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Smashing Magazine’s Web Design Challenge

This article is in response to a blog written by Paul Boag at Smashing Magazine.

Paul invokes a challenge to designers everywhere asking that they post a blog that explains their reasoning behind their design process. This is my response to that particular article.

Hello readers and designers of the world. My name is Heather, Owner of Ravenous Raven Design. I graduated with an A.A.S in software development back in 2010. While attending college I learned very little about the design process as we concentrated more on programming. In fact, the most we learned was basic Photoshop skills. My talent for design is natural, self taught, boundless and probably very egotistical.

Before learning about WordPress 6 months ago, I was creating all my designs in HTML, CSS and JQuery. Since then, I have have been creating child themes utilizing the awesome Thematic Theme Framework provided by The Automatic Theme Team. So, for that reason, I cannot take much credit for the grid structure.

Ravenous Raven Design’s Death Sentence

Web designers who laugh at me
So now I leave unto you, my website, my design, my heart. I expose my code, my creation and my world. Please, handle with care.

The following is an explanation as to why I do the things I do within the realms of the inter web.


Like I mentioned above, I cannot take credit for the grid. I made very little changes to the grid with CSS because the current structure provided by thematic was perfect in my eyes. I used a full page width on my services pages. After reading a few articles on how too long of a paragraph can tire the eyes, I do think I should break it up more for the reader, I just haven’t decided what to do yet.


  1. Fixed flower like frills on bottom corners: Draw the visitors attention to the centerpiece, being that they are fixed gives an effect of light dimming and fading as you scroll. Helps relieve the dark gothic sense of my theme with some added light and frills.
  2. Small grey frills on 4 corners of main content area: Draw the visitors attention once more by framing the centerpiece. Adds a little depth to the main content.
  3. Shadowing the main content: Shadowing is always cool, isn’t that the new thing in CSS3? huh? I f*ckin love shadows! The shadow stays -_-
  4. My logo above: I love Edgar Allen Poe and Outer Space, so I bring them both with me into my design.

    Why does the gold bar the raven sits upon extend the full width of the browser? Well, because I spent probably 3 hours trying to make fancy end pieces in Photoshop and failed every time. So I said, screw it. Go beyond and mystify the vistor. mwahaha. Plus, I think it says “This is me, awesome me at the very top upon a pedestal, and below you will find my work. These are separate entities, my ego and my job. Know who you are dealing with civilian, I design websites.”


I wanted the visitor to feel that my site was elegant and mysterious. Purple, gold and silver gave me this feel so I figured it would give others the feel too. When something is mysterious, people want to find out more. Am I right or wrong? Oh, so you say its brown and grey do you??? hmmm, well why don’t you write me a blog that shows me the proper way to create gold and silver using gradients cause I can’t find a tutorial anywhere!!. Spank you very much.


I used serif for the main reading content and sans-serif for all headers other than H1. Does that look fancy or what?


Well, the only image I really use is the raven photograph on my contact me page. This raven is obviously TooBadass and that’s why I chose it.


Ok, as much as I love doing websites for professionals, It is not my drug of choice. I would really love to opportunity to design for tattoo shops, bars, clubs, musicians, artists and the like. I was hoping my own web design would attract this type of business to me. I know I could express these types of clients very well as not only are they usually a more laid back people, but they are usually willing and wanting of something unique, powerful, grasping and eye catching. The type of design I would love to put my name on.

So there you have it infidels. Rip me apart all you want. I take constructive criticism quite kindly actually. In fact, I love it. How else could I become a better designer without this kind of opportunity? I would like to take this time to thank Paul Boag for writing a very interactive blog.

Author: Heather Valencia

Author: Heather Valencia

Web Designer & Developer

I’ve been developing WordPress websites as a freelance web designer in Spokane since 2010. My passion for building websites is as strong as the dedication I put forth in strengthening my client relationships.

If you’ve valued the content I work hard to provide for free, show your appreciation with a cup of coffee or a tip.

Either way, I’m very appreciative that you came here. Share a post and if you think something is lame, email me and let me know.

Consider a donation to my daugther’s business! 🙂


  1. Lauren

    Lauren! Very inspiring, thanks for sharing.  I am a big fan of dark web designs, and they are so hard to pull off, but you have done a great job on your site. (I do love those fixed scrolls at the bottom too btw.) I’m also partial to Edgar Allan Poe but that’s besides the point.

    Thanks again for sharing your design process, I think I have the courage to participate as well!

    (I also go with serif for the body text, sans for the headers on my own websites and blogs. Nice choice.)

    • Heather Valencia

      Thank you for the positive feedback Lauren . It’s always a delight to meet a fellow genius who understands my madness. I can’t wait to see your post. I will be looking out for it!

    • Lauren

      I have no idea why my comment starts with ‘Lauren!’  lol. I think I meant to say ‘Wow,’ or something of that nature whilst also signing into discus and got sidetracked. (How dorky lol!)

      🙂 Anywho, coming across like-minded designers is a delight for me as well, I am glad I visited the Smash mag today & saw your comment. Keep up the good work. Speaking of work, I’ll start working on that post. Cheerio! 🙂

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