always, I appreciate Grace’s advice to new blogs, to watch how posts are tagged. My question is, can you tag too many items? I try to keep the tags simple, but now I’m second-guessing myself. Which is more important – how you categorize your posts? or how you tag them?

  • Thank you for your hard work!! I LOVE the new navigation, and the entire look of the site. I can’t tell you how many times I couldn’t find what I was looking for in the old searches … can’t wait to overuse this feature!!

  • Grace,
    I’m not sure if I’m still confused or something, but when I click the comment bubble it takes me to the comments, after which a bit of scrolling is required to actually reach the field to leave a new comment (especially when there’s 200+ comments!). I can’t remember how it was with the old layout, but it would be nice if we didn’t have to wade through the existing comments in order to leave our own. I’m going to feel like a real dummy if I’m still missing something… :)

  • Hello! Sort of love the new design and sort of don’t. Love the colour scheme and ribon detailing but I have two major problems. 1) The banner ad at the top. I get ads are important but its the first thing people see and it looks increidbly disjointed. 2) Both side bar columns look disjointed. There’s too much going on and nothing looks aligned, neat, or organized. I love Design Sponge. I check it religiously every morning. I’m sure I’ll get use to your changes and trust that the DS team made them for the right reasons, I just hope you’ll take some of our usability comments into consideration. Keep up all the wonderful work!

  • It’s beautiful and perfect. I’m excited to see it get further refined (with the tailored ads, etc). I am OBSESSED with the dark paper-looking back ground and the ribbon images! Soooo beautiful. I love how the ribbons just pop off the page. Great work! Definitely the “sophisticated older sister”! ;)

  • Love the new site! Totally feels like the older sister of the old site. Classy but still playful and cute.

  • I read designsponge e v e r y d a y….. Congrats!!! I absolutely LOOOOVEEEEE the new design!!! thanks!!!

  • I will miss the old site design, but this is beautiful! I love the colors and the new style. My only critique is that I preferred when the main body of text was more central on the page. I keep wanting to scroll sideways because it feels off balance. It’s weird, but it makes my neck hurt. Perhaps if the DIY/etc column was on the left side of the screen.

    Unlike others, I am not at all bothered by the banner at the top or the larger ads along the side. Your site brings me so much joy, I am in support of whatever allows you to keep it going. Keep up the good work!

  • Congratulations!! What a lovely change!! It is very grown up and sophisticated, I love that your blog is growing up along with the rest of us!! xo

  • Wow. I don’t really know what to say. Devoted reader here– you have been my default homepage (@work and @home) for the past +4 years. I’m loving all the new functionality of the site. However design and layout, not so much. The whole look feels really unsettling to me, maybe because there’s nowhere for your eye to rest? The thin pink type on the dark grey background is really difficult to see– not so good for headers. The dark column to the right of the main posts and then the bits of ribbon and ric-rac just floating around the site are all very distracting and sloppy looking– it worked on the last site but I’m really not feeling it here. Huge bummer!

  • I think everything you do is pretty inspiring and I’m excited as a reader to be along for the ride. I do hope the team finds away to visually integrate the banner ad better, either by removing the ribbons it covers and having a solid color field behind the ad, or something along these lines. Since it’s the first thing you see, it seems like a shame to devalue your aesthetic, which is so lovely and well integrated throughout the rest of the re-design. Congratulations on your new debut. xoxo

  • Grace, I admire all the hard work you’ve done to categorize and tag your backlog of posts! What an effort that must have been! I’m looking forward to using your new & more efficient search options in the future.

    I also really like your choice to go for a darker color scheme. Your new design looks like the ribbons and written elements have been scattered across a tabletop, ready for a DIY project. The difficulty with this, though, is that I feel compelled to reach out and move the banner ad off of those beautiful, curled ribbons!

    For me, the banner ad is not a problem because of its ad-ness. It’s easy enough to scroll down past an ad, and I know you have to make money somehow. The problem for me is rather that the curled ribbons seem to embellish the ad, not your logo, and thus link the ad to your site design in a way that feels, confusingly, too integrated.

    I love the ribbons and title for “Recently at Design Sponge.” I wonder if you’ve considered reversing the placement of those lovely and effective horizontal ribbons + bundle, putting them at the top of your page with your logo, and moving the curled ribbons to the bottom as a whimsical coda to a more clearly structured top-of-page design.

    Other thoughts:
    –Thanks for putting each post’s author above the title. It was always hard for me in the old design to identify your many contributors’ voices, and I’m looking forward to becoming more familiar with your authors’ names and columns.

    –The gold ribbons in the left margin, marking the beginning of each post, are a really great idea. I feel, though, that they contribute to the super left-sided-ness of your pages because a snippet of the culminating, central curl is cut off. My eyes feel invited to follow the ribbon from one end to the other, but then they get led right off the page!

    Congratulations on the new site design, I’m sure you had to make a million decisions, and I’m sure however you decide to fix the ad portion at the top, the improvement will be grand!

  • I know that the month and year are in the permalink, but where is the exact date for each post? I’m not seeing it on the live page or on the permalinked post. Am I just not looking in the right spot?
    Otherwise, great job Grace and team!

    • hi diana

      we cut the dates out of the links because they didn’t seem as relevant any more, but if we get a lot of complaints i’ll consider throwing them back in ;)


  • not really sure about the layout…my eyes are drawn more to the google ads then anything else. and then after that my eyes don’t know where to go…the sizes of the side bars are too similar and it’s strange that all the content boxes are at different heights. i want to look at the website, i loved the website, but i’m too annoyed to really stay. i wish there had been more time spent on the composition.

  • great site! i must say that the banner and right-hand ads are really overwhelming and make me totally dizzy. that’s a lot of ads.

    • josie

      i’m not sure if you’re familiar with the old site, but we literally only have 2 more ads than normal. shouldn’t be too overwhelming or dizzying ;)


  • I understand the look you are going for, but you’re not there yet. The top of your page (that portion that you see when you first land on the site) is way too busy. In this respect, your old site beats this one hands down. But if you perhaps change the proportions of some of the items in the sidebars (or the sidebars themselves), it might look “cleaner” and sleeker. I applaud your decision to improve the navigation and “searchability”/access to popular topics/posts. Love the “Recently at Design Sponge” area at the bottom of the page. Keep up the good work — don’t stop working on the redesign now — please. A few more tweaks, and the site will be perfect!

  • Oh my goodness! Grace, it’s lovely. But more so is your ability to gracefully handle all this criticism. It certainly shows how dedicated, faithful and invested your readers are into D*S. I can’t imagine launching a redesign and fielding so many criticisms.

    Bravo for choosing a brave color scheme that makes you stand out! I love it.

  • Grace – While I agree with previous comments about a few needed tweaks (just a few!), I love this design. Dark grey, pink, orange, and gold…my favorite colors!

    This was obviously a huge amount of work.

    Thank you D*S team!

  • Oh, it looks so pretty! Nice work! :) It’s too bad the google ads at the very top of the page cover up your pretty new header though. I’m sure you’re working on that.

  • Wow! I’ve always loved the look of Design Sponge and it was even inspiration for my own blog, but you guys have really taken it such a huge jump further! I’m going to visit even more now just to look at the site. I love the ribbons and the whole feel of the website. Plus, I recently had the hardest time looking up a biz ladies post I had read a while back so all these new features will make searching SO much easier. You all are too amazing! Thank you for yet another beautiful design – you’re truly design experts and your new look proves you know what looks fabulous!

  • I like the direction of the new design, but the format of the ads is a little bit unsettling and distracting… to the point of making my beloved design sponge looking cheap. (It might be the iAd that’s giving that effect, so perhaps you should limit your ad networks to less premium locations… if a jcrew ad was running at the top of the page, i think it would probably be a lot more complementary to the site.)

    Working for a website, I understand that change isn’t always received well. I love the color scheme and the sophisticated direction you’re headed. Looking forward to more updates soon!

  • It’s gorgeous! Who wouldn’t want to work with you or for you, Grace? For you show your gratitude and appreciation for all of those who are on your “team”.

    Great Job to all! It’s got that feeling of newness but with a little vintage love tossed in…..Oh it couldn’t be more PERFECT! I can’t imagine the time and effort to make this all “happen”. Welcome to your new home, d*s. xoxo

  • p.s. if you could bring back the “preview comment” feature, that would be amazing . . . I had no idea I’d written that much in my comment above! Sorry! :)

  • Overall, great job but I have to echo the difficulties expressed using Firefox on a Mac. There are missing elements of the design (the main navigation bar, for one) and the middle column looks odd – not at all what I expect you had in mind. I read D*S everyday and am a huge fan so I’m looking forward to the new bug-free site. Take a breath – we all love you!

  • Grace, Please advise how/where to purchase a copy of Le Sucre which you featured. I have been trying for months everywhere. It is apparently unavailable in the U.S. Thanks.

  • Pros:Big kudos for understanding that designing and formatting access to the information/content is a core part of the design experience. “Pretty” websites or print publications where you can’t find what you need are real bugbears.
    Cons: When reading the site on an iPad or other mobile device, your interface does not allow the user to thumb-finger expand the size of the page. Nor does it provide an option to go to the regular/non-mobile site. Instead, the reader is forced to squint down on a page of mouse type.
    This is a HUGE problem for me personally. I have vision and eye comfort issues and now do almost all my surfing on my iPad, specifically because it is so easy to enlarge the text of the main content column to fill the screen in the horizontal orientation. After reading the article, it’s easy to scroll around to view the other materials and maybe follow some ad links.
    Too bad. I enjoyed reading your blog during my morning coffee break, but I’ll have to quit now thanks to the locked down small type.

    • wrenassiance

      i hope you won’t let a tough day deter you from ever reading again. as i mentioned above we’re de-bugging all week and we’re working on this ipad issue now. we tested it on our ipad at home and can’t replicate the error, so our tech team is trying to figure out why it appears on some ipads, but not others. i wouldn’t stop talking to a friend of mine if she wore a bright new shirt i didn’t like, so i see this the same way. just mention the problem and we’ll do our best to fix it and find a way for you to keep coming back to hang out with us ;)


  • The new design is beautiful. So is the way you deal with critical comments. I read Design Sponge because the sight is classy and positive, and I look forward to reading the newly designed sight as well!

  • Hi Grace,
    At the risk of being in the minority, I too miss the aesthetic of the old site… I think the new grey/peach/pink palette work well together but I feel the red and gold ribbons are a little garish and the combinations of those colors (especially the red) clash fairly decisively with peach and pink. I do think your lovely pink DS banner on grey is a nice touch (wish it were a bit larger) as it evokes chalkboard typography which is currently all the rage. I think the reason some feel there appear to be more ads to the right is they now live on a medium grey background instead of the previous white background which makes them pop forward because of greater visual contrast. I’m a practicing graphic designer… so the magnitude of your effort is not lost on me. The biggest visual drag for me however is the ad at the top of the page—it really cheapens the look and feel of your blog. I will continue to be a devoted follower of DS and very much appreciate all your great content… Just not too wild about the new visual direction. Sorry. PS~ your DS mark/logo has been digitally condensed to fit in the calendar at the bottom… perhaps it could be stacked in two lines to fit that space better and to keep its typographic integrity.

  • Having so much fun exploring the new site. Wondering if you can add years to your choices when narrowing down the sneak peek (i.e. medium, rental, Michigan, 2007). I liked being able to scroll down through the sneak peaks and look at old ones.
    Thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond to so many comments!

  • That big banner ad at the top really leaves a bad taste. It makes me feel like this is becoming a commercial site and I’m going to get shouted at with ads and product placements. I’ve always found your sidebar ads interesting and click on them often, but that big ad for internet access at the top just starts things off badly.

  • Grace and ALSO, congrats! As always, you are trailblazers. The new features are amazing and streamlined and the design is pretty as a picture. xoxo

  • I have just been reading all the comments made by folks and I have to say, the negative comments are exhausting. They are redundant and clearly show that folks haven’t taken the time to see that you are responding to the issues, making note of issues and still hammering out the kinks. Readers, my goodness. Give Grace a break. She works incredibly hard to bring fresh content to her readers everyday. She goes around the world and back again to bring material to her site that you can’t find anywhere else. You not liking the color of a ribbon or placement of an ad, or what line 167 is doing completely disregards all her hard work. 15 year old Brittany said it best, “I read it in my google reader anyway, but this redesign makes me want to visit the site more.” I think the new site looks amazing!!!! You and your team have clearly worked very hard to bring readers all these new changes. Thank you. ***These are just my personal opinions of all the 280 comments before mine.

  • such a monumental undertaking and it looks gorgeous! clearly you and your team put much consideration into both form and function, which underscores why design*sponge is my must-read design blog each and everyday. don’t let the naysayers get you down. you all have done a spectacular job bringing your vision alive. the entire team should be so proud.

  • Hi Grace, I am using Opera 11.11 browser and the background stays gray so I can’t read the text, hope you can fix this.
    Works and looks great on firefox though!

  • wow, I love this website sooo much. I can’t actually remember how I stumbled across it for the first time, but I’m so glad I did! It gives me so much inspiration and fulfills my design cravings. I’m a primary teacher (love my job) but my ‘design’ goes as far as posters on the wall, art and trying to write in cool fonts :) So it is very nice to have this website to satisfy my own design cravings! I live in a little town in New Zealand and feel very lucky to be able to access such great design from around the world in my lounge! i love the new look and my feedforward is lighten the ‘blog title’ (not sure what it is called) to a lighter shade; so there is more contrast, thus easier on the eye. And is there any chance to have separate kitchen/bathroom/bedroom/living categories? It would be so handy :)

  • You should check out Oh Happy Day’s new redesign. She upgraded her site without losing the essence that made it interesting. You lost all the style you had on your site and made it look generic, which sucks because I loved the old design as it stood out from the rest. You would think that the same design company who did the old design wouldn’t be so off the mark with the new design. You should really consider bringing back elements of the old site to make the new site an easier transition for your readers. It really seems split in opinion. Did you do a reader survey to take into account what your target audience actually wants? You really should try not to alienate your readers who are really dedicated to your site. I’m devoted to your site enough to be angry that the change wasn’t a good one. I’ll still read your site but I fear I’ll be nitpicking every time I do.

    • jo

      i’d never want anyone to keep reading the site if they were truly alienated so much by a layout change. if the new color and style is too jarring then i’d definitely suggest finding a site that is more suited to your needs, because d*s will always continue to grow and change stylistically.


  • I feel I am also in the minority in not entirely loving the restyle. I am a daily reader of Design Sponge, and admit your articles directly influence my work as a designer and the interior decorating choices I make in my own home. The new dark grey backdrop with feint text and gaudy ribbons (and not in a cool way) are contrived and seem bulky although I do appreciate the thought that has gone into the layout design. I just can’t help feeling it’s a step back away from the previous clean and simple design. I love change and every site needs a revamp once in a while but on this occasion I’m disappointed. Content, as always, is second to none. Thank you.

  • Dear Grace,

    Congratulations on your new redesign, I am looking forward to pouring over the new site today.

    I like when the bundled ribbon is used as a functional element in the layout, especially when it is used to frame the header “Recently at Design Sponge”. The placement of the ribbon at the top of the page and above the “I Want To” seem to be competing with each other. Perhaps resizing or removing the embellishments in areas where they are not functional will simplify things? Ah, who knows anyway? It’s your design and if you want ribbons, then let there be ribbons!!! ;)

    Overall, what an undertaking this redesign must have been for you all. The color scheme and fonts are absolutely lovely and I am finding sub-categories I didn’t know existed.

    Great job!


  • Hi Grace – Eduardo is right. I miss seeing the actual time (like 7:56 am, June 1st, 2011). Right now it’s just showing the date. It’s a small thing, I know.

    Also, I read your e-newsletter on my phone everyday. I miss seeing the preview photos at the bottom of each article (the ones that show you what’s to come if you want to read the rest of the article.) If I read your newsletter on a desktop, I probably wouldn’t care so much, but on a phone, it’s so important to me to know if I’m clicking for one photo or 10, and if that one photo looks like something I might be interested in.

    One more thing that I miss – I miss being able to scroll through a page and click on “see previous entries” at the bottom of the screen to just read continuously. Maybe it’s still there and I’m missing it?

    Thanks for all the work that went into this site redesign, Grace. One day i will really need to dig down & find something and it will become apparent just how hard your team had to work to get to this point. Also, thanks for listening to readers’ comments. You are the most active blogger when it comes to not only blogging, but being attentive and present for your audience. I really appreciate it and because of it, it seems more worthwhile to comment on your blog than others. I do really feel like what I say is being heard. Thank you for that.

    • hi nia

      those are glitches we’re working on. in a redesign this major there were bound to be things that fell through the cracks so we’re trying to catch them all this week and get them back up ;)


  • I love the new look! It’s very glamorous and sophisticated (it doesn’t hurt that I love darker colors) and a step up from the previous design. It’s Design Sponge all grown up and it’s gorgeous! The pop between the almost chalkboard gray background and the pink and gold ribbons is especially chic. I love love love it and I’m glad you didn’t dilly dally with a ‘reader poll’ as some other comments suggested. It would’ve taken forever to try and please everyone!

    I usually visit Design Sponge in my Google reader but I think I’ll be adding it to my Safari toolbar now and checking it out daily.

  • Adding to the list of Opera users (Gaby, Urzula), the lighter gray background doesn’t load, so the text is impossible to read. Hope you can fix this!

  • I was just about to ask the same thing Taylor mentioned—where are the dates on the posts? And is there any way to access the archives without doing a search or browsing by category?

    Date ranges are the primary way I navigate archives, so I’m feeling a bit lost! If I wanted to look at November/December posts from over the years, say, how would I do that? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a blog without any dates before!

    Also, I know I frequently check post dates when I wind up on a blog through a Google search—particularly if there’s a product or event mentioned within. I don’t want to waste time asking a question or leaving a comment on something that’s out of date. I guess I could just look at the comment dates and surmise when the post was from…?

    There must be a reason that you’ve eliminated all dates and date-based archives, but I can’t figure out what it would be! Am I missing some secret about how I should be navigating date/season-specific content?

    • Anna –
      As Grace mentioned above, we cut the dates out of the links because they didn’t seem as relevant anymore. (Although it certainly is something that we can add back in) As you mentioned, there are a few ways to get at the date and it’s still nested in the permalink.

      Unfortunately, it’s impossible to offer everything and we had to make some tough choices when deciding on navigation options. As the site has grown much of our content is evergreen – whether it’s about planning a party or a great recipe or home tour. We decided to make that the primary way to navigate around the site. It was something that we put a lot of thought into and I hope you have a chance to explore all of the awesome new ways of filtering content.

      Of course, you can still backtrack through the central column, which is still a long scroll.

      Thanks for your feedback.

  • Congrats on all your hard work. I quickly looked through the reorganisation, and the search alternatives seem really good! It is so thorough, and both creatively and practically categorised. Well done!!!
    But… (I’m sorry, I feel like such a bitch!) I’m not a fan of the new look. My biggest issue is that the contrast between the background and the posts is so harsh. To me it makes it quite uncomfortable to read. The type is very small, and so is the menu with the categories. To me the categories menu needs to stand out a bit more. I don’t mind the ads at all, or that there is a banner at the top, just that it covers part of the ribbons.
    This said, the most important thing is what someone else already wrote: the content is second to none.

  • Grace and Team,

    I really, really like it. There are still kinks to work out, but I like the functionality of the new design and am looking forward to “getting to know” it. All your hard work is apparent, and overall, I think it’s a lovely change. Congratulations, and please don’t take the negative comments too seriously — I think people a) tend to dislike change (I’m the captain of THAT team :) and b) want to help make the new D*S even better.

    Anyway. Yay! It’s gorgeous, and when you’re done working out bugs, I hope you get some good relaxation in. :)

  • Hi –

    Read Design Sponge daily [ok, multiple times a day] and have waited a few days to comment on the changes b/c there is always the shock of change.

    Generally, it’s lovely and very well thought out. Like the grey, and the filtering and summaries – if for some reason I couldn’t read for several days, they are a great way to catch up.

    Two things I don’t like as well – the gold ribbon details that dangles down beside each post. Find it repetitive and annoying and distracting. It feels unnecessary to me. Also and this one I’m sure I’ll adjust too, but the strong left orientation of the body stories makes me want to center it!

    Thanks for the site, love the stories and the care that you and the team take to give us such great info!

  • Thanks for replying, Amy! I suspect I use blog archives differently than most—I’m more interested in looking at trend shifts over time than I am in anything else when I access archives. It’s the date-based, chronological nature of blogs that’s always made the format more appealing to me than magazines, but perhaps I’m in the minority. ;)

  • Wow – change is never easy is it? I am sure most of us will get over any visual issues we are having with the DS changes, because most of us come here for the amazing content. I really appreciate the amount of hard work that went into making this website an incredible resource for anyone who loves design. Grace and team – good luck with the glitches and well done. All good things change and grow. A poorly placed ad will never keep me from hanging out here.

  • Great new site Grace and team! I almost fell off my chair when I saw it – very cool and fresh!!!
    My only comment is the same as some others above: I really miss having date & time next to posts and comments.
    For instance, I was wondering when the site was updated since I’ve been w/o internet for a week, and only by seeing the comments did I realize when it happened. It just helps to follow a timeline for us time-tied people.

  • Love the new look, but am having trouble reading the titles to the posts. They look pretty being so skinny, but it takes some time to figure out what it’s actually saying. (Firefox)

  • I too loved the old design more. Sorry. I don’t like being negative but sometimes change for the sake of change isn’t enough. I will keep coming back because I LOVE your content though and I’m sure I’ll get used to it. I think I miss the feminine feeling…

  • I think everyone misses the old site so much because the new site’s aesthetic is so different. I loved the look of the old site better, but love the functionality of the new site. So torn. I feel like the new site is missing the “design sponge” character that I’ve known and loved since the beginning. The ribbon logos remind me of a birthday party, not interior design. I hope Grace and the team is taking all the constructive criticism in stride. Keep up the good work guys, we should all feel so lucky a great site this out there and is FREE!

    • Jenny

      Thanks for your support. I think that while change is hard it’s important to remember that DS has always changed looks as we’ve gone along. We had a polka dot background for 2 years, a turquoise and bubble background for 1.5 years and then the linen for 3.5 years. All of them were our style at one point, but the real constant is the voice, the content and the commitment to inspiring design. I understand why people miss the old look- but that was new and “a big change” at one point too ;)


  • Congratulations! I LOVE the new site – including the elegant typeface that you are using on the top of every post.

    It’s amazing to me how invested your readers are that they so passionately respond to the new look. Wow. I’m glad I wasn’t under such an intense microscope when we redesigned!

  • I think the redesign has reflected the change D*S has gone through. When I first started reading it (who knows when, but a while ago) I felt like D*S focused more on what I could do at home, as a craft/project/DIY. Now it has grown, has more sophisticated products, and features things I like a lot (even if I can’t afford them).

    Grace- Just wondering, could the weight of the header text be bumped up a bit? I use Firefox (and it could be this old work computer) but it seems to get lost against the dark background when it should probably stand out.

  • Love the new look, and the functionality of the new site. The calendar at the bottom of the page is especially great! The only complaint I have is that there seems to be a dark grey rectangle down the center of the page, directly to the right of the main content. Not sure if it’s supposed to be there, but it really looks out of place, so maybe not? I’m viewing the page in Chrome.

    • erin

      that rectangle is there (and should have content in it) on purpose. without it the content blends together really awkwardly. the darker grey section was the best way for us to subtly separate it from the other sections. believe me, we’ve tested this many, many different ways ;)


  • I’m a UX Designer and I have to say I agree with some of you about it initially being a not-so-awesome change. BUT. I think it’s important to remember that design is an iterative process! Maybe she should have done some testing or waited awhile before launching the new site after gathering more feedback, yes, but I’m sure she will continue to finesse it to please both herself and her readers. We must remember that she’s probably trying to balance her own style, signify her growth as a brand, and still make readers happy – it’s a little tricky, but let’s cut her some slack and help her refine her design so we can all continue to enjoy the great content in the best way possible!

    P.S. I think it’s important to note that you can’t please EVERYONE when you design (or re-design) something. This is the reason we wind up with some really bad, overwhelming websites or software applications. SO while you may be missing something from the old site, try to remember that things change for strategic reasons, and there’s probably a trade-off somewhere.


    • JRG

      I appreciate your comments, and while not everyone may love the new look, I noted in the beginning of this post that we spent a year working on this design. You may not like the choices, but they were researched (based on actual user patterns) and tested for a long time. It’s literally impossible to make everyone happy, but we made organizational changes based on the way the majority of DS readers use and requested to use the site. So while some people here are upset, their numbers and behavior on the site are what we used to shape things. This wasn’t entirely a stylistic decision based on a whim we had. I’ve worked too hard and invested too much in the site to do things “just because”. So for those saying we did things without thinking or didn’t consider both our own needs and the readers, you’re incorrect in your assumption. It was those requests (gathered over the past few years) and actual user patterns that shaped the layout and organizational flow.


  • I LOVE the typography! And the colors and ribbons don’t bother me none. In fact, I like them. I also love the “I want to” feature.

    I think the reason people are being so bothered by the ads has more to do with the bar dividing them from the main column. I read yr site on a mac, using Firefox, and the bar does look darker than the background gray (it’s the same on Safari, I just checked). But I’m sure that’s getting taken care of. People need some patience, sheesh!

    Anyhoo, I still love the site and ps, I would totally pay for it. Thank you Grace and team!

  • I just came back to say that there is content on it on the main page, just not on the comments page, which is probably why I noticed it then. lol But it of course makes sense that it would be that way. And I see you already responded. Sorry!

  • Grace, it sounds like you’ve done your research and done your testing, which is awesome to hear. I forgot to mention in my post earlier that I think you have an amazing blog and I’ve been a daily reader for many years now – and I agree that no one should stop reading a blog with such spectacular content simply because they don’t like the new design. That’s absolutely insane.

    I think perhaps people have an emotional attachment to your blog, and anytime something dear to us changes, we are all a little bit wary. But it sounds like you’ve made deliberate, careful decisions, and are open to or are currently working to refine the other issues, and that’s great! Since you’ve done your research and testing, I think you’ll find that in the end, people will fall in love with this design. What people SAY they want or need vs. what they ACTUALLY need or want are completely different. Think about how worked up people get everytime Facebook changes something – and then a couple of weeks later, they forget about it!


  • The UI of this is completely confusing. I have always been a big fan of the content on this site but now when I arrive I don’t know where to look first. It’s very overwhelming and for me, a big turn off. I want to access your great content and now there’s a lot of design elements that are not functional and take away from the true beauty. I prefer the old site.

  • I never make “comments” this is my first in the blog world. But I have to comment on the people saying that the negative comments are “emotional”. I assume that most people that read this blog are designers or love design, that being said- if you can’t navigate a page clearly, confused when you are looking at it, or inundated with ads- than the design is not communicating properly. Its not emotional- its function. I love this blog, but to be honest when I went to it today, I thought it was an imposter blog and kept retyping the web address to make sure it was correct (not joking). It had so many banners and so many different ways to navigate that it was no longer stream lined.

    Anyway- Of course i’ll keep reviewing the blog and enjoy the conent – this is not the end of the world and I am sure that all will listen to the comments and take them with a grain of salt. But, this is design and if you put yourself out there and keep comments open, than you will get feedback. I’ts not negative, its constructive and if the “fans and readers” make this blog as popular as it is, than it is in the best interest to listen to us.

    • sml

      the site only two additional ads than before, only one of which is a different size and location than before. so if you were familiar with d*s before monday evening, the ads shouldn’t feel vastly different. yes, there’s a new ad unit at the top, but it’s one, not ten. when the change sinks in a bit more i think people will realize we actually added way more content than ads. the right colum used to be entirely ads, and now there are valuable content and navigation tools hosted in that space.

      also, i mentioned this above several times, but we made these changes based on actual user date and visitor paths. while not all readers use the site in the same way, most readers follow a very similar path and search pattern (which we studied closely) and we used that to shape the navigation. these weren’t arbitrary changes based on style alone.

      yes, the readers of this blog play a big role in the success of the site, but the vision of our team guides it and while change can be scary, it’s what pushes us forward and keeps things different and exciting. not everyone was here in 2007 to remember, but the previous redesign (the linen background) has its share of backlash and complaints as well and eventually become something people grew to love. so while i absolutely listen to all of our readers’ feedback, i have to make decisions based on what keeps me inspired and wanting to come back every day to create new content.


  • I’m a relative newcomer to DS–I’ve only been reading for a month or two, but I absolutely love the site, and people are very accurate in saying the content of this site (and the obvious care put into the creation and presentation of that content) is top-notch. I love the redesign! I really appreciate how it became more sophisticated, yet retained all of the charm and uniqueness of its predecessor. Also–the new tagging/sorting features are utterly brilliant. The site transformed from a blog to a veritable encyclopedia of design + lifestyle inspiration overnight (literally!). I can’t imagine the amount of work that it took, and it is so refreshing to see someone care about their readers and content so much to put all of that time and effort into such a project. The careful, thoughtful craftsmanship shines through and allows the content to be even more accessible. Great, great work, and keep it up!

  • i’ve been reading d*s since the beginning and i think the new site design/color scheme is lovely and i am enjoying the re-organization of the content! but…i just can’t get past the main ad at the top, it totally junks up the site. it’s completely distracting and ugly. it tarnishes the d*s image.

    • hi guys

      just a quick note: adblock is a great piece of software (for readers) if you don’t want to see ads on sites you read:


      as a producer of content it’s tough to pay your writers if you don’t have ads, so i’m not in love with anything that blocks them and prevents us from being able to pay people. that said, if it truly upsets people enough to stop reading, the quick install above will block them from your browser entirely.


  • I love the new functionality, but I was really hoping with the new design that I could read the entire blog post in my google reader, instead of having to click “more” and launch the Design Sponge site. This is the only blog I can’t read in it’s entirety through google reader. That being said, this is my favorite blog of them all!

  • dear design*sponge team!
    maybe i’m a little stupid or i am missing something, but where can i find the overview of all sneak peeks (or all recipes for example) on one site, like there was on the old website? i often visited this overview/start page if i couldn’t remember one specific sneek peek, and there i found it (because of the picture or the name i suddenly recognized). the same with the recipes/”in the kitchen with”section (in case you should once not know what too cook or bake, the pictures are really inspiring ;) i also tried to find a a nice pasta recipe from 2010 or 2009, but I cannot find it, using the new site (with category and the search terms).

    p.s. i really love the new design!

  • I know this had been said a hundred times already…but the giant banner ad at the top absolutely kills the entire site. it’s the first thing you see, it hides half of the ribbony thing you have going on and it just seems to cheapen things. the focus is now that giant corporate ad and not the content…even the google ads on the sidebar are just devaluing the medium in my opinion. I love seeing new shops and artists through sponsored blogs…but when the ads are dominating and for Sears and other giant corporations that are not a part of the blog’s community…it’s just a huge buzz kill.


  • I’m sorry, I don’t understand what all the gushing is about. I see more ads, an irritating banner ad covering up your new look ribbon thing at the top, and the photos, that used to lure me into the topics now seem to take second seat to the background and wording.Even the logo doesn’t feel fresh or unique like your old id.

    I will probably try a few more “look-see’s”, but based on my initial reaction, I won’t be back much (and I was almost a daily visitor).

    Glad for you that I am in the minority (maybe the only one?); I have so very much enjoyed, visiting your site in the past!

  • Looks great….
    but please take out the ad smack dab in the middle of the top of the page – directly on top of your design . Why have the beautiful ribbon (I’m and M&J Trimmings fan too!) if you cover it with a big ‘ol ad? Hmmm….

  • Lovely – striking and sophisticated! I just used the search box and found the exact post I remembered from a few months ago. Easy, peasy. But when I clicked a link in the post to take me to an external site, it opened in the same browser tab, not opening a new tab like I expected.

  • I must say I don’t like it at all. The color scheme is great, but I feel like the content is greatly minimized by the presence of the ad smack dab at the top and the overall feel of trying to be a website vs a blog. Maybe that’s what you’re going for? I’m not super crazy about the ribbon motif, but that I could live with if I could actually see it! The logo is so-so, could be TONS better.

  • Congratulations on completing such an enormous undertaking.
    I am on the fence about the new design and need a couple of weeks living with it to become well enough acquainted with it to really get a feel for it.
    At first glance – I agree that the top ad compromises the impact of your brand.
    The new logo is so small and discreet and easy to overlook – the ad really overwhelms it.
    On my mac in Safari it is extremely slow to load almost 3x slower than the old site.
    Aesthetics are so subjective – for my taste I find the re-design visually confusing. Rather than a move towards a more sophisticated look the content and visual style appears limited – more like a party planners site – and the ads and archiving are so prominent that the editorial content is diminished. I am concerned that the dark, slate board trend will be over sooner than you will want to re-design the site again and I am not sure what the ribbons have to do with your content. It is really graphically disturbing to have them cut off by the ad.
    I love your blog and will continue my daily perusal. I expect I will grow accustomed to the re-design and learn to love it in spite of myself.

  • Congratulations Team Design*Sponge on a beautiful redesign. I love your description of wanting the new site to look like an older sister to the old site. Let’s be honest — we’re all getting older together so it’s nice to see Design*Sponge grow and change with me (and it’s tons of other readers, too)!

    As a graphic designer, I just wanted to write a note saying how much I am enjoying the redesign, the color palette, the fonts, and the use of ribbons (I recently wrote a post about M&J and their wonderful selection of ribbons, too. Isn’t that store the best?).

    Great job on the look of the site. The improved user-friendly factor is an added bonus, too!

  • Sorry Design Sponge. not at all enjoying the new design. The ribbons? I adore ribbons, however, they are very distracting from the post content. For a blog I turn to for inspiration, creativity and trendy design–the new look is lacking. The colors of the ribbons distract from the images in the post. All I see is peach.

  • i really love the colour scheme, it’s sophisticated and attractive (I loved the old one, too, though), and I love the grey.

    I think things would be loads better without the obtrusive ad bar across the top, it really minimizes the impact of your header image and distracts me from the content, and since I know D*S content is awesome, I don’t want to be all “mmrmm. Stupid advertisements!”

    Also, when I clicked onto read these comments, the middle menu bar disappears (I’m using chrome), and I think they should stay as then I wouldn’t have to go back and find them, they’d be right here. On the first page of the site, the red ribbons + content are there, but not when I go into a post (well, this post). I think it’s cool they are on the dark grey, just wish they were here, too!! :)

    also, I’m finding the mottled background disappears around the ribbon images, it almost smoothes out?

    Gosh, I sound like the bearer of bad tidings, but you know, the question was asked. Anyway! I do love the colours, you seem to have made me appreciate peach (the bric a brac is peach on my monitor, and I’m kind of in love with it!)

    great job :)

  • Love the new look!!!! IMHO, it was worth the effort and time you’ve put.

    Thanks for all the new features too!

    PS Hope you won’t mind me saying this to everyone, but thanks to Firefox and Adblock Plus, I see no ad banners and I get the full lovely look of it without any distractions!

  • Grace,
    I wanted to applaud you for many reasons – first, I so admire you desire to continually update the look and organization of Design Sponge. It is incredibly hard to redesign a site as successful as yours, and even harder to settle on a final product. I admire your enthusiasm, flexibility, confidence and dedication to your readers and to the integrity of your mission and philosophy behind your blog. Of course, there will always be necessary edits and debugging – but overall the redesign is GORGEOUS, well thought out, and true to the identity of Design Sponge. Kuddos to you for being so receptive to constructive feedback – this is why your blog is so successful! You have such a mature and flexible outlook on the feedback and this is so appreciated by your readers – it makes us feel as if our voices are heard – while you continue to stand behind your decisions. Here’s to many years of continual change, re-evaluation, excitement, creativity and fun on Design Sponge!!!

  • I’ll chime in with a few words of praise and comments about the design. Kudos to Deanne and Julia for the logo and the ribbon details, it adds to the handmade, diy theme. Also, the comments treatment next to the blog title is a nice touch visually, however I have no clue about when the post was made, which in my opinion is more cruicial than how many people commented.
    The gray background is a really poor color choice, it really weighs the entire site down, especially when the content only takes up about 500 pixels, it makes it feel even smaller. I think if it was white, or off white it would make the entire site feel much more open and elegant. It’s also strange how it breaks in the middle – ie. on this particular post. I think it’s a very simple solution that could really make the site feel fresh and alive, rather than drab. Anyhow just my two cents

  • Hi, I think it looks great, so congrats with that. One thing though, I use IE7 at my laptop (which runs on Windows 7) and the site won’t load properly. I can see the top of the page but when I try to scroll down it doesn’t react at all, it seems it keeps loading and reloading all the time no matter how long I wait. I have firefox on another computer, but I’d gotten so used to checking your site on my laptop daily.

    • hi hanneke

      sorry about that, ill tell our tech team that and see if they can replicate the error and fix it :)

      one quick note, if you’re able to upgrade to the current version of IE (version 9) it may help solve the problem. we’ve tested the site on the most current 2 versions of each browser out there without any problems. there were pretty large changes made between IE 7 and IE 8 so you may be running into some of those with the loading issue.


  • I did a double take when clicking on your website this morning. You gals are headed in the right direction for change – and change is never easy!
    Having said that – I’m a 60+ yo reader, so I wondering if it possible to change the font in the main column? it’s difficult to read — in Google Chrome it was teeny-tiny. Firefox & Safari a bit easier… (I’m using a week old MacBook Pro) OR perhaps a cleaner-looking font similar to your headings (even Arial Narrow would be easier on the eyes).
    Is there a reason to have the middle column? that information is getting squished — the columns appear to be uneven width, so your eyes jump all over the place, trying to figure out what is going on. Can the middle column be inserted on the side giving more room for the eyes to take in the “wonderfulness” of your site… Even though ads & content would appear on the side, I think it could solve the crowded feeling. AND, we all are scrolling to the bottom to check out the articles anyway, so I don’t think you’d lose any viewers for those buttons. I know you are working on the ad at the top! That’s what prompted the “omg moment” for all your readers… what a way to shake our worlds…
    I also am not able to read all the info at the bottom-it’s getting cut off. The format for the bottom section is awesome! I love! LOVE!! being able to check out the highlights of the week.
    Kudos to change! in another week – this will all be “water under the bridge”… hang in there! Appears you have a great team of writers, designers & proofreaders (us) helping to make your site bigger, better and appealing for the majority of your readers….

  • Hi Grace, I’m a web designer and I wanted to commend you on being bold and following your gut. There is only one constant in the world of web and that is change. It’s not just a good idea, it is absolutly necessary to stay relevant. To all that complain about the ads, just remember they are a neccesary evil. As for the complaints about the size of the ads, standard, universal ad sizes appear to be used. In order to stay up with best practices one shouldn’t really deviate from those. One solution if they bother you is to use a feed reader (Sage add on for Firefox, for example). I have 1 comment and 1 question Grace. You mentioned that Julia Rothman put a handmade spin on the logo- what was her contribution to the logo- the ribbon I take it? My comment is that I’m noticing spellcheck isn’t working on the comment box (using IE8) (gasp, I know but this is my husband’s laptop).

  • I’m sorry but this is really lacking still. I know you’re working hard but yikes. A gigantic ad is the first thing I see – over the ribbon header. It does not go away. Loading the site is beyond slow…it’s the only site I have problems w/& I’m used to big sites.

    So many ads are blinking & flashing – I didn’t seem to have a problem w/that before. Maybe the dark background highlights them more.

    Also, why should anyone have to take a tutorial to go thru the site?

    I have more to say but probably others have said it. This is really disappointing. I hope it gets better soon. I was a regular multi-times/day reader but it’s too annoying now. I am sorry.

    • susan

      you don’t have to view the tutorial, it was intended to show people who were interested how they could take advantage of the new features. there’s a pretty advanced filtering system on the site (that no other design blogs are currently using) and i thought it would be helpful to show it in action.

      as i mentioned above, we’ve had rotating ads for at least 3 years now, so those are not new. we did however increase the editorial content on the homepage by 40%, so i’m sorry if the top ad distracts from that, but sadly that ad is necessary in order for us to keep providing free content.


  • As someone who loves good design and read your site daily, I have to say you’ve lost me with the redesign. It’s cluttered and the ribbons look totally tacky. I’m so surprised and feel it’s a real shame. It looks cheap.

  • hi d*sers, i wanted to make a suggestion re. the much-maligned banner ad. i think that if you could just shimmy that top ad so that it doesn’t cover over the ribbons, lots of people would feel better. the ribbons – love ’em or hate ’em (i think they are lovely) – are what makes the site feel ‘real’. like the linen, they bring a sense of the tactile and sensuous to the page. the ad banner over the top belies this imaginary realness in a way that, i think, makes readers/lookers feel duped or cheap. i suspect that if there is any way to remedy this while still funding the site – what if the ribbons rolled OVER the ad! how cool would that be! or even just scootch things a teeny bit so that there is room for ribbons (maybe smaller ribbons?) and the add – lots of readers’ issues, whether with the number of adds or with the ribbons themselves, would be resolved! cheers,

  • I am having a very hard time finding a specific sneak peak since the updated website. I have looked through 50 pages of past sneak peaks and can’t seem to find it. I’ve also gone page by page backwards looking for it and no luck. Wondering if anyone can help me? I’m specifically looking for a kids bedroom that the mom painted a replica of a (scandinavian?) wallpaper design. It was only done on the wall behind the kids bed. It was harlequin style, multi-colored triangles. Would love if anyone could send me the link! Thank you!!

  • a belated note to tell you how wonderful the new site looks!! the old site was SO hard to navigate… this is much improved and looks beautiful! great work to all involved!

  • The site re-design is much appreciated, I can only imagine the time and effort that went into it- great job! I love reading through the articles for new inspiration and try my best to view the accompanying photographs, like with ‘sneak peaks’. However, having to load a new page for each additional photograph and then having to go back to the main page, then scrolling back down to find the article, to then again click the following photograph, to then load another page, can be somewhat time consuming and not so user friendly. Have you considered using a pop-up viewing window, or some sort of click through viewing method for the additional photographs? It might make the extra photographs that much easier to browse through.

  • @ Suzanna
    I have the same problem too! I cannot find specific sneak peeks since the update. Before you could see all sneak peeks (thumbnails and names) in one overall view, it was easier to find something you looking for. Now I have to search/go page by page backwards – the filtering options don’ t help. Or is there an “sneak peek overall view” I don’t see? :)

  • Oh dear!

    I used to come to Design Sponge daily. A source of inspiration, a sorta ritual. But ever since the re-launch, I’ve only been to the site twice. That’s it, twice. I find it very distracting, poorly designed, and most of all— the navigation from a user experience is just awful. I’m sorry DS, but the old website had a fresher and more creative appeal than this one by a long shot!

  • The design is certainly eye-catching and the layouts are attractive, but I find navigating your new site and actually locating the content I’m searching for is a pretty cumbersome process. Certainly not user-friendly.

    On top of that, all the extra stuff and ads in the sidebar make your blog load slowly (and I’m on a pretty fast fiber optic connection). I realize those ads are part of your revenue stream, but when you reach the level of success that you have (bravo to you on that!) you have to consider your readers experience on your site before all the other stuff.

    Regardless, I still appreciate all the hard work that your whole team puts in to the site.

    • hi jess

      please see my comments above, re: loading times and site layout. we only have 2 extra ads so that’s not causing any loading delays. we used user stats and paths to determine layout, so i promise we paid attention to how people use the site :)


  • I really loved the old site and am having trouble with the new one. It seems that there is more blank space – the text is smaller to read and I have to go through more clicks to browse through the postings. I understand that you added more search features – but I mostly “window shop” when I’m on this site vs. searching for something in particular. I loved being able to go to the old “before and after” and scroll through all of the posts – now I seem to have to click on each link to see the feature. It’s doesn’t feel nearly as intuitive as the old site did.

    • zoe

      i’m sorry it feels that way. the home page is actually exactly the same as before, accept that the images are actually larger now. but there aren’t any fewer images above the jump as before.

      the landing pages for categories didn’t exist before, so hopefully as you get used to this format they’ll become helpful to browse. you can still click and scan away as much as you like, but now you can just do that in a much more specific way, like by technique, cost, or style. if you want higher level browsing (ie: no filters) you can just scan the b&a home page. you’ll need to click in to see full posts, but you can still scan based on the most recent posts.


  • +1 to the suggestion of featuring the date the article was written on the top of the article.
    I often see this issue in blogs and it never fails to bother me. However, in some cases it could just be the template they are using. Since you have done so much work on customising D*S, I believe it should not be a problem. At the same level/line that the number of comments, category and writer’s name are featured, but on the right side would be perfect, practical and it would visually balance the “header”!

    Thanks again for the opportunity to provide feedback and be heard.

  • I’m with Zoe on the before and after section. It’s incredibly frustrating to go to the archives to scroll through the B&As and only see one picture (generally a “before”) with each archived post; in the past it seemed like there were enough pics before the jump to allow me to judge whether I wanted to click through to the whole post. I doubt this was the intention, but the current structure *feels* a little manipulative, like DS is trying to force me to click through to a post that may be a waste of my time (since I end up being uninterested in the “after”) just to increase the number of click-throughs that the blog can track and present to potential advertisers.

    It’s souring the experience for me, unfortunately, as is much of the visual re-design. I definitely respect the time and effort that went into re-structuring the site and improving its functionality, so kudos to the DS team for all their hard work. But the home page is so visually cramped that it’s giving me a headache if I attempt to stay more than about 2 minutes. I feel like one of my favorite sites has gone from a cozy but welcoming boutique to an urban coffee shop with dark, square metal tables crammed wall to wall – one that offers very little space to relax or breathe, and recently suffered a violent attack by ribbon-pelting guerillas.

    I’ve been trying to get behind the re-design, but I just can’t get there. DS is quickly moving from one of my top 10 sites, and my primary source of inspiration, to something I visit as a secondary source when I need to research something specific. Sadness. :( Still, props to you all for the hard work you’ve done and the effort you made. I hope other readers are responding more positively, and that the blog’s success continues to grow.

  • Wow! I’ve been away too long! LOL. I signed into designsponge and got a shock! I had to make sure I was on the right page! I went back 19 or so pages to find out when it was introduced! (almost 30 days ago – bad me for being away so long! – but maybe thats good – alot of bugs will be worked out by now! LOL)

    Grace and team – thank you for being willing to grow and improve your site and to continue to make it available to us for free. I know that change is hard and especially if something belongs to you (this is your livihood afterall) – so thank you for being willing and able to move designsponge forward. Thank you for looking at how the majority of users use the sites, and having read a lot of comments on previous posts and this one I have to say you guys do a great job of allowing freedom of expression (for better or worse) and listening and addressing peoples concerns on the new site design and other issues in the past. BIG THANK YOU!!!

    I’m going to have to take some time and play with all the new features!

    Keep up the good work!

  • I’m back after a couple of weeks & things are not better. I am so sorry about that, too. One thing I can recommend to people is to sign up for d*s email. I look at it to see if something is intriguing enough to come over.

  • whenever a website changes, especially if I really enjoyed the design, it is SO difficult for my eyes to adapt, this was a very radical change and I love the old design so much! may this be a lesson for me on embracing change <3

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