New look for, and the GREATEST about us page of all time got a bit of an over-hauling yesterday by Rick.  The new site is much more spacious and clean, and well… sexier.  Now normally a site redesign would be a one line entry, or possibly no entry at all, but this new site brings something very, very cool with it.  It features what I consider (without overstatement) to be the greatest company profile pages of all time.  Each of the EllisLab staff have been masterfully illustrated as a super hero.  The results are positively stunning.

Profile pages at featuring superhero illustrations

You can see it yourself on my profile.

These were a ton of fun to watch getting developed.  The talented illustrator is Cliff Persaud, who took each of our lousy headshots and turned them into something positively heroic.  For each staff member, he went through from concept to completion iterating over each many, many times.  In some cases, he designed completely different versions of us, in essence developing 2 full versions.  Rick for example ended up with the super man archtype, but also went through a version as a kung fu master (since he’s so into the martial arts).  In general, all we provided him was very vague descriptions (or nothing) and he ran with it. I love them all.  The symbolism of Rick, and the attitude of Doctor Jones, and the ferocity of Les. He remains one of my favourites (I love the claws).  The only direction Les provided was…

I want wings.

The end result is mostly a combination of hand-drawing and illustrator.  Here I am as I evolve:

The level of detail in the illustrations is incredible.  Check out the detail in my armour from an early concept draft (we dropped some of the detail for web purposes).
Details of armour

If you have questions or praise for the author, feel free to leave it here.  Cliff reads this blog from time to time, and at any rate I’ll be sure to direct all praise towards him.

Well done Cliff, and thanks for the heroic new branding!


Niklas wrote on

Love it! Great work!

Luka Vida wrote on

Sorry to inform you, but the Croatian web development company web.burza had their superheroes long ago.
No matter that, I think your work is great, especially CodeIgniter.

Derek wrote on

Their work is great, but I think its safe to say that our pages are nothing like theirs.

John wrote on

Hmm, i preferred the old site!

Matthew Pennell wrote on

Ha! I think I like Kurt’s the best…

José Carlos wrote on

Nice work, the new site looks great.

Fabian wrote on

for me its a big step backwards in design.

liked the old side sooo much, coloring, type, everything.

Will Bolton wrote on

This redesign just strikes me as odd. The previous site had only been up for a little over a year. Jesse B-C had developed a consistent look across all four company sites - layout, navigation, logos and icons. It worked so well. Why change? Has Rick got too much time on his hands?

The new staff illustrations clash in style with the cartoon Rick in the site header.

Also the site profiles are buried 3 clicks down in the navigation hierarchy. Seems like a bit of a waste. Maybe you should have committed to the superhero theme for the site redesign and put the illustrations front and centre.

louis w wrote on

Sorry I have to go with the crowd here, I prefer the old site. The previous design had much pre presence, this just looks dated and like every other website on the internet.

The characters are fun thou.

Also I have to say I am not a fan of placing items in your top level navigation that are password protected and will not be available to the majority of people visiting the site. If this area is for staff only shouldn’t they know how to get to it?

Troy wrote on

Just wondering if Nick Fury has showed up in your living room in the middle of the night yet?

Jeff McMorris wrote on

Your old site was way better.  Super heroes are ok for your profile pages but they don’t match your design not that it matters much since people rarely look at profile pages anyway. 

Your old design was in my “great design” bookmarks.  This new site looks bland. White space doesn’t look right.  Tag line is too general and boring, stick with “where ideas hatch”.  Also your new design wasn’t even old, I know it might seem like it to you guys who look at it everyday but to us it is still new.  Your original design drew me to your site when I was choosing a CMS.  I saw it and said “this is quality, these guys know what they are doing!”  Then I checked the documentation and videos and said these guys really know how to do it right.  If you want to make changes to your site, go back to your original designer, he was fantastic,  I would hire him for my own project if I could afford him:-)

jean-Christophe Courte wrote on

Excellent !!!!

Miroslav Yordanov wrote on

I like it!
When I saw it first, I thought - “Superheros!? I knew it! I’ve always thought that there is something…”

V. Arora wrote on

Absolutely love the new design.  I have to agree with those that say it takes away from the cohesiveness that all of the EllisLab network sites had before, but nonetheless, it’s great!  Love the superheros.  I think the one of you, Derek, is my favorite.

Grammar Geek wrote on

Love it. Cliff did a kick-ass job! (tho, I thought for sure he’d work a tie in to yours somehow. *evilgrin*)

isaac bordons wrote on

I’m with Will, Louis and Jeff…
The old version for me was better, more integrated with the other sites(Ci, EE).
Now does not look too professional does not have any special.Personally i don’t like the illustrations too. Why change the work of Jesse Bennett?

Derek wrote on

Wow did this post ever take a detour.  Barely a sentence mention about the redesign, the whole post was supposed to be about the illustrations, the process, appropriate kudos.  Anyhow, to address the theme of the comments, I guess design is in the eye of the beholder - in this case, I like the new look substantially more then the old. 

The old site was designed by Rick.  Jesse was primarily responsible for the bannerhead though, this is true, although the illustration was not his work.  I don’t think arguments about corrupting Jesse’s vision stand in this case, although I think he is a brilliant designer to be sure.

The “lab” is not tied to any specific product or branding, and gives us the freedom to design it without needing to tie ourselves to that. In this case, while I didn’t do the design, I don’t think the super heroes should “blend” in with the rest of the site, they are meant to be unique, fun, and show off the work of a talented artist. The branding on and has not changed.

Sort of related, when we did the design for the new control panel for ExpressionEngine 2.0, we had Veerle Pieters do it, in my opinion among the top 3 designers on the planet (arguably the best), build our new CP theme.  When we showed it publicly about half the crowd went “OMG I liked the old one, this one scares me!” and half went “Wow, cutting edge and gutsy, love it”. 

My point is not that design “A” is better or worse then “B”, or that designs need to change over time; it is simply that this design meets the goals Rick set out to meet.

Now, back onto topic, don’t I look bad-ass in CodeIgniter armour?!?

isaac bordons wrote on

You are the “Iron Man” of Ci!
P.S: my oppinion is not to be fussy! only to express my opinion about…

Gargananana wrote on is better >.>