As I have already briefly mentioned in another post, I am currently planning some updates to my blog's look. This won't be anything major, but I want to create a consistent overall look with a style that immediately identifies the content as being A Typical English Home. And being Little Miss Organised (on a good day) I have taken a very structured approach to doing this, which I thought I would share to help other bloggers.
If you take a look at the most popular blogs, you will most likely find that that the headers, buttons, post images and photos all incorporate elements which unify them. This might be certain colours, a set pattern, or a specific shape (arrows seem to be very "big" in blog land right now). A good example of this is The 36th Avenue blog, which has a very strong design aesthetic. So to create a look which really works I have been putting together a mood board.
Planning Your Blog's Design
There are lots of ways of creating a mood board such as Photoshop, PicMonkey or free online websites specifically designed for the purpose, (please don't ask for recommendations, I haven't personally tried any!). Of course, you don't have to create a mood board if you find the idea a bit intimidating. I started off by creating a folder on my laptop and just saving images which inspired me, (beautiful colour combinations, fonts combinations I love, etc).
This mood board is not the one which I have created for A Typical English Home - that is still a work in progress! But I hope the example I've created will start the inspiration ball rolling for you. These are some of the elements which you might want to consider adding to your blog design mood board...
Pretty colour schemes
One of the crucial parts of creating a good design is to get the colour scheme right. I find Design Seeds really good for this. The Design Seed colour palettes have six different colours, but I will usually select only four or five of the colours to use. Typically, the two strongest colours will be used for the "main" colours (think headers, titles and links), and the more subtle colour will be used as accent colours.
It can be really handy to include the HTML code for your chosen colours in your mood board, or at least write them down somewhere. This is very convenient for when you are creating images or are tinkering with your blog's design, for example setting the link colour.
Patterns and textures
Even if you aren't planning to use a pattern in your blog's design, (for example in the header of as a background), it is still a good idea to include one on your blog's mood board. If you ever create your own images for your website, or you may do in future, then there is a reasonable chance you will need a pattern or texture for it - and it is good to already have a clear idea of what works with your blog's overall look!
Social Media Icons
These days, social media icons are pretty much essential if you want to expand your blog's readership. Pick something that compliments the other colours used on the blog, and which reflects the overall design. For instance, my blog design doesn't currently incorporate any curves so I have forgone circular buttons in favour of square ones.
I am a total fontaholic so there is very little chance of me restricting myself to only a few fonts. But to create a consistent style for a blog I think it is still a great idea to pick a small number of fonts which compliment each other, and then predominantly use them in the design. Other pretty typography can still be added in with your "main" fonts.
I regularly share font collections on Fridays, (you can find my previous posts here). You may also want to read my post on how to mix and match fonts.
Banner shapes, arrows, image labels... these are all shapes that bloggers regularly find themselves using. I am very fickle about my post images, and frequently change how I present them. But through using a mood board, I hope to create a more uniform style which I love.
Other Graphical Elements
If you see something you like on another website, save the picture and use the idea in your own blog. Just to be clear, I'm not advocating copy-catting which is totally not cool. I'm just suggesting emulating the idea. For example, I became aware of washi tape being used in digital scrap booking, and thought it would be a neat way to prettify images on a blog. Or, if you do a lot of round ups on your blog, you might like the way a person has combined several photos into one image in their post.
For those of you who like the washi tape idea, check out my post on how to use digital washi tape in blog posts. The post also contains links to four sets of digital washi tape which are free to download.
I hope that this post has been useful, and that it gives someone the confidence to upgrade their own blog design. Take a look at my tutorials page if you want to learn about other ways to enhance the look of your blog.
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