Tips for a Better Blog Design (Part 3)

Hey there. This is Part 3 of the Blog Design Tips series. I'm having a great time writing this! I hope you guys enjoy it as well. If you've never seen Part 1 and 2, click the links below! 

This time around, we'll look at these three tips:
  • Copycats aren't welcomed
  • Limit choices of an element
  • Impossible to impress everybody

Tip 4: Do not copy other people. Sure, imitation is the highest form of praise, but it does NOT apply to blog designs. Do not try to imitate designs by other people just because you like them! You can learn a few things about designing by checking out people's blogs, and noting the same things that are present in every one you like and try to incorporate it into your blog, but on no occasion must you take their actual designs.

For example you might like the fact of a clean, square blog button. That's a good thing and you should make a clean, square blog button too, but you cannot take the exact design and put it as your own. Some people don't care about credits even if you gave credits to them, so whatever you want, ASK and GET A REPLY first before you do anything with their stuff. (including me)
An example of knock-offs.
A good blog design isn't about copying people's styles. Each and every blog design is unique, because it is the end product of a unique mind of a unique human being. Why would you want to make your own blog NOT unique by taking others' styles? Each design is made specifically for each blog content. You don't have the same content as them, so why would you want to have the same design as them?

Trust me, a blog design that shows off YOU and YOUR PERSONALITY will definitely be better than any other design made by other people. =) A fresh, unique design would be interesting for readers to see when they stumble upon your blog. And they would stay around, compared to a design that they have seen before.

Tip 5: Imagine a blog with a million font styles, a billion font sizes and a gazillion font colours. And the background itself is of a whole host of rainbow colours. The header is a beautiful photo, while the sidebar is watercolour paint design.
Your eyes would roll in your head trying to look for something, anything, to attach to and make a rational understanding of the whole blog. And the answer would come out none.

Moral value: Limit your choices while designing! Sure, all of those handwriting font styles look perfect, but do you need ALL of them, one for each word?? No. And remember, the main actor's your blog posts. Not the design. Therefore, keeping a leash on your choices while designing is a super great idea to ensure your blog stays clean and neat.

Here are the THREE major things that you should keep in mind while limiting your choices:

  • COLOURS: Colours mean the overall theme colours of your blog. Maximum three colours, five if you count in black and white. Shades of the same colour, for example in my blog shades of pink, count as one colour. I use only three (black, white and pink) and it turns out perfect for me. It isn't necessary for me to add more, but if you're a colour lover, you might want to add until five colours (e.g: black, white, blue, yellow, green) One advice: Decide on your theme colours early on, then design everything else based on those colours. This way you'll be able to limit yourself.

  • MEDIUMS: Mediums mean the art/design mediums you use for your blog. For some blogs the highlight is the photography. Therefore it would be great to focus on using photos for all of the designs. Personally I feel that having two mediums, one major and one minor, is acceptable. Look at my blog. The header and the top part of the sidebar are graphic designs. The lower part of the sidebar though, under My Labels, are photos. So it would mean that my major medium is graphic design, and my minor one is photography. You get it, right? Other examples of mediums are watercolour images, pen-and-ink illustrations, etc. *Note though, that this is for the BLOG DESIGN. It is perfectly okay to have photos in a post, watercolour paintings in the next, and pen drawings in the following post.*
  • FONTS: Follow the Golden Rule: One per font main style. What's main style? Fonts can be classified into THREE main styles: serif, sans-serif and script. So what are these styles? See the pictures below:
"San" means "no". So Sans serif fonts do not have the edges to them.

Popular serif fonts.
Popular sans serif fonts.
So then, what are script fonts? They are fonts that are neither serif nor sans serif. These fonts can be cursive, curly, decorative, handwriting, etc.
Handwriting fonts
Elegant cursive fonts
So the Golden Rule is that your blog can have one serif, one sans serif and one script font. I know, I know. I've been violating this very rule. Hehe. I've got more than one scripts (what to do, they are just so pretty...including the one above) So this is actually a tip, not a rule. If you want to keep your blog clean, and you're having a very hard time doing so, then follow this rule strictly and you'll be fine. If you MUST have those two special serifs, or these two elegant scripts, then by all means, go for it. Just be CONSISTENT and don't clutter up your blog. If you're using these four fonts (breaking the rule), cover up by using them all the time. Don't change fonts randomly and without notice. This way you'll keep your blog clean and appealing, even with more than three fonts.

(Fonts are tricky business, more about it in another post later)


Tip 6: It's impossible to impress everyone. This is true not only for blog designs, but for everywhere else. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes, and although your readers could come from all over the world, and although your blog will most probably be seen in every corner of the globe, don't worry about wanting to impress every reader, every person who stumble upon your blog.

There's no need to be a peacock trying to impress everyone.
Instead of seeking approval from every single person, why not find a target group of people who would most probably be interested in your blog? Think about what it is about. Is it about cooking recipes? Then think what housewives and people who like to cook would want to see in your blog. Is it about makeup tutorials? Give some thought to related decoration and design styles for your blog. Is it about movie reviews? You might want to think what kind of design would typically impress a movie fan. Style your blog according to that group of audience, and you'll have an easier time!

Of course, a blog is just about as much YOU as it is about your readers. Therefore, if you totally adore purple, go for it as a main colour! Don't be afraid and wonder if your readers will think a purple-themed blog is great. It's YOUR blog, see. You have to design a style that fits you, one that you think is best first. I can't tell you how much more inspired you will be when you love what you're looking at every time you view your blog. And an inspired writer will write better content. As long as the style is relevant to your blog (like having leaf designs in a nature-themed blog), and the overall look is clean, neat and appealing, there will be no reason why your targeted audience won't come to you. 

This is all for now! More tips coming right up =) Stay tuned. 

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