If you have found your way here from my old site on Blogger, you will no doubt appreciate that The Courtier has made quite a stylish change to his daily blog. Each of my current projects – Blog of the Courtier, Catholic Barcelona, and wbdnewton.com – has a different, but integrated look to it. Overall I believe these changes are not only positive from a writing standpoint, but also for the reader in terms of both attractiveness and functionality. Needless to say there will be some kinks to be worked out, but these changes have been some time in the making and I am pleased to have finally made them.
Those who have been reading my work for some time now know that I switched over CatholicBarcelona to its own domain name and hosting on WordPress earlier this year. Because it is an ongoing catalogue of entries, rather like a tourist guidebook or specialized encyclopedia, one entry to each church or chapel, it was easier to make the shift because the total number of posts to shift over numbered around 80. The shift also that it allowed me to bring more of the bright, vibrant color that characterizes so much of the art produced in Barcelona during the Romanesque and Gothic periods; the content dictated the blog’s appearance.
In a related way, the inspiration for the Blog of the Courtier led to the conclusion that this blog needed its own distinctive look. As my regular readers know, the Blog of the Courtier takes its inspiration and title from Count Baldassare Castiglione and his “Book of the Courtier” of 1528. Serving as Papal Nuncio to Emperor Charles V in Madrid, Castiglione became a great admirer of the style of the Spanish court. He celebrated their eschewing of the flashy colors of the Middle Ages and his contemporaries in much of Italy and France in favor of what today we would call a minimalist palette – tans, grays, browns and blacks .
However, neither Castiglione nor the Spanish court were themselves minimalists in how we think of the term today – people whose attitude toward style usually involves somewhat workaday materials and no decoration or eye candy. Instead, Castiglione appreciated and wore, as did the Spaniards of his day, rich, deep hues, mixing matte with shine finishes to create a tactile quality. Thus the new site features a similar color range of dark brown, caramel, black and charcoal, and uses seraph fonts to add a bit of subtle decoration.
For the author page wbdnewton.com, which will serve as an umbrella or central distribution site, I felt that things had to be kept primarily functional, and decoration reduced to a minimum. The Catholic Barcelona project necessarily relies on multiple photographs for every single entry, and on Blog of the Courtier each post almost always has an accompanying image. The headquarters for my scribblings needed to have anything necessary for the reader to see what I am doing or get in touch with me, with a minimum of fuss and muss. This allows the existing projects, as well as any new ones I may start, to be interconnected without having them all need to look exactly the same. They can each reflect their own content in their overall look.
As time goes on there will be some tweaking and changing taking place on all three sites, as I realize that some element of a site needs a bit of help. This is where your patronage will mean a great deal, gentle reader, as I continue to research and write about matters which I find interesting, and would like to draw to your attention. Keep in mind of course that I am not a professional journalist, writer, or web designer, and that my efforts are made in my own time. However if you have an idea, suggestion, etc. please do pass it along, since I want to make sure you continue to enjoy their time on these pages, and with the new formats you may even want to share some of my work with those of your own acquaintance.