Ever since I first started working with the web in 1996, I have tried to design an appealing personal site. Though my first web site did end up landing me a pretty cool job, it was ultimately a failure in the aesthetic sense.
The design you've seen if you've read my website at jerf.org (as opposed to solely through RSS) is the third, and while it has been the most flexible and least garish, it still hasn't been anything to be proud of.
Nevertheless, I am very stubborn and I remain determined to create an appealing and functional design. My only rule or complication is that I refuse to design it around white or black, on the grounds that I wanted a bit of a challenge. In hindsight, maybe I should have just given up on that requirement... did I mention I'm stubborn?
This time around I actually tried to use some basic color theory, but it still isn't the best ever. At least it's an improvement; if I can just incrementally improve it a few more times I might have a decent design. Your feedback is welcome.
Moral of the story: Appreciate your graphic designers. It ain't easy work.
A couple of interesting technical notes: This was done solely with a switch-out of the CSS file, though it has revealed a bug in the template I use for the static portions of this site (incorrectly closed div in the sidebar). Also, I have used Mozilla-specific extensions to round off the boxy edges; while the design should work in all modern browsers, I informally consider the Mozilla rendering official (heh heh). You may want to check it out in Mozilla if you are interested in web stuff, and see how you do it in the CSS file.
On the "color theory" note, blue + purple aren't contrasting enough on their own. I've assigned a contrasting yellow to blockquote elements,
like this, but I really need to figure out how to work yellow into the design somewhere. I didn't like it as the color of the title bars, and with the simplicity of my design there isn't anywhere else to put it. (Maybe I'll try it on the logo when I get the urge to play with this stuff again.)