Just like books and covers, I try not to judge a blog by its splash page. But when I first got to Paul Jeong’s site Blackhand I was worried. Blogs with videogame metaphors tend to be done for the sake of their own design with little in the way of readable content. However, Blackhand turned my preconceptions on their head. Blackhand is a well-written blog, with a fun interface.
Blackhand’s journal is engaging, funny, and accessible for the wider non-Peter-Jeong-knowing public. My favorite posts seem to start off as journal entries but turn into short stories. He writes on life in Atlanta, cubicle hell, church, his parent’s diner, and of course Super-Soakers. Paul recently worked for the company that makes Super-Soakers. (You can see his cool water gun designs under the Visuals section of the site).
The design is fun, with the old-style 2D fighter game metaphor extended throughout. I especially like how the main nav remains “Player 2”, but “Player 1” changes depending on what section of the site you’re in. He’s got several past iterations of the design available for viewing, with “director’s comments.” (His current is my favorite, but hey that’s just my taste). He’s done a smart thing that more blogs should do — a direct link from the splash page to a no-frills version of the journal. Another nice touch: click on the name of a month on the journal page, and the calendar scrolls up for you. Extras include Paul’s comic artwork, industrial design work, pictures, and some old pieces he wrote for the late Swanky ezine.
In all, I’d say Blackhand is a well-written blog with a great design. The only drawback, really, is that Paul doesn’t update his journal that often, making this a weekly read, not a daily one. Go there and see the emergence of a new fist style.blackhand.com