Should Synthtopia Update Its Masthead, Or Have A ‘Makeover Monday’?

Over the years, we’ve had a couple of designers contact us to say “I love your site……but here’s a new masthead.”

We figure that’s the nice way of saying that the current masthead looks like it was state of the art for the 80’s.

The first proposed masthead, above, was created by reader Roland Onodi. The second, below, was created by reader Brook Boley.

These give us three ideas:

  1. We could spend some time on a site redesign/update;
  2. We could add a ‘makeover Monday’ feature, where we would feature a banner that highlights the work of readers like Onodi and Boley; or
  3. We could rotate the masthead and try to do variations on a theme, like MTV used to do with its logo.

What do you think? Should we explore one of these options? Or is the masthead irrelevant to you – you come here for the synth news?

68 thoughts on “Should Synthtopia Update Its Masthead, Or Have A ‘Makeover Monday’?

  1. I think Makeover Monday would be a fun way to start off the week. Also, we are visual beings and are stimulated by colors and design. I say “Go For It! ”


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  2. I agree that the old one makes the site look a bit dated. Both new options look good.
    Whatever happens I’m here every day anyway.

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  3. I think it would be a nice idea to regularly change the banner 🙂

    Maybe you could even go a step further and not only rotate the banner but also the color scheme of the whole site.

    For example: one week, you have a banner that has blue as its main color. Therefore, the color scheme of the whole site gets more blue. You know what I mean? The structure of the site always remains the same, only the color schemes change according to the banner.

    Just an idea 😉

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  4. My vote is for Makeover Mondays! Just publish a spec for how to produce it properly for easy inclusion and make it easy on yourselves to update.

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  5. Analog isn’t slick and polished… Why should your masthead be?

    Having a Mondays only change might be fun for the community though.

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  6. The masthead isn’t enough. The whole website needs a visual overhaul. Looks like the website is running on Word Press. If I only had the time…new imagery and CSS is all you would need.

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  7. i dont care how this site look ……just keep pumping all this nice synth/vst/daw/ipad news ……i love this site…. think im looking by 10 times a day …… keep spreading the goodies …oh yeah

    love from copenhagen

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  8. YES!! Do a new one every monday!!! Reader submissions… IT would be awesome.. And, if you get LOTS of cool ones, just do it on Mondays and Fridays or something!

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  9. Love the idea of mondays fan designs!
    Designer suggestion: have a logotype first! That should always stay the same (Black and\or White).
    It will be fun to work freeley around it.
    keep the rest of the site clean as it is now.
    Nobody really want to enter a world of odd colours and designs that distract you from the articles.
    Just the header would be super fun!

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  10. i send it on facebook. thanks for the post 🙂 yeah the mondays by fans sounds fantastic to me! – a desaturated background color, will be better to harmonize to other designs too.

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  11. Roland’s is lovely -but you’re not allowed to use the ‘o’ as a knob, that was our idea 😉

    You guys have a great community and I think a Masthead Monday is a great idea – perhaps even focused on a main ‘MTVesque’ central theme for submissions so you keep the brand but everything stays fresh. Maybe thinking even further outside the box you could ask for a main background colour to go with it so our retinas get burned with an entirely new, but cohesive, colour every week!

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  12. I really like the idea of a rotating banner, but you’d probably want some sort of quality control in place as not everyone who thinks they’re a designer is necessarily any good. The demoscene site is a good example of a site with a rotating banner and good quality control (just click refresh). I think it adds a lot to the site, encourages frequent visits etc.

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  13. If you did Monday’s I’d be willing to make one at least once a month for it. (My day job is mostly graphic design work.)

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  14. It would be cool to have the banner look like a synth patch name eg. on a LCD or similar.
    The 8 or so main menu options at the top to look like items on a synth panel.


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  15. I think a complete overhaul with a very iPad friendly version would be amazing as long as the content wasn’t compromised. I like the communal aspect of User submitted rotating mastheads.

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    1. Richard – we did a test for a few days last year with a separate theme that was ‘optimized’ for the iPad. It was universally hated, because people just wanted the regular site on the iPad.

      Let me know if you’ve got ideas or suggestions on what might work better, though.

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  16. I love the content but with a bit design update site would be more attractive. Especially a responsive theme would be nice to be able view it micely on mobile devices and tablets.

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  17. I agree with the whole site overhaul and a more mobile friendly design option. I prefer Synthtopia’s content over all else, but for example Create Digital Music has a more attractive layout.

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  18. style rotation with a curator like synthhead would get my vote. The thing is some synth heads don’t even use keyboards or any type of interface to create their music. But not only that a lot of musicians are also artists in many different trades like photography, design, 3D graphics, etc.. Why not have the opportunity for those to show off a bit what they can do for their favorite site?

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  19. I like the idea of a rotating banner, but think somehow standardising it would be smart, like height and with, and static. Also it could link to some synthrelated historical that inspired the banner or to an online synth or maybe even by click-on played an mp3 generated from that image, as some software can do. Smart to add this as it brings up the curious visitors rate.

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  20. To be honest the whole site looks a bit dated, not just the “masthead”.
    I like the idea of rotating user-created variations!
    As for the rest of the site, it would already look a lot fresher if you had less link-overkill / information overload and less dense menus.

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  21. Content here in Synthtopia is top notch, but site needs an overhaul. I like Roland’s design, it’s fresh.

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  22. Haha, I was actually thinking about writing to you guys about this. Offering my service as a designer. But apparently others did the same. Please make this site more pleasant to look at. More suitable for the modern space age 🙂 At least the Masthead.

    Love the site, though. Great content. Rock on! 🙂

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  23. There’s nothing wrong with your original masthead, but then there’s nothing wrong with variety and reader participation either. So yeah…bring on the makeover Mondays! 🙂

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  24. The content on the site is great. But frankly, the design is out-of-date.

    Changing the header is a good start. But, really, revising the text styling, the layout, and the header, to make a unified whole, is what’s needed.

    Getting a lot out of the site though!

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  25. If you guys are going to have a rotating masthead, maybe it would be a good idea to provide guidelines for submissions such as pixel width/height, use of imagery, and acceptable color schemes.

    As it stands, I think the current masthead would fit in much better with the rest of the site if the site had a darker color scheme. Here’s a quick draft I made to see how that would look:

    It’s far from perfect, of course, but you can see how everything begins to compliment itself a little better. In fact, like others have mentioned, I think a complete site overhaul spearheaded by the graphical elements of the new masthead would be a great direction to go in. What do you guys think?

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  26. There’s gotta be a synth in the masthead. And it has to be at least as cool as the CS-80. As for the layout, it doesn’t bug me. Content is king and the layout doesn’t get in the way.

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  27. I’ve also felt that the current masthead is dated. I also agree that it should clearly show a synth in some way. A rotating masthead would be fun, but I think it’s important that a consistent Synthtopia logo is established and always included (MTV used variants, but it was always utilizing a consistent logo). Maybe an updated Synthtopia logo itself could integrate a synth theme so that the other artwork could be more flexible.

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