One of the most prominent features of this site (and really all of my meaningful WordPress work) are the colors. And while I’ve made reference to it many different places around the site, I’ve been slow to do the obvious thing and explain in a central place what these colors are and where they”re from. This page finally does that.

Essentially, all the strange and varied colors are coded information about the date of publishing of a page, post, etc. Things that are published in the summer here are somewhere between green and orange. The fall is red into purple. The winter is purple and blue. While the spring moves from blues into greens. That is, over the course of a year the colors make a full trip around the color wheel, though not covering a uniform distance per period, nor derived using a color wheel.

This is an idea I essentially stole from Shaun Inman, a techno-focused renaissance man. In version 10 of the design of his site, he had a year-round color changing basic setup in place, but he never really explained how it worked and it gave some unusably inconsistent tones anyway. But the idea started there.

The implementation, however is all mine. I built a color-making algorithm that I explained at some length. The summary version is that it uses some trigonometry to determine colors that are appropriate for a day of a year, and then uses the year something was published to determine how much to dim that color toward black.

With that algorithm I then made a not-terrible WordPress theme that’s now rather outdated. And I made a WordPress plugin that allows people to bring a smattering color to the sidebar of just about any drab looking site.

That’s probably not the last time that I’ll use these colors or the only places I ever want them to be. But for now, you’ve got a pretty good idea of how this whole thing works.