1) the drop shadows, too heavy and potentially too large.
2) the spacing suffers in each grouped element. for example each post, the header, the menu. I feel the elements aren’t really given the space to breath. I’d introduce a bit more spacing in each group for healthy readability.
3) I think there would be more continuity perhaps if the upper bar was thin like the footer bar, I think it’s clashing with the shape of the oval logo. Also in that chain of thought, I reckon a perfect circle will serve you better than an oval.
4) Not crazy about the font, it’s less obvious in headers, but in the paragraphs and menus it’s not doing my eyes any good.
These are obviously just my stylistic opinions of the site, essentially there’s not much I can say is simply wrong. You are making some choices however that is making it appear very dated. Styles that you will see in web design during the 90’s and early 2000’s.
I think a few tweaks, making your shadows more subtle, giving appropriate spacing inside the grouped elements and taking a look at your fonts will easily bring this design +10 years.
Thanks for the tips. Greg, I’m looking at implementing a few of your suggestions, but I’m not really sure what to do about fonts. Is there anything you would recommend?
Edit: I have update the picture to my most recent version. Any thoughts on further changes to be made? How are the fonts? Is the bokeh background to much or is it a good contrast to the main page? Site Preview (.png)
I think the background needs to be toned down slightly. Maybe bring down the opacity of those circle things by 20% or so. I had a hard time not looking at them when I first saw the image.
I think my main issue with it is tough to describe. I feel like I have more conflicts with the proposed page content more than anything. Being just a kind of 2×2 grid with topics plopped into it just feels like it lacks… "personality" being the right term?
The other thing that is kind of bothering me is the lack of a logo somehow incorporated into the name. That circle thing being across the header from the name implies they’re not the same thing. What I’m assuming is the logo also doesn’t really fit into the site style – really cartoonish/velvet look contrasting with an almost Envato-style background.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it almost appears like you may be designing the website first and the brand image second. If that’s the case, I strongly recommend reversing the process and hammer out your brand image. Make a logo that defines you and incorporates your name, and then wrap the website around that color scheme and the feeling you are going for.