Case study: Starting Health

Writing and designing a health guide

There’s a lot of misinformation floating around the web about what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle. Starting Health is the guide I created to break down misguided ideas about physical health and present clear facts and actionable steps.

It’s laid out in a standard blog format, designed to be approachable and allow for both long-form articles and shorter blog posts. While research-heavy, I wrote articles in a friendly, simple to understand tone and went beyond text content to include lots of images, charts and graphs, quotes, and lists.

Design

The general aesthetic of the site is a mix of natural imagery with clean lines. The site header blends architectural textures with a aerial landscape view in an attempt to making something eye-catching and non-obvious.

I had about 6 color combinations that I experimented with almost through launch day. At the end of the day I went with a mid-tone shades of blue, green, and gray that were the right mix of poppy and saturated. They each hold visual weight on their own, and balance each other when used in conjunction.

My desire to create a great reading experience for this guide lead to likely the most fun type exploration I’ve had in any project. Choosing the right typefaces, sizes, layout and optimizing these variables for each screen size was a blast.

I fell in love with Tofino when Lost Type Co-op first released it and have been using it on projects ever since. I used it on the logo and as the interface type. For articles, I used the sans-serif Karla as header with PT Serif for body. Karla has mostly plain with some interesting angles, while PT Serif is readable, easy on the eyes, and beautiful in each weight and italic.


Working in Craft CMS

When it came to choosing the right CMS, I wanted something lightweight that I could drop my plain HTML and CSS designs right but still extensible enough for heavy templating customization. Several developers recommended Craft CMS and so I dove in.

What an enjoyable experience! I love Craft’s content-centric approach and the level of control they expose to developers. I made heavy use of their matrix fields to allow for me to mix and match fields in the back-end. I ended up styling sections for quotes, pull quotes, all kinds of image sizes and styles, and embeds because of how easy it is to use in the admin interface and in templates.

I can’t recommend Craft enough and I keep looking for excuses to try out all their features.