Here It Is! The New and Improved Blog Design.

As promised, here’s the new and improved design for The Happiness Project blog. At last!

Re-designing a blog is a bit like renovating your kitchen. You have to think about everything you want to accomplish in the space, what’s important to you, what looks attractive, what looks attractive but doesn’t actually work very well, and how to make the place inviting both for people who are there frequently and for new guests.

I hope you like the design. One of my struggles as a writer is that I’m interested in a lot of ideas, and I want to highlight them all. When I’m working on a book, I always go through a long stage where I have to find ways to prove to myself that not everything belongs in the first chapter.

In the same way, on this blog, as you may have noticed, I’d tried to put just about everything right on the homepage. Now, I hope you’ll find the site cleaner, easier to navigate, and less overwhelming.

Although the re-design was a huge and scary undertaking, I was extremely fortunate to have extraordinary help. Though an acquaintance, I met the brilliant artist and designer Jacqueline Schmidt. When she heard I wanted to do a re-design, she recommended Apartment One (Jacqueline also did the wonderful hand-drawn elements you see on the blog).

Working with Apartment One has been a joy. It’s such a pleasure to work with people who have the highest standards, who really know their stuff, who work professionally, and who want to make things beautiful–people like Liza Lowinger, Spencer Bagley, and Raima McDaniel.

And my agent, Christy Fletcher! Her invaluable judgment and insight shape everything I write.

As always, the indefatigable and unflappable  Jayme Johnson swooped in at critical moments to figure out how to get things done.

But most of all, thank you, my dear readers. I started this blog on March 27, 2006. (A thoughtful reader sent me the earliest link available on the Wayback Machine; it’s not the first post, but you can see my DIY design.) I began with no expectations; as an experiment in happiness, I wanted to do something novel and challenging, and starting a blog seemed as good an idea as anything else.

I didn’t expect to keep it going for very long, yet one of the greatest delights of my happiness project has been this blog. To have the chance to engage, and to work through new ideas, with other people who are also interested in happiness has changed my life as a writer.

Thank you!

And if you spot something that’s not working properly, let me know.

  • Julie

    Hi Gretchen, I love the new look! I also admire how you constantly work to improve your blog instead of just resting on your (considerable) laurels. I think change is so difficult, and I always resist learning new applications or technology advances; it seems so much easier to keep things as they are and as I know how to use them. But once I put in the time it always pays off! (There’s a happiness lesson in there somewhere). So kudos to you for facing the difficulty and changing things up. One question: the Pigeon of Discontent is one of my favorite subjects here, and I see the comments from your most recent post on this topic aren’t available. Will access to them (and comments from other past posts) be coming back?

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks so much for your kind words! I so appreciate that.

      And thanks too for pointing that out…off to investigate. It may take a little while to get the kinks out.

  • Julie

    Hi Gretchen, I love the new look! I also admire how you constantly work to improve your blog instead of just resting on your (considerable) laurels. I think change is so difficult, and I always resist learning new applications or technology advances; it seems so much easier to keep things as they are and as I know how to use them. But once I put in the time it always pays off! (There’s a happiness lesson in there somewhere). So kudos to you for facing the difficulty and changing things up. One question: the Pigeon of Discontent is one of my favorite subjects here, and I see the comments from your most recent post on this topic aren’t available. Will access to them (and comments from other past posts) be coming back?

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks so much for your kind words! I so appreciate that.

      And thanks too for pointing that out…off to investigate. It may take a little while to get the kinks out.

  • Julie

    Hi Gretchen, I love the new look! I also admire how you constantly work to improve your blog instead of just resting on your (considerable) laurels. I think change is so difficult, and I always resist learning new applications or technology advances; it seems so much easier to keep things as they are and as I know how to use them. But once I put in the time it always pays off! (There’s a happiness lesson in there somewhere). So kudos to you for facing the difficulty and changing things up. One question: the Pigeon of Discontent is one of my favorite subjects here, and I see the comments from your most recent post on this topic aren’t available. Will access to them (and comments from other past posts) be coming back?

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks so much for your kind words! I so appreciate that.

      And thanks too for pointing that out…off to investigate. It may take a little while to get the kinks out.

  • Ashley

    Gretchen, this new look is amazing.  In the past, I read your blog because the content was fantastic, but often felt overwhelmed by all the color and pictures and options (I tend to gravitate towards more minimalist-style blogs).  I am so happy that my senses will be able to relax and focus with this new format! 

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! Thank you.

  • Ashley

    Gretchen, this new look is amazing.  In the past, I read your blog because the content was fantastic, but often felt overwhelmed by all the color and pictures and options (I tend to gravitate towards more minimalist-style blogs).  I am so happy that my senses will be able to relax and focus with this new format! 

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! Thank you.

  • Ashley

    Gretchen, this new look is amazing.  In the past, I read your blog because the content was fantastic, but often felt overwhelmed by all the color and pictures and options (I tend to gravitate towards more minimalist-style blogs).  I am so happy that my senses will be able to relax and focus with this new format! 

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! Thank you.

  • Cuisinart27

    I love the new design! I can’t enlarge it on my iPad though! Do you know if that can be fixed?

    • gretchenrubin

      Wow, that’s odd. I’ll investigate!

      • Cuisinart27

        That would be gret! My old eyes appreciate it. It won’t work on my iPad one or three.

        • Bunnyluvr68

          Same here. Bummer!

          • gretchenrubin

            Hang in there, trying to get that fixed!

  • Cuisinart27

    I love the new design! I can’t enlarge it on my iPad though! Do you know if that can be fixed?

    • gretchenrubin

      Wow, that’s odd. I’ll investigate!

      • Cuisinart27

        That would be gret! My old eyes appreciate it. It won’t work on my iPad one or three.

  • Cuisinart27

    I love the new design! I can’t enlarge it on my iPad though! Do you know if that can be fixed?

    • gretchenrubin

      Wow, that’s odd. I’ll investigate!

      • Cuisinart27

        That would be gret! My old eyes appreciate it. It won’t work on my iPad one or three.

        • Bunnyluvr68

          Same here. Bummer!

          • gretchenrubin

            Hang in there, trying to get that fixed!

  • gs

    Gretchen, I don’t love your new blog–but that’s because my heart’s so full with loving your writing and all the things you have inspired me to do to be happier, that I don’t think I have any more room.
    One of the best things about today’s new post was that link to your “earliest” post. I bought your book and I will be buying your “Happier at Home” book–but you know what? I would have been so happy if you had just taken all your posts and just stuck them in a book–as is.
    In fact, this is my summer project–to do in July: I am going to copy every one of your posts into a Word document, and print them all out, and bind them, so I can have my heart’s desire.

    • gretchenrubin

      How nice of you to say! I’ve been working on a book called “137 Top Blog Posts” or something like that, for a while, but it keeps getting pushed to the side. One day! I hope to be able to offer that. But it won’t be all the posts. I so appreciate your kind words.

  • gs

    Gretchen, I don’t love your new blog–but that’s because my heart’s so full with loving your writing and all the things you have inspired me to do to be happier, that I don’t think I have any more room.
    One of the best things about today’s new post was that link to your “earliest” post. I bought your book and I will be buying your “Happier at Home” book–but you know what? I would have been so happy if you had just taken all your posts and just stuck them in a book–as is.
    In fact, this is my summer project–to do in July: I am going to copy every one of your posts into a Word document, and print them all out, and bind them, so I can have my heart’s desire.

    • gretchenrubin

      How nice of you to say! I’ve been working on a book called “137 Top Blog Posts” or something like that, for a while, but it keeps getting pushed to the side. One day! I hope to be able to offer that. But it won’t be all the posts. I so appreciate your kind words.

  • gs

    Gretchen, I don’t love your new blog–but that’s because my heart’s so full with loving your writing and all the things you have inspired me to do to be happier, that I don’t think I have any more room.
    One of the best things about today’s new post was that link to your “earliest” post. I bought your book and I will be buying your “Happier at Home” book–but you know what? I would have been so happy if you had just taken all your posts and just stuck them in a book–as is.
    In fact, this is my summer project–to do in July: I am going to copy every one of your posts into a Word document, and print them all out, and bind them, so I can have my heart’s desire.

    • gretchenrubin

      How nice of you to say! I’ve been working on a book called “137 Top Blog Posts” or something like that, for a while, but it keeps getting pushed to the side. One day! I hope to be able to offer that. But it won’t be all the posts. I so appreciate your kind words.

  • Rachel

    Very clean and minimalist–I like it! It was a pleasant surprise when I pulled up your site this morning. Nice job, Gretchen!

  • Rachel

    Very clean and minimalist–I like it! It was a pleasant surprise when I pulled up your site this morning. Nice job, Gretchen!

  • Rachel

    Very clean and minimalist–I like it! It was a pleasant surprise when I pulled up your site this morning. Nice job, Gretchen!

  • Liza Lowinger

    Thank you Gretchen!!  What a joy to bring this to life together.  So excited to be sharing it with your fans and the world!

  • Liza Lowinger

    Thank you Gretchen!!  What a joy to bring this to life together.  So excited to be sharing it with your fans and the world!

  • Liza Lowinger

    Thank you Gretchen!!  What a joy to bring this to life together.  So excited to be sharing it with your fans and the world!

  • Wende Garrison

    I, too, love it love it love it!  🙂  Great work!  A pleasure to look at an read!  <3  And as I said in my email, I love how the new color scheme suggests and highlights the blue bird of happiness!  🙂

  • Wende Garrison

    I, too, love it love it love it!  🙂  Great work!  A pleasure to look at an read!  <3  And as I said in my email, I love how the new color scheme suggests and highlights the blue bird of happiness!  🙂

  • Wende Garrison

    I, too, love it love it love it!  🙂  Great work!  A pleasure to look at an read!  <3  And as I said in my email, I love how the new color scheme suggests and highlights the blue bird of happiness!  🙂

  • Shayna McGregor

    Love the new look! Can’t wait for the new book to come out!

  • meg

    Gretchen,
    As usual…..Well done! Sending a big “gold star” your way 🙂

  • Emily McKhann

    Congratulations, Gretchen!!!  Your new look is GORGEOUS!!!  You must be so pleased to have such a beautiful new home!!!  

  • Emily McKhann

    Congratulations, Gretchen!!!  Your new look is GORGEOUS!!!  You must be so pleased to have such a beautiful new home!!!  

  •  Simple and beautiful.  Enjoy the finish line!

  •  Simple and beautiful.  Enjoy the finish line!

  • How beautiful!  Congrats on completing your blog re-design.  It looks great and feels easier to navigate.

  • How beautiful!  Congrats on completing your blog re-design.  It looks great and feels easier to navigate.

  • becky.

    love it!

  • becky.

    love it!

  • kj wuest

    Very cool to see “the past” on the Wayback Machine! I think the new and improved design is great–very simple, clean, comfortable. I also like your Follow Me buttons–they make me smile! Congrats on the new launch. 🙂

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks so much for all these kind words! I’m thrilled to hear that people like the new design.

  • kj wuest

    Very cool to see “the past” on the Wayback Machine! I think the new and improved design is great–very simple, clean, comfortable. I also like your Follow Me buttons–they make me smile! Congrats on the new launch. 🙂

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks so much for all these kind words! I’m thrilled to hear that people like the new design.

  • I love the way the new blog looks -it’s very ‘clean/fresh’ and easy on the eye. I love the yellow as its such a happy color. I have linked to your blog on my site (hope that’s okay with you) as I love the articles you write 🙂

  • I love the way the new blog looks -it’s very ‘clean/fresh’ and easy on the eye. I love the yellow as its such a happy color. I have linked to your blog on my site (hope that’s okay with you) as I love the articles you write 🙂

  • Gretchen, WOW–this blog is over SIX years old!  Congratulations!  And I think this design suits your personality and meets your stated goals in meeting the needs of your followers.  So very encouraging for someone like me who has only been blogging seven months!

  • Gretchen, WOW–this blog is over SIX years old!  Congratulations!  And I think this design suits your personality and meets your stated goals in meeting the needs of your followers.  So very encouraging for someone like me who has only been blogging seven months!

  • Love how clean this design is. Well done!

  • Love how clean this design is. Well done!

  • Site architecture is always tricky, having worked in newspapers I know how it is to want to put every single thing right on that home page, but some research will tell you what your readers are looking for and you’ll figure out how to get it to them quickly. Nice work!

  • Site architecture is always tricky, having worked in newspapers I know how it is to want to put every single thing right on that home page, but some research will tell you what your readers are looking for and you’ll figure out how to get it to them quickly. Nice work!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thank you!

  • gretchenrubin

    Thank you!

  • Beautiful. Really serene.

  • Beautiful. Really serene.

  • The new look is GREAT – I love it! Very clean looking, and well organized. Congratulations to you and your designers for a job well done.

  • The new look is GREAT – I love it! Very clean looking, and well organized. Congratulations to you and your designers for a job well done.

  • Heidi

    I love the new design!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks so much!

  • Heidi

    I love the new design!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks so much!

  • Naomi Gilliss 2012

    I really like this design of this blog. It truely is easier to navigate. Good job 🙂

  • Naomi Gilliss 2012

    I really like this design of this blog. It truely is easier to navigate. Good job 🙂

  •  i LOVE it! it captures your Happiness Project vibe

  •  i LOVE it! it captures your Happiness Project vibe

  • Amanda

    I love your new design, and I’m a tough critic. The previous format was a little busy. The blue tone is calming, and I love the shaded block “Also” feature. 

    Congratulations on your hard work!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks for noting the “Also” box. My asterisked paragraphs at the bottom always bugged me – – not a good design solution! So I’m very pleased to have that section looking spiffier.

  • Amanda

    I love your new design, and I’m a tough critic. The previous format was a little busy. The blue tone is calming, and I love the shaded block “Also” feature. 

    Congratulations on your hard work!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks for noting the “Also” box. My asterisked paragraphs at the bottom always bugged me – – not a good design solution! So I’m very pleased to have that section looking spiffier.

  • the blog looks beautiful 🙂

  • the blog looks beautiful 🙂

  • Cathy

    Love the new design. It looks fresh and spare. The most important categories are front and center while the less used ones are below. I know how incredibly hard it is to achieve this as my business website is still not quite as visually appealing as I would like.

  • Cathy

    Love the new design. It looks fresh and spare. The most important categories are front and center while the less used ones are below. I know how incredibly hard it is to achieve this as my business website is still not quite as visually appealing as I would like.

  • Traci

    Gretchen, I love the new blog design! Also, it looks great on my iPad2.

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks so much! And that’s so nice to hear.

  • Traci

    Gretchen, I love the new blog design! Also, it looks great on my iPad2.

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks so much! And that’s so nice to hear.

  • reinventingerin

    Looks great!

  • reinventingerin

    Looks great!

  • What a simple, clean look! I love it, and it’s so YOU! It’s inviting and easy to navigate. All of your hard work is paying off and you are an inspiration to other bloggers like me 🙂

    Looking forward to reading your new book: Happier at Home!
    Sara

    http://simplefreshlife.blogspot.ca/

  • What a simple, clean look! I love it, and it’s so YOU! It’s inviting and easy to navigate. All of your hard work is paying off and you are an inspiration to other bloggers like me 🙂

    Looking forward to reading your new book: Happier at Home!
    Sara

    http://simplefreshlife.blogspot.ca/

  • Tamara

    Dear Gretchen, I think the new design is great! I especially love the “bluebird of happiness” in the right upper corner and the happy colours. One thing I liked better about the old design, though, were the pictures – so I’d love to see you include a “happy” picture with every post again!
    Thank you for all your amazing work. 🙂

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks! But you should see pictures with posts…if not, that will be fixed!

  • Tamara

    Dear Gretchen, I think the new design is great! I especially love the “bluebird of happiness” in the right upper corner and the happy colours. One thing I liked better about the old design, though, were the pictures – so I’d love to see you include a “happy” picture with every post again!
    Thank you for all your amazing work. 🙂

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks! But you should see pictures with posts…if not, that will be fixed!

  • Great clean design. Easy on the eyes. I also love the downloads section. Perfect.

  • Great clean design. Easy on the eyes. I also love the downloads section. Perfect.

  • Dori

    Really nice clean, easy to navigate yet interesting design. I receive your posts in my inbox and the header doesn’t come thru… just the box with the question mark.

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks—and thanks for letting me know! Looking into that now —

  • Dori

    Really nice clean, easy to navigate yet interesting design. I receive your posts in my inbox and the header doesn’t come thru… just the box with the question mark.

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks—and thanks for letting me know! Looking into that now —

  • Yeah for you and your team. It is beautiful (and oh so organized and easy to check out!)
    You are one of my heros .

  • Yeah for you and your team. It is beautiful (and oh so organized and easy to check out!)
    You are one of my heros .

  • Alison

    Love the new design! Congratulations!!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thank you! And thanks to everyone who has pointed out some glitches. Slowly but surely, those are getting fixed.

  • Alison

    Love the new design! Congratulations!!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thank you! And thanks to everyone who has pointed out some glitches. Slowly but surely, those are getting fixed.

  • Jess

    Just dropping by to say that the new look is absolutely fantastic. Ten gold stars! 🙂 x

    • gretchenrubin

      Thank you! You KNOW I love those gold stars!

  • Jess

    Just dropping by to say that the new look is absolutely fantastic. Ten gold stars! 🙂 x

    • gretchenrubin

      Thank you! You KNOW I love those gold stars!

  • Renata

    I love your new blog design. It’s clean, bright … and HAPPY! I am a regular visitor of your blog and read your book but I keep falling of the bandwagon of my own happiness project. But it has become a constant “companion” and I am fine with that for now. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  • Renata

    I love your new blog design. It’s clean, bright … and HAPPY! I am a regular visitor of your blog and read your book but I keep falling of the bandwagon of my own happiness project. But it has become a constant “companion” and I am fine with that for now. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  • Heyjude27

    I often felt the same way as Ashley below, so many options would overwhelm me too so I would stick to your newsletter.  This is really great and so much easier to read.  Your book, blog etc. are my favorite of anything on the inter-net!  Judy in MI.

  • Heyjude27

    I often felt the same way as Ashley below, so many options would overwhelm me too so I would stick to your newsletter.  This is really great and so much easier to read.  Your book, blog etc. are my favorite of anything on the inter-net!  Judy in MI.

  • Congrats on the wonderful redesign! What a huge improvement! Yay!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks so much! You gave me a lot of encouragement to do it — so thanks again!

  • Congrats on the wonderful redesign! What a huge improvement! Yay!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks so much! You gave me a lot of encouragement to do it — so thanks again!

  • Jody Willing

    The new format is better, thank you.  Especially the ease in finding the archived files.  I’m not sure if it was me or what, but I had a hard time finding your different posts if I wanted to reference something you had said before.  

    I, like so many others, appreciate your work.  Thank you so much. 

  • Jody Willing

    The new format is better, thank you.  Especially the ease in finding the archived files.  I’m not sure if it was me or what, but I had a hard time finding your different posts if I wanted to reference something you had said before.  

    I, like so many others, appreciate your work.  Thank you so much. 

  • Bright, clean … happy!
    Nicely done.

  • Bright, clean … happy!
    Nicely done.

  • Dan Zevin

    Gretchen, my favorite feature of your new design was the part where you  wrote my name and called my writing hilarious! I am a big fan of yours and this was such a kick for me to see. Obviously you know what makes people happy. Thanks.
    Dan Zevin

    • gretchenrubin

      See, here you are being hilarious again! I’m laughing out loud. I’m glad you like the new design, and I’m a big fan of yours.

  • mrsraushel

    love the new look! 🙂

  • Allisonroelen

    Gretchen – this is terrific!  Worth all the effort and I’d love to know more about how you did this – I am just launching my own blog via type-pad and feel your frustration from “Happiness Project”…so this is both inspiring as well as so much more usable…

  • Paula Mathes

    Hi Gretchen – I am a newcomer to your blog but love this design – it is clean, crisp, and streamlineda and eye appealing..I read this and the daily message @work as I find it helps me with perspective and provides inspiration in a stressful and chaotic job!! Thanks for all you do to remind us that happiness is what life is really all about!! Congrat’s on this new blog – Paula Mathes

  • Judith

    Thanks I will keep my eyes open for your new book in Chapter’s.

  • Csimone

    Congratulations on the new blog!  Love it.  On another unrelated note, I’m searching for a Common Text for 7th-12th grade students on the theme of Happiness.  Any suggestions?  

  • Dr. Diane Sanford

    Your new look is much better. Although I liked your content, I found the site confusing. Blogs/websites are a work in progress (as we are). Much success with this and your upcoming book. If you want to amp up your personal health and well-being, join us for our May 21-25 self-care challenge at http://www.livingselfcare.com.

  • Amazing! Been a while since I visited this site so it’s really cool to see the new and improved design…i was like “Whoaaaa”!! 

    Nice. 🙂

  • paula campbell

    Just finished the Happiness Project book! Really enjoyed it. I am a pretty happy person but I do feel negativity these days. It helped to refresh my memory on how we all need to appreciate the small things in life and the friends and family that keep me happy all the time. Thanks for sharing it with the world and I can’t wait for your next book! I am telling all my friends about this one! Paula from Chico,California

  • myzyczny zespół

    I really like this blog, I’m glad I found it :)…

    http://zespolamati.pl/

  • Phyllis

    As much as I enjoyed your book, and am attemptiing to fit parts of it into my life, I have felt overwhelmed by the muchness and all inclusiveness of your web sites. In order not to give up, I decided just to take small doses, at the beginning and be kind to myself. One of your favorite resolutions (?) Act the way you want to feel, has been helping me the most. Today I have to give a presentation of my husband’s/our book to a large group of strangers -and in a language that’s not my first. I was feeling frightened, stressed, negative etc. until I reminded myself of your phrase, and it’s working almost magically. I am imagining myself as warm, gracious, competent for the job and am now looking forward to an evening I’d been dreading.

  • lasso5

    bought your book in an airport needed some thing to read, it was between you and the deli lama, by the time I landed you were just realizing that there Is more happiness in giving than receiving. I never finished your book but, I did think about what happiness is to me. Happiness is hot water. When you are cold wet and dirty, a cool drink when you’re hot and thirsty, and a slice of dry bread when you’re hungry, and knowing that everyone in the world is just as well off. The rest is crap

  • Library Lady

    GR: I wanted you to know that I just finished your latest book and made a decision to start a Happiness Journal. I handcrafted a book with a marbled cover several years ago and it has been so special I did not know how to use it. So this is it! It has become The Happiness Journal, a memory book for my old age. I will try to upload a photo. I use to be a self-help reader years ago. But have not read a self-help book in a decade probably until now. But I ordered your other books and A Year of Living Biblically and look forward to making my retirement years (soon) happier than ever!

  • Rahel Tadesse

    Dear GR: Its been a couple of years since I read your book and I loved it! I have been circulating your book to friends ever since. Reading your book motivated me to tackle one of the biggest projects of my life. I am happy to say that I did complete the project last week. The project was to hold a 25 year high school reunion. I graduated high school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I now live in Grosse Pointe Park, MI. The reunion was held in VA, where majority of the graduating class lived, It was our very first reunion, 60 people came from all over the world and it was an unforgettable weekend. Thank you for motivating me to start and complete this project.