I Wouldn’t Call it a Redesign

I’ll admit, all this recent redesiging is infectious. More importantly though, it made me realize that the previous SimpleBits design had been up for probably over a year. At the very least, it needed some “freshening up”. And isn’t this what’s fun about the web? The constant flux?

Much of the design and concepts remain the same. So much so that you may be asking “what’s different?”. The inspiration for the subtle update emerged from a set of icons I started working on a while ago.


I toyed with the idea of selling the icons as set — but realized I liked them too much and thought I’d stretch the SimpleBits pixel “brand” a bit further and fold them into the template.

Prefer the old design?

No worries. The old stylesheet is still available as an alternate and can be activated in the dashboard (top right corner). It was also probably a good idea to keep the old theme around, as there are a few examples in the book that reference that design. The markup remains almost untouched, while the CSS methods are essentially identical as well.

Speaking of icons…

The many talents of Josh Williams and co. have released three full stock icon sets over at Icon Buffet – and they’re now on sale. If you dig icons — check out their amazing work.


  1. Web says:

    I’m diggin’ the site additions .. but more so I’m diggin’ the idea if .. “I don’t like it … ” I can just revert to the older style. Again just flexing the muscle of CSS design.

  2. #lama says:

    These icons are really cool :D

  3. ray says:

    Great update to the site. Love the smooth feel to the nav/header, and the icons are a great compliment.
    Well done!

  4. chuck says:

    Nice work! You didn’t need a redesign, but this is an appealing tune-up.
    I really like the new nav bar. I also like the subtlety of how the main content column “hovers” over the sidebar.
    Best of all – I like your writing and I can’t wait to buy your book!

  5. Zac says:

    I especially like the way you dropped the sidebar down a little bit to de-emphasize it from the main content. A nice little touch.

  6. Great new look! Feels a bit Aqua inspired with the slightly lusher header and subtle but playful icons. I like very much.

  7. Dave Cunningham says:

    I was thinking you were just about due for a bit of a redesign. Very nice execution of a subtle update.

  8. Chris Brandt says:

    I like the new design, but when switching to the old design, the last ‘s’ in SimpleBits gets chopped off.
    Running Mozilla 1.6 on XP…

  9. Chris – Thanks, I think after a refresh is should be OK now. Seems the alternate stylesheet wasn’t observing the override for the width. I need to change the logo eventually anyhow though, as I tweaked the type slightly.

  10. ACJ says:

    I noticed the new theme earlier today (there were only two then, opposed to the four I see now). Though I like the previous design a lot, I think the new design an improvement. The icons looks professional and clean and are a nice addition to the design of navigation elements.

  11. ForgetFoo says:

    damn, that just looks sharp :)
    dig’n the icons and the soft shades, very nice indeed.
    does the icons in the nav bar seem to double-up under FF for anybody else, or is it just me?
    /clear cache + refresh coming up

  12. James says:

    Any chance of summarising the method and tools you used to design the icons? Congratulations on the update btw – subtle and effective.

  13. Keith says:

    Looking very sharp buddy! Not a redesign? How about a summer cleaning? ;)

  14. Yannick says:

    I really like what you have done with the icons. Neat!

  15. Pierce says:

    The icon’s look really really great. Like a pretty OS.

  16. ForgetFoo says:

    icons in the nav look fine now under Firefox/XP… :)

  17. Bruce Boughton says:

    Niiiice… one thing: It’s not obvious that the coloured icons are for the new design. I pressed the old design button to see the difference then couldn’t work out immediately how to revert to the new.

  18. Simple and plays well with your current branding of simple Bits.
    One thing missing is a link to your home page, I thought you might even have your logo link to but that didn’t do it either. I would suggest that you at least add the home link back in the navigation or link the “simple Bits” logo to the home page.

  19. markku says:

    Wow, the design refresh looks great! I guess this is the way to go, little bits of tweaks to your design can collectively provide a fresh-looking whole.
    Those icons look so nice, so “SimpleBits!” :)

  20. Todd says:

    The new icons are really nice and the subtle background changes really make the site jump off the page. Good work Dan.

  21. Web says:

    Very Simplebitty.

  22. Jeff says:

    I, too, am digging the refreshing new look. While not much has really changed, it is still a breath of fresh air. The icons are great as well.

  23. Blake – actually the logo links on any page but the homepage, but I think you’re right. I’m missing a home link as well. One of the reasons it’s not gone is horizontal space. My goal was to allow enough space for bumping the text size up 2 notches. Works fine now, but adding a home link in would be tight. I’m debating taking the “contact” link off the nav, letting live from the “about” section. Any thoughts on this are appreciated of course.
    And thanks to all for the kind words so far.

  24. ForgetFoo says:

    just my 2 pesos, but i both like the fact that “contact” is front and center, easily available, and gives a sense that getting in touch with you is merely a click away…. oh, and i also dig the icon – be a shame to lose it on the nav ;)
    again, just my 2 pesos. *thumbs up*

  25. Chris says:

    Wow, I love the new design! Keep up the great work!

  26. Josh S says:

    Looks fantastic! Has a wonderfully smooth feel to it. Great work!

  27. Jon HIcks says:

    I like this! I like this _a lot_! This a great refreshing of an already excellent trademark design. Just sweet!

  28. compuwhiz7 says:

    Brilliant work, Dan! I like this even better than your old design, and I loved that.

  29. Bruce Boughton says:

    Dan: I’d read Web Sites and Customer Contact by asterisk before you decide to move the contact link!

  30. Very Nice! Somehow it looks this redesign looks more professional than the previous one – and lighter.
    If just the background could get a bit brighter. As it is now I feel that my eyes are drawn to each side instead of the middle.

  31. Dustin Fluke says:

    Wow. Really looks great. I thought something was different when I first arrived, but couldn’t put my finger on it. Excellent job.

  32. eric says:

    Looks excellent.

  33. Phil... says:

    I like it Dan. Much more sleek, more pixelbits. Just one thing, have you got a problem with your box models? That grey bar under the Menu Tabs? Looks wrong to me, dosen’t look finished. It disapears on your gallery pages of portfolio screen shots, where the new design looks great, the tabs really look good there. Anyway, as the name suggests, simplebits and changes are often best when evolving a well know brand linke yours.

  34. Jeremy S. says:

    Wow. Thats seriously great. I am really, really digging the changes to the design. I’ve been fiddling with some ideas for my redesign, and this only makes me push myself a bit harder.

  35. ForgetFoo – I like the contact icon as well — so I think I’ll keep. Still deciding whether cramming a home link in there is the way to go…

  36. swimp says:

    Very, very nice :>

  37. Zelnox says:


  38. Ethan says:

    Sexy, sexy, sexy–I especially love the vertical offset between the content area and the sidebar.
    Great stuff as usual, Dan. Congratulations!

  39. Josh Bryant says:

    BUG – On the green and blue styles, the logo seems to be bolder text than the yellow and the width is cut off. Chris noticed a similar bug, but that was with the old stylesheet, this is with the new ones on green and blue.
    Other than that, everything is looking sweet. That shadow effect coming off the page like that is sick! So great Dan.

  40. Josh – I’m thinking it’s the old stylesheets showing through. I’ve just renamed them to avoid that happening in the future. Try a refresh now and hopefully all will be well. And thanks!

  41. Josh Bryant says:

    It’s looking great. Seems to be fixed!

  42. Hi Dan,
    sweet redesign of your navbar indeed! :-)
    Just one thing.
    On Firefox 0.8/win XP:
    Maybe its the fault of my version of Firefox, but when I switch back from “Notebook” to the startpage, i dont get a white background from the words “I’ll admit” till “Prefer the old design?”
    If I reload it, or scroll down, the white backgroundcolor shows up.
    If you want I send you an screenshot.
    I was able to reproduce this behaviour serveral times.
    Anyway nice redesign!

  43. Cristian Lavaque says:

    Congratulations Dan. This is my first time commenting although I’ve been coming here for weeks.
    I agree with others on the layering of the main over the nav column is a great touch. Do you mind if I use something like that in a future design? ;)

  44. Dan Brown says:

    Great new look Dan. I too have been coming here for ages, taking in the comments from the simplequiz and checking out your photos, but never got round to commenting. The new design is a worthy reason for me posting. Keep up the great work.
    One thing now I have previewed my post. I know you haven’t done it much in previous versions of the site… how come you don’t style the form elements very much / at all ?
    And the preview page stretches wider than the normal content and the design breaks slightly. I guess it’s due to the increased font size on this page.
    Hope that helps a little.

  45. Chris Hester says:

    The button to switch to the old style should be a toggle. I too couldn’t spot how to switch back to the new style.

  46. Steve Smith says:

    Nice work Dan. You’ll want to update the icons at the bottom of the ‘About’ page with your new icons, or do a css image replacement to show the new icons with the new style, or the old with the old. Very nicely done!
    (I’m also getting an MT error on the comment preview page, at the very bottom.)

  47. Unskillsson says:

    Really nice redesign.

  48. Todd says:

    Nice touch-up. When you click either Portfolio or Contact, you get a 1 px shift to the right movement of the whole page. Win XP Pro / FireFox 0.9.

  49. Kim Siever says:

    Very cool!
    All these redesign projects have given me the redesign bug and I am working on version 7 of my portfolio now.

  50. karinne says:

    That’s good stuff! The new features just adds a bit of spices to the old design!
    And those icons are great! How do you make those anyways!?

  51. Anonymous says:

    @Todd: I guess that’s because you have no scrollbar on those pages, so the middle of your page moves a little bit to the right…

  52. Seth Messer says:

    Wonderful job as always, Dan. The icons give it a very playful/fun breath of life. You have such a wonderful eye for icon design, specifically for web usage shown on your own website. Keep it up!

  53. jina.exe says:

    Very nice. Not too different from the design before, but still very “Simple Bits”. :)
    By the way, I’ve been thumbing through your book today… I’m anxious to get a moment to sit down and start reading the thing. I had no idea that <q></q> existed. :)

  54. Jeff Minard says:

    I like the new update and say that it is an improvement all around with one exception. The publications icon doesn’t work for me.
    The iconography of all the others works very well, but the use of a folder for publications is rather non-descript. You may want to consider using something like a book or a magazine there instead. It would be much more relevant.

  55. That’s some nice work.

  56. Joseph says:

    Dan! Take those snazzy icons you made and put together a theme for Firefox.
    The one that comes with 0.9 is just plain unprofessional and those boys over at Moz need some help.

  57. kiri says:

    fyi In Opera 7.10 on Win your icons in the bar under the SB logo are all stacked on top of one another.

  58. Todd says:

    re: #51: Yes, you’re correct. It’s because there’s no scrollbar.

  59. Dominik Hahn says:

    Dan, nice work i like it :)
    Didn’t noticed it at first because the firefox jumped directly to the content and i was wondering about the comments :D
    (/me is waiting patiently for your book to arrive ;))

  60. sear says:

    i liked the site before. right now i love it!
    much props at the icons! they’re simply awesome!

  61. David says:

    I really love those icons…I wish I had Graphic Design skills. Keep up the great work. :D Love the new design. :D

  62. compuwhiz7 says:

    After getting used to the design some more… what’s the price for the whole kaboodle?
    Nah, just kidding. :)