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Welcome to the new & improved site!

After over a year of planning and month’s of development the new site is finally launched! I’ve been talking about this redesign for quite some time now and my intention was initially to release it much sooner, but there were(as usual) a couple of bumps in the road that forced me to postpone the launch. The site is still not 100% finished, so please be patient while I work out the remaining tweaks and bugs. If you run into something that doesn’t work or looks strange, I’d really appreciate if you’d drop a line in the comments below.

So, what’s new?

As of yesterday the site have been up and running for 6 years, and during that time we’ve done a couple of facelifts/redesigns. But today’s launch is bit different since we this time around have rebuilt everything from scratch. And after analyzing what works and what doesn’t we also decided to change things up a bit…

A shift in structure

Since day one we’ve focused on our categorized ”inspiration galleries” where we feature what we feel are great, inspirational designs. And I personally believe that these roundups have played a huge role in the success of the site. So it might seem like a strange move to now discontinue some of them.
– Some of them, you ask? Yes, the ones with mixed designs won’t be coming out anymore but we will still be doing the themed roundups with ”beer labels”, ”movie posters”, ”show reels” and so on. And posts like featured artists and projects will of course still be coming out.

But with this new design we’ve decided to change course a bit. Instead of only publishing one gallery per day with only design category/field, there will now be a steady flow of inspiration coming out throughout the day in a kinds of creative fields. This in combination with a new custom build workflow will hopefully give us more time to find even more great designs to publish. Only interested in seeing specific categories and not every single pieces coming out? Would you prefer to be able to filter the content to your likings? No worries, we got you covered…

The new functions

With the shift with becoming a hybrid site that published both articles and single images, we’ve come up with a couple of functions that will not only help you to filter out new content, but also make searching in the archive with 35.000 previously published designs much easier.

– “The feed”

The feed is where all new designs will show up and is updated 24/7. If you leave it as is, you will be able to look through every single piece that gets published. But you can also use keywords to only filter out the pieces that interests you.

– ”Channels”

When you’ve created your custom filter you can save those settings to be used the next time you visit the site. We call these saved settings a ”channel”. And the thought is that your custom channels will function as your personal dynamic inspiration galleries, where you are in more control of what you see.

– Like/bookmarks

Members will also from now on be able to bookmark published designs and articles by using the heart icon. Under your settings you’ll find a filterable list of all the content that you’ve bookmarked. This also functions as an indicator for us to see which types of content you guys like.

– New submission

Yes, we’ve finally added a new submission form and it’s moved from the header to you settings page where you’ll be able to keep track of your submitted pieces. All submitted images you upload will be listed under your profile(coming soon) and if we feel that the design is especially inspiring we’ll also feature the piece in the main feed.

Monetization

Design is my passion and I really love doing what I do. But a business can’t run on passion alone since there’s a lot of costs to keep the site up and running along with being able to pay my own bills. So to keep things rolling we’ve had ads to get some revenue coming in. But the massive increase of adblockers have made it significantly harder for sites like this one to make ends meet.

We’ve seen a lot of larger sites taking up the battle and denying access to specific content for people blocking the ads. This is not something that we will be doing. We will be continuing to have ads on the site and if you feel that you have to block them, block away… But to make up the loss of revenue we’ll instead we will be partnering up with great companies within the industry and offer you special deals and discounts on their products and services, and in return we will get a small commission on each sale(at no expense to you). So that will be a new way to support what we do while at the same time you can get your hands on a great resource.

What’s next?

Like I mentioned previously, we’ve published over 35.000 curated images over the years. These are now being converted to the new system, which is quite time consuming and will probably take a couple of days. So please be patient while this happens. And over time we’ll go over everything and remove duplicates and index everything properly.

The following categories are currently being converted:

  • Graphic Design(And FYI, since we initially used this category as a random design category you’ll find older work from multiple fields/areas. As mentioned, we will be looking over these older designs and index them properly a bit later on.)
  • Web design
  • 3D
  • Logotypes
  • Architecture/Interior design
  • Clothing
  • Vector
  • Street art/Graffiti
  • Product/industrial
  • Quotes
  • User interface
  • Digital Art
  • Photography
  • Typography
  • Illustration/Painting/Drawing
  • Advertising
  • Print design
  • Packaging
  • Motion graphics

What do you think?

So, what do you like/dislike with the new site? We’re very interested in hearing your initial thoughts so please share your reactions in the comments below.

List of known bugs that we’re working on:
– Big white gap in the feed results.
– Caching of results.
– Long load time.

Leave a comment

  • RDodds

    The new site looks great. Smart move adding the curated offers. Its a lot more helpful to the readers and relates better to the content. Great job.

  • Agree a 100% with RDodds.
    One remark, you might want to save the permalink settings twice in your wp admin. Some links still point to the maintenance page ;-)

    • Ahhh… I’ve done some changes so hopefully everything is working correctly now.

  • scottrichardson

    Great work Dan, surprised you still use WP as your platform rather than something custom/faster? But really liking the architectural and design changes!

    • Cheers Scott! Yeah, WP isn’t the fastest CMS around. At the moment it was the more convenient and cost-efficient option.

  • MG

    Curated offers piss me off, they are usually shit and make the page lose all its credibility. Had to stop visiting many beloved websites because of that, please don’t ruin this. Also why didn’t you wait until May 1st (http://www.may1reboot.com/ ) ?

    • Whoops… wasn’t aware about May 1st Reboot! Would definitely have given me some more time to work out bugs etc. Any suggestions on how sites can make revenue if ads and curated offers are out of the question?

      • MG

        I guess you are right, you’d have to make money somehow. I think it depends on how you implement said offers, if done tastefully there’s nothing wrong with it. I, personally, don’t like “sponsored” posts and articles where you are led to believe that it’s regular content if you don’t read carefully enough to catch the small “sponsored” tag somewhere. I do love the new design, btw, good work!

  • Lee Mounsey

    The site looks fasntastic! Really happy to see the site moving forward! The only thing I’ve got a query with is viewing images on the feed. The Images are cropped and shrunk of course to fit the style better but It makes viewing them a bit hard. Before in the articles, each image was a lot bigger and you basically ended up with one image on the screen at a time. This allowed you to see all the details of each image and for one image to be the main focus at a time. Plus each consecutive image was really quick to view no extra clicking or opening other windows.

    In the new feed there seems to be a lot going on at once and if I wanted to properly look at bunch of images I need to click on each one, wait for the popup/image to load, view it, close it and then click on the next. It just makes it a lot harder and take a lot more time than just being able to scroll down. Is there anyway to view the next image once in that popup view or make the feed images bigger so there is only one or two on the page?

    Sorry if this is a bit of a pain it. Your layout was the main reason I used From Up North from all the other inspiration sites (which use similar grid systems).

    • Thanks for you feedback, Lee! I understand what you mean, and I unfortunately don’t have a solution for that at the moment. But maybe I could add a size setting for the custom channels later on, so that the pieces would load in full size instead of thumbnails. Do you think that would work?

      • Lee Mounsey

        That actually would be perfect! Thank you for taking it into consideration. :D

  • Jen M. G.

    Hey there! Congrats to the new site – looks and feels pretty good.

    One thing though: I like the new “Feed” Feature. But if you want people to subscribe to your newsletter it would be a good thing to overthink the infinite loading of content. Once I am on the bottom of the “The feed” page and decide to enter my email address, the new content is loaded and pushes everything down… then I scroll down again, trying to enter my address.. and wham gone again…

    You could try loading it once or even twice automatically per default und after that per interaction of the visitor – a little arrow maybe?

    • Thanks Jen, that’s a good point! And we currently have it the newsletter opt-in on all the pages, which might also be a bit overkill. :)

      • Jen M. G.

        Yes might be a good thing to overthink the necessity of the opt-in on every page as well :)

  • Chris Sims

    Congrats on the new site, Daniel! I know you still have some work to do, but it really is fantastic my friend. I’m looking forward to seeing the future improvements you have for the best design inspiration site around. :)

    • Massive thanks, mate! You out of all people know what a long and crazy process this have been. :) I have sooo many more ideas on how to improve the site further, but like you mentioned I first need to get the current functions working properly. Thanks again!

  • Darcey

    I adored the simplicity of navigating the old site. The new version makes it tough for me to find the information I want in the navigation. Have you guys done much usability testing on this? Saying that, I will say from a UI perspective, the design looks awesome! However, the navigation doesn’t entice me to continue using this site, as I just have no idea where anything is anymore!

    • Hey Darcey, thanks for your feedback. Is it the ability to go directly to a specific category from the navigation that you’re missing? The reason for the new navigation is to simply show what’s new within our more popular categories. The category dropdown from the old navigation is more or less moved tho the article archive, which you access either by clicking “Articles” in the header or the “More” buttons on the big dropdown. Hopefully it’s just something that takes some getting use to. :)

  • Peter

    Great work on the update. I for one loved the curated collections (typography, web design, etc etc), which seems to be phased out now if i understand it correctly. I hope that the custom tag system will allow to get this back in some form, it made it really handy to collect the various designs. Also, will the main feed get an RSS integration? I noticed that there are things added and it feels i am missing new additions. If you dont check everyday, you may fall behind quite a bit…

    • Yes, the mixed inspiration galleries that were coming out each day wont be coming out no more. Instead there will be a steady flow of new inspiration constantly dripping out. Hopefully way more content and in more design areas than before. So the thought is that the new channels will function as a custom inspiration gallery, where the user can control what they see. And yes, I’m looking in to getting the RSS working both for the feed as well as the main articles.

  • Nice design, it’s quite a departure from the old layout that I visited so often. Probably take me a couple of visits to get used to everything. Change is good though.

    • MG

      Is it though? Not necessary. After using this redesign for some days I still don’t really see the point of the feed. Seems to me like it has become a slower, less intuitive version of designspiration.

      • For us the change of structure was necessary, as the old one simply didn’t work for us. So it was to either think of something new or let the slowly die down, like I’ve seen countless other sites do. Yes, the site is way too slow at the moment. It’s something that we’re looking into and hopefully can sort out as we go along.

  • arctangent

    Not a huge fan of the new site… yet. I need to live with it for a while I guess. Sad to see the mixed articles go as the were often my favourites, espcially things like gig posters, movie posters, Star Wars art, etc.

    Also the new site crawls like a tortoise on my Android phone.

    • I expected that there would be some that wouldn’t be to fond of the new site, that’s just how it is. It’s been that way on each of our redesigns. But I’m hoping that it will grow on you. :) The mixed galleries are a thing of the past but we will actually be keeping on pushing out themed galleries, like the ones you mentioned.

      I’m sorry about the trouble with your Android phone. To be completely honest I haven’t had the chance to test it properly on Android phones yet. Will try too look into that or make a proper app for the site.

      • arctangent

        I’m sure it will grow on me Daniel… I’m just not a huge fan of change. I understand why you have done it though. I must not understand what you mean by mixed though. I assumed you meant galleries with work by several different artists. Glad to know I’m wrong.

        And its taken me about ten minutes to type this message properly. I kept being taken away from the dialogue box!

        • Ah… I’ve always referred the roundups with random designs within a specific area as “mixed” galleries(like random packaging designs, as an example), so I simply used that term out of old habit. But I see now how that could be somewhat confusing. Sorry about that. :)

  • Svink

    The new version is perfect, congrats for your work, and thank you for share with us your passion.
    One day without a visit here isn’t a good day ^^

  • Alberto Sulbaran

    Great!

  • Andrew Nyland

    Site looks great, but is pretty spaced out and is slightly awkward on smaller screens. My issue with it now is how slow it is – there is more waiting on the user’s end. When I try to view a single image from the inspiration gallery, it takes a few seconds to load in, and then I can’t view others without leaving that one – I liked being able to scroll through collections of them and not having to wait. Also I think the old header was better, and under your “More” header link, it says “form up north” instead of “from up north”. Besides the timing and untidy urls, I like the design tho.

    • Thanks for your feedback Andrew. Loading speed is definitely an issue that we will be looking into. As for opening each thumbnail in an overlay/lightbox, I mentioned a possible solution on Lee’s comment who had similar feedback. Basically it let you decide if you want to see the images as thumbnails or in full size. That way you can scroll though all the pieces and only have to click on the image if you want to do some kind of interaction(share, like, comment etc.). Would that work for you? Oh, and I’ve fixed the typo in the header. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. ;)

  • Looks great! I’ve been stalking the site for inspiration for years. I feel the new update makes me want to engage more with the site and the community here.

  • Peter

    Do you have an ETA when the RSS feed for the.. errm.. Feed.. is up and running? I really hope for an easier to consume option here (which RSS would probably be). I do feel the current feed viewing interaction does feel a bit clunky. I noticed it is possible to open them in new tabs now (with right click menu – open in new tab; unfortunately not working for command-click, that still opens the modal), so that is definitely a step up, but its not ideal just yet. Looking forward to any improvements/updates :)

    • Good news Peter, the RSS feed for the individual designs is now up & running! http://feeds.feedburner.com/FromUpNorthFeed The exciting items in the RSS might have thumbnails instead of larger images, but new items should be added in full size. Like I mentioned in the post, the site is far from finished and will constantly be tweaked and improved to bring you guys the best experience. :)

      • Peter

        Awesome stuff!! Thanks for the update!

  • I like the new site, looks good! I hadn’t been by here in a while but definitely will more often for more inspiration.

  • mauborba

    I’m not trying to be a troll or buzzkill, but I miss the old version. The focus on this new feed (that feels a lot like a Pinterest channel loosely curated), the bulky navigation, ads in your face all the time, the information that really matter is usually on the bottom half of the page with a lot of useless stuff on top… sorry, I’m a huge fan of From Up North and have spent many hours in here. I’ll try to adapt to this new structure you guys created, perhaps it’s for the better. But really… it’s been difficult.

    • No worries mate, I actually really appreciate your honest feedback. I’m aware that in terms of UX and speed the new site has quite a lot of issues. I was more or less forced to rethink the whole structure of the site to try an make up for the loss of revenue due to people using ad-blockers. I simply wasn’t able to continue running the site the old way. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, there’s sooo much planning behind this relaunch. Ideally, I would of course have liked a big budget and a team to help out, but that unfortunately wasn’t the case. But like I said, I really do appreciate your feedback. I take the disappointment as an indicator that people actually care, which I see as a really precious thing. But I hope you can hang in there, while I try to sort out the issues over time.

      • mauborba

        Thank you for your answer Daniel. I’m not going to give up on From Up North so easily. :D And I’m sure there is a lot of people who won’t either. Hope you find a way to keep dedicating yourself to the website. Have you considered some kind of campaign on Patreon like Motionographer is doing? Paid jobs session? Premium account for a monthly fee? From Up North Store? Courses? IDK, just throwing some ideas. You’ve probably thought about all of that already. Keep grinding brother, you will find a way. The most difficult part you’ve done already, which is create a strong brand with an awesome community. We are still with you.

        • Thanks for the encouragement, mate! I have considered a store, courses etc. but most of those options take quite a lot of time and effort to get of the ground. Bud haven’t thought about using Patreon, but that’s a really great idea. Will definitely investigate that further, thanks for the tip! :)