This day has been a long time coming. Ever since adopting the Icethetics name, I've been wanting the .com domain to bring you to the site. But the web being what it is, the asking price was always too high. That changed last year when the domain owner reached out to me directly. We negotiated a deal I could live with and that started me down the path of reinventing Icethetics. It would be about much more than just a new URL. I wanted to find new ways to make this community valuable to you. I have a few ideas and I'm eager to hear yours as well.
More than a simple redesign
First, things look different. But this wasn't merely a redesign. I'm rebuilding Icethetics from the ground up on a new platform. That's why a lot of the content that exists on icethetics.co is missing—at least for now. I'm working to transfer as much as I can in a timely manner.
The last time I made a change this significant to Icethetics was when we outgrew Google's Blogger service and needed a full-fledged website. That's how we originally landed at Squarespace in 2008. At the time it was exactly what was needed. But over the past decade, I saw a slow decline in their service as their "upgrades" never quite lived up to that, in my mind.
I changed hosting providers because Squarespace simply wasn't cutting it anymore. Long story short, they began to push out sites like mine in favor of online stores. Well, I have nothing to sell you. But that's the way it is. Their choice. It's also mine to move on.
The good news is I've found Webflow. It's really the ideal platform for Icethetics. It makes things so much simpler for me on the back end so that you can have a more interesting and useful experience on the website. And that makes a difference. It has a great content management system which will enable me to do something I've been trying to get off the ground for a while—the Almanac. It's not quite ready to go live yet, but when it is, it'll be a great resource for fans of hockey branding. More to come on that, but you can get a taste from the Teams tab in the menu.
JerseyWatch gets an upgrade
Of course, it's summertime so I know what you're most concerned with is the JerseyWatch! Don't worry, I've got you covered. That aspect of Icethetics is very much intact and I've even made some recent updates. There's a JerseyWatch tab in the menu that takes you to a page containing everything I know that I can share. You can sort the entries alphabetically by team or, if you're in a hurry, by newest updates.
If you're only interested in news and JerseyWatch updates related to a specific team, use the Teams tab in the menu. All their info is there—including concept art!
Daily updates in the Concepts Showcase
A big part of finding a new platform for the site was the concept art. The daily posts fell off last fall as the Squarespace site became more challenging to manage and my workload increased at my day job. (Big promotion!) Since then, a lot of you have asked when the daily concept art would return. I'm happy to say it's back today as the new Concepts Showcase!
Better still—since artists have still been submitting designs during the hiatus—I've backloaded over a month's worth of posts dating back to June 1. So you have plenty to peruse while I keep adding on to the new site. I haven't figured out a good way to transfer the daily posts from the old site yet, but that is something I'm working to do, primarily because it's now easier to see all the posted concepts for a specific team on their Teams page.
There's also a new way to see all the concept posts from a specific designer. You can find the Contributors list at the bottom of the Concepts Showcase home. Click on a name and you'll find that designer's page. In the future, I plan to expand those pages by allowing artists to submit personal bios and possibly include links to their portfolios or social accounts.
Plans for the future
I feel like a talk a lot about the future of Icethetics. I always have these grand plans for new things I want to do. The challenge is simply finding the time to do them all. But the new platform should make it easier. In addition to the Almanac which will feature team logo and jersey histories, I want to do more to improve our community. So many young and talented artists make contributions they hope will get them noticed—and, in turn, get them jobs. Concept jerseys aren't the best means for doing that, but I have an idea in mind that could help. More to come.
Another thing I'll be rolling out prior to the start of the 2019-20 hockey season is something I'm calling Icethetics FanVision 2020. I'll get into the details later, but it's a reimagining of the NHL Tournament of Logos that originally launched this site combined with the Uniform Madness competition Icethetics hosted over the summer. In a nutshell, we're going to create our ideal NHL. Should be fun!
Getting in touch
Last thing. In the midst of all these changes, I'm also changing my email address. The Gmail account always felt too generic. To get in touch now, it's simply email@example.com. (The Gmail account will continue to work for the time being, but if you've got me in your address book, you might want to update it.) Of course you can always find me at @icethetics on Twitter and Instagram—usually with posts about new concept on the website.
What do you think?
Though I've been working on it for several weeks now, this new site is still very much a work in progress. With that in mind, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what it needs to help me prioritize what to work on next. What do you want to see more or less of? What features from the old site do you want back?
And here's the big one. I've always been hesitant to add "staff writers" because I can't actually afford to pay a staff. But before I open the floor to writers who want to volunteer their time and efforts the way I do, I'm curious if you even want to hear from them? Are you interested in special features and jersey reviews? Is that a road worth going down?
Anyway, the comments are below. I'd love to get your feedback. Enjoy the new icethetics.com!