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That is certainly beautiful, brad. Hats off.
Sexy Brad. Seems like you're going to kick 2013.
Whilst I love that design, I still prefer the current style you have at Hara - it feels like more of a community design. But yeah this new one is another great design by brad, hats off to his ambition to stretch MyBB.
I have to say I am not a big fan of what you're doing - sad to say. It's looking too cluttered in my eyes. The old design is far better and more personalized. It looks a bit like you're doing quite a bit of different elements in one page and it's overwhelming the design - you're loosing a bit originality design-wise.

Many people will think I am talking crap but honestly these are my true feelings. Whilist I do think the design is somewhat pretty I don't think it's really all that - I personally think you should have sticked to many of your current elements and designed those further instead of doing this overhaul as it just seems you're doing "too" much.

I respect Brad enough to give you an honest opinion - so I hope you don't take this wrong, I was a fan of your design (previous) so me saying this is pretty surprising.
Thanks for your feedback guys – I appreciate it, even if it's negative haha

I'm surprised to see so much love for the old design though, I always felt that the index page was a very weak element of the old design. The thing is, for me, what is important to communicate? It's not, "this is a forum about Japanese fashion." It's "this is a community and informational site about Japanese fashion."

The fact that it's a forum is not really that important. What's important is that it's a platform with many channels, and the old design was not bringing enough attention to channels I feel are very important. Haralooks is potentially the most important feature of the site, but it was relegated to a very tiny scrolling box.

There's a lot going on in this design, though, it's true. Perhaps I'll get rid of the Tumblr feed at the top.

[Image: ckkbm.png]
Well, it's not the fact that it seemed like a forum, because quite honestly to me it didn't. This current design is big and cluttery - seems like you're trying to fill every empty space, like trying way too hard. Your old design was simple and to the point "We discuss what we love and we give you information about this and that" instead of "Where do I look?" Gadgets and gimicks are nice, but I think your minimalism was better off how it was. This design is very bland - there are a couple aspects of it that (I think) were a bad choice.

The drop down shadow of the boxes- Doesn't really add much but gray(border), on gray(shadow), on more gray(background) then your hover state just makes it look awkward.

Not a big fan of the huge icons, again it just seems you're trying to fill every single little space.

Your design has no directional focus - as silly as it is, your logo and your old image at the top helps users visually focus on the website and what they want - you have pretty much a blank canvas - you have nothing that pops out and brings attention to anything but the huge icons in the forum - your Haralooks is what's important give more detail to that and less detail to the forums.

Not a fan of the online now and not a big fan of the FB widget.

Because you took your icons off of the header, again your visual focus on your design is gone, people won't quickly know what to click - it's ok for your current users they will get used to it, but other users might not bother to register because there is nothing very enticing.

Now my nit-picky comment would be, I don't like the design of the top bar. Your whole bar is dark gray then you have a random black outline and a drop-shadow that just makes it look a bit off.
One comment of yours that does resonate with me is that there's no "direction", in the sense that the old layout guided a user's eyes from Point A to Point B more effectively. I'll see what I can do to address this.
The removal of the Tumblr feed has improved it by like 600%. The only thing I dislike about it now is the header. The header you use for your current design is welcoming, informative and beautiful to look at; it really makes me want to sign up and join in the discussion. Your new design - all be it makes me focus on what you want me to focus on - really does seem very bland and hasn't told me what your site is actually about without having to read every bit of detail throughout the rest of the site.

I'm not sure if much of that makes sense, I'm tired and I rushed it. Long story short: I like the removal of the Tumblr feed, I just think the header can be improved. Though since I am a huge fanboy of your current design I doubt I will ever really prefer this new one, but I can still appreciate its beauty.
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Oh right, that explains it.