I started working on Prehnite couple of months back when an idea of designing a content based theme with warm colours and simple organisation silently but surely possessed me. Only a few colours were to be used throughout the design and content, i.e. blog posts / articles, had to literally hold centre stage. The two criteria together not only provided a straightforward design–aesthetic though abstract but also served to rein in any choices or introduction of elements that overstepped the boundary of lucidity.
Designing for the web affords peculiarly contrasting sets of choices, on one hand I had the complete freedom to design it for it’s own sake and on completion decide what were the options of extension and usage so as to lend it a life and not leave it in the shadows of an archive in my hard drive, while on the other hand, I could begin by choosing a platform to build upon based on some exact specifications and coax my original idea into taking a shape that suits real life tools and technologies. With this design I chose the latter. Keeping in mind the original criteria, the search for a platform was rather easy. Ghost provided a single minded approach that focussed on serving one and only one aspect of anyone’s web presence by developing a simple tool for Blogging. I had fiddled with Ghost upon its public release at the end of last year and was aware of its strengths. While many other CMSs, both open source and proprietary, offer choices to users that range from simple propositions to extraordinarily versatile ones, Ghost offers an interesting balance that if one so chooses may be exploited for a wide range of uses but also allows a concentrated development, purpose built to the hilt. It was therefore an easy choice since Ghost offered few focussed elements to develop with but my design needed still fewer elements to survive in the wild.
The deliberation to distinguish which features to support and which ones to categorise as otiose could not have been any simpler. Support for static pages is almost an essential part of any serious blog, while blog descriptions provide briefly an immediate and neat introduction to the site, a detailed About page allows a deeper understanding of the purpose and gives a ‘face’ to the auteur. On the other end of the spectrum Commenting system, which Ghost itself does not natively support and rarely in my experience produces constructive feedback, was labeled superfluous. Cover images were another element that was axed. With this design I intended to concentrate the focus of the viewer in its entirety to the words. Rosario proved to be an excellent typeface for extended reading and effortlessly synced in with the design itself.
Choosing colours, warm & rich, to provide a suitable, unpretentious context to the content is difficult on web. While unrestrained use of colours come off as tawdry anywhere irrespective of the medium, creative faculties in painting or even printmaking can make use of textures (paper, brush among others) that web designers have no access to. I was therefore especially happy when I was able to use Yellow, Green and variants of Beige along with shades of Grey to play with one another to my satisfaction.
All together developing a theme for Ghost, bringing disparate elements into harmony through moments of frustrations and ecstasy has been an worthwhile journey. I am offering this theme as a commercial release, to be sold through the reliable, secure and extremely capable user interface of Gumroad. You may buy the theme from here. I sincerely wish you all the very best with your Ghost blogging experience and hope Prehnite provides you with a congenial context to your musings and reflections.