I've spent the last 2 or 3 days (on and off) working on a new theme for The REG Temple. SueW wrote to me some time ago and suggested that the site was in need of a spruce up and so it was probably long overdue - I just hadn't had enough time to get into it until the past week. Sue also managed to send me a list of a few celebrity sites to look at for inspiration, which helped enormously.
For those of you who are interested, this will be the 6th version of The Temple -- though two versions were short-lived and another two were basically the same, looks-wise. In fact they were only different under the hood. That was when we moved to the WordPress CMS platform in 2006/2007. It should also be known that the very first version of the site was very short lived, and probably only saw out the last month or so way back in 1998/1999.
I wanted to move away from the black background of the previous versions and so I've opted for a much brighter look. I also spent half a day doing a slightly different version but I scrapped it because it looked a bit too "cluttered" up the top. I had Swazi flags up there and film spools and REG's face but it was just too busy. Instead I decided to keep things looking a bit more simple.
Anyhow, I've managed to do some screen shots, below, of what The REG Temple used to look like over the years, and I hope you enjoy the latest incarnation. If you do, let me know on REG's Facebook page (link on the right).
p.s. I'm aware that there may be some issues with the new layout due to the fact that the content section is narrower than the previous layout. Some of the videos might "break out" of the layout a bit. I ask that you let me know if you have an issue, and please bear with me while I try to rectify any problems. Thank you.
The REG Temple - A Visual History
The original webpage for The REG Temple. Created by Dominique in October/November 1998, and launched on the 14th December 1998, this layout would've only lasted a month or two so it's safe to say that not many people have ever seen it.
1999 - 2005
This was the "splash page" that most of the early visitors to the site would have seen. Splash pages were all the rage way back in 1998/1999, but nowadays are almost universally hated by all those who aren't graphic designers, artists or web designers. More's the pity.
Again designed by Dominique, the site still made strong use of black for the background, but also featured brighter colors to highlight the different sections of the site (articles, interviews, sightings, filmography etc.) Likewise the buttons for each section were similarly color-coded.
I'm not entirely sure about this (because I haven't asked) but I think part of the inspiration for the color-coded sections and buttons may have been from the Peter Gabriel website of the time. Don't quote me on that though.
The two thumbnails above show The Temple's main page (left) and the articles page on the right. This was a "framed" website with three frames (top, middle and bottom). Frames were also the rage back in 1998/1999 until the search engines rebelled.
The books section (left) and the interviews section (right) of the 1999 design.
Towards the end of 2004 and into 2005 I was working on this new design for the site. As I was now running the site without Dominique's help, I wanted to "personalize" it a bit more for me. As far as coding was concerned, I was moving away from HTML and starting to get into PHP instead. In fact this design (which only lasted for about a day or two of "live action") was the one that changed it all. First it started of as HTML and then became PHP based. For a short time it was even a Drupal CMS site but, after working with Drupal for a little while, I decided that my new "most hated program" was, in fact, Drupal. So the whole thing was scrapped and I went back to the previous design.
A new program I had started to dabble in, WordPress, seemed promising however.
2005 - 2007
So, again, it was back to black, background-wise. I built the design from the ground up, just using a basic text editor and solely coding in PHP (but leaving the old .html extensions in place). As far as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) was concerned I did just about EVERYTHING wrong - Changed file names, image names, moved things about etc. Still, back then I didn't really care about SEO.
I kept the tradition of continuing to use different colors for the different sections of the site because I thought it was a good idea, as well as paying homage to Dominique's design. I also kept the header graphic.
2007 - 2011 (The WordPress Years)
In 2007 The REG Temple dramatically changed - though no-one would've noticed at all. Appearance-wise it looked pretty much the same. The search box was a little different and the section colors had been removed (standardized to one color scheme). One or two things were changed around and the colored box at the very bottom of the site (which used to have all the hotlinks) had also been removed. The main site was now being run 100% on WordPress.
2011 (WordPress Continues)
Which brings us to the latest design. I'm not sure how people will take to it but I'm hoping they'll like it enough. If anyone has an opinion then let me know either through the contact form or on Richard's Facebook page.
I should add that the base theme for The REG Temple is from "Notepad Chaos", by Evan Eckard. The Temple is still 100% powered by WordPress and will continue to be so for quite some time.