Concerning the New Banner Design

(Last Updated On: February 22, 2017)

It is my understanding that some people do not like the new banner/header design, with a specific complaint being that the little girl is a terrible artist. This, to me, is rather beside the point. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but children on the whole are not terribly accomplished artists. In fact, the messiness of her writing, and the fact that she clearly takes pride in it anyway, is, I think, far more characteristic of what children are like, and therefore a better reflection of what Pigtails represents. I know there may be some tendency among certain followers of our site to romanticize young girls. That’s fine to a point, and we have certainly not eschewed art that falls along those lines, but that is not, and never has been, the point of Pigtails in Paint. Before I say more, I would like to take the opportunity to post what I have said in private to Ron with respect to the new banner:

I rather like the idea that the title is not immediately legible and that it takes a few seconds of work to make it out. That will make it more memorable, since people must actively engage with it instead of just glossing over it. Which, I think, is a fundamental reflection of what good art is about, so the banner better represents what our site is. There are layers to it. It would be easy to make it all very pretty and simple—that’s how my earliest banners looked—but girls aren’t just pretty and simple, and that’s the point. The title reflects that they can be rough around the edges sometimes, but to me that adds to their charm. And it’s one thing to have a simple design when you’re just starting out, but we’ve hopefully moved beyond that. We are a well-established site now, and we’ve been through a lot. The new banner I think captures that complexity. The girl has made her mark, so to speak, and it cuts against the status quo, violates the simply ornamental. Like our girl (maybe we should give our mascot a name), we have made a mark, and we did so on our own terms. Anyone could post images that are simply pleasing and non-challenging—what we’re doing is exploring aspects of girlhood that much of society would rather we didn’t. There have been several attempts to silence our voice, but we didn’t let that stop us, did we?

That is the philosophical basis for the new design. I think it is a respectable goal for us to move past the pleasingly ornamental, which can be equated with vapidity, sentimentality and triviality. We are an art blog, and art takes many forms, not all of them immediately pleasant to the eye. As an artist myself, I know that the best art is often initially challenging to the viewer. That being said, a banner must first and foremost be functional. If it does not convey the information it is meant to convey, then it fails. Some followers of the site have expressed that the ‘Pigtails in Paint’ lettering is much too difficult to read, particularly for those viewers for whom English is not their first language, and that is problematic.

Thus, I will alter the banner design in the next few days to make the lettering more legible. I will not redesign the entire banner, or stray too far from the original concept—I stand by that. I will, however, try to make the lettering more legible to Pigtail’s readers, including our foreign fans. The new banner should be completed sometime before this coming weekend. Thank you. – Pip

6 thoughts on “Concerning the New Banner Design

  1. What a tremendous improvement! No longer are we confronted by the thorny brambles. My problem was always with the font. If the little girl who was created artistically to be the “creator” of the words was done so to be bad at what she did, then that was simply a contrivance and nothing more. The design was conceived and executed by an adult as was the edit. There have been several young girls used to welcome us to the website over the years, and each has been lovely and evocative of the slogan by Mr. Beck.

    Congrats, again on your choice and the reworked banner.

  2. When you are just starting out?! For five years, an ugly, forbidding banner was not deemed necessary to the site. Also, very little, if any, of the art presented in Pigtails in Paint has been produced by children. Why justify the banner based on the notion that art produced by children is not of an accomplished variety when you are not offering child-produced art in the first place? I always thought of your banner art as being reflective of that art which you were including and not as a psychological reference to the complexity And innocence of the subject matter of that art. The Alan Marshall Beck quote does an admirable job of summing that up already.

    Apparently vapidity, sentimentality and triviality can be equated with and balanced out by functionality when backpedaling from an design which is less than well-received on more than one front. Having enjoyed the site since very early in its existence, I have to say that the new banner, which, like its predecessors, welcomes your visitors each time they drop by, should not be that part of the site to challenge them with complexity and to provide ogre-like (and onion-like) layers evocative of young femininity. The art which you include, as well as the often incisive insights provided along with it, can and frequently do take care of that.

    Thanks for all your hard work over the years and congratulations on the new provider. I hope that your partnership will last for as long as You want it to and I will continue to look forward to your latest efforts even if I feel the need to avert my gaze from your shingle. :o)

    • Whether the banner is ‘ugly and forbidding’ is a matter of opinion, as are all aesthetic matters in the end. To some extent the idea there was to NOT make the banner simply pretty. I feel that does a disservice both to this blog (which has fought hard and earned its scars, so to speak) and to girls themselves, who, as you should be aware, are more than just cute faces and sweet dispositions.

      However, I do feel that this site is more than just another art blog. We are also, in some sense, a political and philosophical entity. And for that reason I can appreciate that a lot of our fans are not your average art connoisseurs. I do think it behooves all of us to step out of our comfort zones sometimes and allow ourselves to be open to new ways of looking at reality, whether that be a photo, a painting, a piece of music or a banner design. But, as I said, a banner design must also be functional. That is it’s primary duty, and if it doesn’t do that, then it is a bad design. That being the case, I will tweak the design to make it more legible.

      Beyond that, people will get used to the new layout and banner design over time. Besides, it’s not like it’s a permanent fixture. The site will no doubt be redesigned again from scratch in a year or so.

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