It’s easy to become enamored with a rising star. A person who is constantly praised for his insight, expertise, and authority. It’s also easy to drink the koolaid before you’ve checked the ingredients.

Okay, I’m going to be totally honest. The worst part about this blog design is the logo. I mean, Seriously? A white “B” in a red circle? What about that says Chris Brogan?

Now, I realize that some of you may think I’m the pot calling the kettle black. After all, my personal blog/twitter logo is a D inside a circle, and has been for the past 2+ years. But it’s stylish. I’m sorry, but the little things DO matter. Take a look:

LETTER LOGOS

What do YOU think? Naturally, I think my logo is pretty hot. I’ll admit that I haven’t converted it into a winning site logo yet… mostly because of my font choice for the rest of the name.

But the D stands out. My Twitter handle is DanielthePoet. One word. One letter in the logo. Since when does Chris Brogan go by “Brogan”? He made a name for himself as Chris Brogan. The logo does not reflect the name.

Not to mention, my D is what I’ve been using on Twitter for ages (but recently switched to a photo). But Chris Brogan won’t likely be using the B for his Twitter account. Maybe for some sort of Brogan Media account, which behaves strictly as an RSS feed.

Yes, I realize he’s insanely popular. Yes, I realize he can do whatever he wants. But sometimes, SOMETIMES, popularity clouds a person’s judgment. They modify things that don’t need modification. Or maybe they change blog theme partnerships and can’t get the same quality design they had previously.

Whatever the excuse, this design hurts his credibility. It’s a backward move. And honestly, he could change the logo and the rest of the site would suddenly look less bad. But the current header background and logo combine to make a very claustrophobic feel that makes me want to run away.

IT’S SAD WHEN THE PAST IS MORE GLORIOUS THAN THE PRESENT.

The color scheme of this image is much better than the current claustrophobic red/gray mess. This site screams, “Hey, I’m friendly! Get to know ME!” While the current red/gray says, “Hey! I jumped platforms when it became popular to do so, and now I’m settling for a lame design!”

That may sound harsh, and it I’ll admit that it is. What do I know? I wasn’t there when Chris made his decisions. I’m sure the days of begging for a free blog design are over and he hopefully thinks his new look is really good. I say hopefully because I hate to think that anyone would settle.

Take a look at ANOTHER design he’s had:

Either one of these two designs is head and shoulders better than the current look and feel. The light blue design was friendly, humble, and approachable. This blue/green/tan look is more modern, professional, and authoritative. But the red/gray? I’m going to stick with claustrophobic.

But before I end this little rant, let’s talk about what his current blog design does well:

  • Call to Action Image Links Above the Main Nav – this gives all visitors a quick and easy way to take action. Get the newsletter, book him for a speaking engagement, contact him, or work with him. Brilliant concept. Mediocre execution. But just about ANYTHING is going to lose its sparkle when placed against this #233038 background.

STOP THE PRESSES!

This is what I get for starting a post a month ago. Chris Brogan has updated his blog design. Take a quick look:

Now I have to change my statements about EVERYTHING! Thanks a lot, Chris. 

So the new design is a significant improvement, if for no other reason than that it doesn’t feel claustrophobic. I immediately noticed the following upgrades:

  • Hipper, more attractive header background. A little gradient goes a long way.
  • Secondary nav, adds more usability AND (more importantly) color contrast. Keeps the site looking fresher and more alive above the fold.
  • Fewer actionable choices (now only one) above the main nav make the top look less cluttered (though not entirely a plus).
  • First widget in the sidebar adds color contrast to the scene to really help the blog post body stand out.
  • Above the fold, Chris still manages to get the newsletter, RSS, and Twitter links in the sidebar.

After all the ugly things I said about his blog above, I now recant and give Brogan a 6.5 out of 10. I still wouldn’t keep the logo, because he’s not known as “Brogan.” Everyone knows him as “Chris Brogan.” So at the very least (and I mean very least), his logo should incorporate both C & B.

LAST THOUGHTS

If you want to reach out and touch Chris Brogan, you can use the primary navigation. If you want to read up on a specific blog category, you can do so in the new second row of navigation. You’re getting a better experience now, and I really have to give him props for taking a bad situation and squeezing out some lemonade.

THE VERDICT

I say bring back the old logo and you’ll have my vote of approval. Not that you’d want it.