Friday, February 14, 2014

bcb // design

it's time to talk about design: the biggest giver-awayer of beginnerness. yeah, you read that right. like i said in the intro, the look and feel of your design is either going to make or break it for your viewers... except maybe your mom, she'll read your blog no matter what it looks like. so don't ask her if it looks good, she's biased.

maybe i'm a blog snob, maybe everyone does this, but if a blog looks unprofessional, uncoordinated, or just blah, i don't even read the post. it doesn't matter what you have to say, it's probably not important or relevant if you don't have an adorable blog. ok, you're right. i'm a blog snob.

so let me give you some rules to think about when you are designing your blog, picking a layout, or messing with templates [there may be a lot of vagueness, because in the end, it all comes down to your style].

keep it clean. if you over clutter your page, the visuals will distract from your message. you want it to be appealing, but not overwhelming. i'm not a fan of elaborate background images, not to say they aren't useful sometimes, but they can really distract from the posts or make it difficult to even read them sometimes. i suggest sticking to solid colors, or have embellishments on the side. another good way around this is to pick really big patterns. it helps your page not feel so cluttered and busy.

stick to a few colors: you really only need a few. my favorite thing to do when redesigning is head over to design-seeds and look at some color palettes. [i will tell you my trick later on in tools] if you use a color palette, don't. use. any. other. colors. don't have red links if your color palette is pastel, change the links to a color in your palette. don't have different colored text in your post that is completely wrong for your palette. stick to the few you need. usually 3-5 is a good number. i've got 4 colors if you don't count the white background.

pick colors that go together. they don't have to match, they have to mesh. you don't want burnt orange and cherry red, or like four different oranges and then green titles. are you catching my drift? your colors should compliment each other, enhance the whole view and make everything floooow. no need for making things stand out stark and obnoxious like a zit on the face of your blog.

use readable fonts. in the body of your blog, you want something very basic, easy to read, and easy on the eyes. sans serif are your best bet. though serif fonts are easier to read in print, it's actually much easier to read sans serif fonts on screens. [p.s. sans serif means without the little tails and decorations like times new roman, which is a serif font] for headers, titles, etc, it's ok to be creative, but again, make it flow. pick one or two fonts you can change out and keep them that way.

use pretty pictures. this is something that can come as you continue blogging. i'm not a photographer. shoot, i use my iphone. but make sure your photos help with the flow, have a good quality and lighting, and don't hinder the visuals. again, this is a learning process and you will get better! i'm a lot happier with my photos now than when i started blogging. [more tips on my free editing junk in tools coming soon.]

for pete's sake, use a cute picture of yourself. if you decide to post one of you in your little about section on the sidebar [always a good idea, people feel like they know you a little better when they see your face. but you don't have to], make sure it's appealing. if you are perpetually cute, good for you. if you aren't, like me, just put on sweet face and take a shot that compliments the rest of your blog. the eyes always go to your face first, so try and use similar colors in your clothing or setting as you did for your design. doesn't have to be the same, but floooow. remember floow.

ok, are you tired of rules? let's talk about what i do. i was going to save this little part for the tools section of the series, but this is probably more appropriate here.

inkscape. i don't have photoshop or illustrater. i use this handy little program. it's free, it's easy to use, and i made all of my designs with it. you can download inkscape here if you like. they also have tutorials you can check out, too.  when i want to learn how to do something i haven't figured out by clicking a million buttons, i just google how to blah blah with inkscape. i usually find a pretty easy answer! i pretty much learned how to use it by playing with it.

i usually create my images and have to upload them to photobucket or flickr so they have a url. with blogger, using images is really easy, and you can change your fonts and text links to match your design. with wordpress, you can really only change the background image and header, so be sure your template goes with the designs you make, both the fonts and the colors!

now that all that is out in the air, please tell me if this helped, if i confused you, or if this actually made sense. it makes sense to me because i know what i'm actually talking about... but does it really make sense? please tell me. okthankspreciateya.

last thing! designing your own blog can be pretty daunting, occasionally frustrating, and most times, time consuming. if you want to play around with designs, i say do it! i enjoy it, and i feel pretty rad when i'm done. but if you have a million other things to do and you don't want to mess with it but wish you had an awesome blog that was unique to you, you're in luck

i've decided i'm willing to help you out. obviously, i'm not a professional designer, but i can totally whip out some simple designs for background images, headers, buttons, and about photos, like the ones you see here and help shape your blog into something you love. i can't say i'm free, but i will say that i am pretty freakin cheap compared to those awesomes out there who are way too amazing for my wallet. if you're interested, shoot me an email: heyhollandfam{at} the first serious client [hehe that's a fun word!] i'll give 50% off as long as you tell everyone you love me. but really, feel free to ask and i'll send you all the deets and info. i like making the blog world a pretty place and i would love to work with you lovely people!

when the posts are up, these will be links!
intro platforms  | style and writing | networking | tools and other helps


  1. Yay! You changed up your profile picture and description!!! Love the pic. Love you more. And you're totally right, your mom will read your blog no matter what. ;) but she might proofread for you...

    1. Hehe, I had to say it because you know it's true! And yes, I needed a new one. I might need another one, so, but I wanted yo make a new one to go with the design post! Love you back!