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As part of The Art of Escapism’s The 3 Days of New Year, I’m here to help your blog with my simple design tips. I was supposed to tell you my boring history with Web Design and then I realized I wanted something that can be helpful to others so here I am. :D

I know saying this is counterproductive to my sideline but hiring a designer is pretty expensive. You can create your own blog design if you know how but in my experience it takes a while to learn. When I started blogging I just downloaded free themes out there and just customized it. But since I’ve been designing website for years and eager to have a layout that is truly mine, I decided to gamble and learn the ins and outs of WP (at least for web design purposes only. I didn’t even dream of becoming a programmer. It’s a tough one!)

I digress, so yeah it’s a pricey road but there are still things that you can work with it without spending a lot of cash. Here are my tips.

  • Like voting, choose your WP/Blogger theme wisely.

forever
I noticed that this theme is popular among WP crowd. And I can see why.

There are tons of beautiful wordpress /blogger theme out there and the best news? It’s free. They are also highly customizable so you can edit it to suit your style. Add some personal touches like replacing the default header and background. Just tweaking that aspect of your theme will have a great impact on the overall design. See? And you didn’t even spend a single centavo cent.

  • Search high and low for your resources.

Want a simple background? Go to subtle patterns. They have hundreds of that on their arsenal and ready for you to use. Need a unique font? Go to dafont or fontsquirrel. In need of brushes? Make your way to brusheezy. And for graphics? You can never go wrong with openclipart (and they 100% free for personal and commercial use). And when you have all the material you need and just need inspiration? Check out CSSRemix for their mouthwatering websites design.

Those are just example of the sites that will significantly help you customize your blog. There are tons of that, & all you needed to do is spend a bit of time searching for the right material for your blog design. :)

  • Don’t be Gaga; please don’t over style.

I cringed whenever I see a very messy blog (no offense, over-the-top is not really my style). Like tons of colors that don’t mesh well with the others. Then there are blinking graphics. Using too many webfont kit and messy sidebar. And to top it all it even has tons of scripts in there. Oh golly! *SMH* Don’t add too many things at once. My rule of the thumb when it comes designing? The simpler the better. In web design trends, minimalism is always never out of fashion. It’s like the little black dress in our closet, ladies. It will never grow old.

  • Content baby, it’s the content!

sample
I really loved the minimalistic approach of this blog. Simple, personal & elegant.

In connection to #3, remember folks it’s a blog and therefore the spotlight should focus on your content. Don’t make it  hard for your readers to navigate and to read. Don’t use overly complicated font. I suggest not using a very busy background as well. If you need simple backgrounds, you can never go wrong with subtle patterns. It has tons of minimalistic backgrounds you can use for your site. This is just me but I don’t like white font to black background. It strains my eyes. In website, yeah. But blog? No I don’t like it.

And please for the love of cupcakes don’t use comic sans. Just please don’t and here’s why: comicsanscriminal.

cc-crminal
Don’t be a Comic Sans Criminal. Please stop using it now.

But for me the best tip I could give you good folks is to make the blog to represent you. It doesn’t have to be fancy and overly complicated. It has to be easy for you and for your readers to navigate.

*****

And that’s about it. I hope I’ll able to help you even a bit on what to do with your blog. Everyone has unique design aesthetics so I didn’t give anything very specific. When I design I usually have similar style that I follow, so does everyone else. Just follow what you want while considering things that will make your blog looks efficient, and I think it will transcend on your design. :happy:

2014 / 01 / 04

23 Responses to The 3 Days of New Year: Blog Design Tips!

  1. Stephanie R says:

    lol love that comic sans criminal website! I’ve used a site similar to CSSRemix in the past, it’s http://www.thebestdesigns.com/. Great tips =)

    • Mitchii G. says:

      Haha, it’s funny, a friend of mine gave me that link when I was whining about people still using comic sans in design and have mercy for web font *cringes* That’s a great site Stephanie, I always need site like this for inspiration (and well for ogling). :P Thanks Stephanie for dropping by. <3

  2. Nikki @ The Paper Sea says:

    Great tips, Mitchii, and all ones that I follow myself! Designing sometimes seems like the hardest thing in the world, but you can’t go wrong with these failsafe tips. Once I’d got these down, my designs improved so much.

    • Mitchii G. says:

      Yeah, design doesn’t usually spring on you whenever you like it. The design itself is as difficult process as much as the coding (which I sort of have problems with). But these are my general rules when I design particularly for blogs. You can never go wrong with these. Thanks Nikki. :D

  3. Cayce says:

    I’m bookmarking this post! So many awesome resources :)

  4. Amicia Rai says:

    Wow there are so many useful links in this post! Thanks so much for the lovely advice! :D

  5. I’d love to design my own layout, but I’m already proud with the thing I came up with now :p I’m actually looking around for a new theme to adjust, but frankly, I’m lazy and I don’t feel like learning HTML at the moment :p I agree that simple and minimalistic is more my style. A pop of colour is great, but I don’t like crowded designs. Thanks for all the tips!

    • Mitchii G. says:

      You should be proud because it’s really pretty. That’s what I thought before but I’m so wanted to have a layout of my own so I tried to read tutorials. :3

      Yay! Another vote for minimalism. :D

  6. WHOOHOO FOR HELPING FELLOW BLOGGERS!! <33 I think the comic sans thing is really funny xD CRIMINAL, DOOD! Your an awesome designer, and I'm glad you're sharing your tips with others!! ^^ I'm sure these will help me as well, when I design simple layouts, but you'll always remain my go-to designer ;)
    Thanks so much for these tips, Mitchii! <33

    • Mitchii G. says:

      Here’s the thing, I was so shy (and slightly petrified) to post that. But I’m so happy that people find it useful. I’m always here to help. :3

      Aw, you’re too sweet, I still can’t believe you trusted me to design for you. You were my very first client. Can you imagined how nervous I was, haha. :P

  7. Shannelle C. says:

    That Comic Sans Criminal page was certainly something. I always disliked people who used it because it’s such a childish font, and I just wonder why they would pick it. It’s not really nice in terms of design or aesthetic, but people would seriously use it for all those serious documents listed on that site? That’s just weird and wrong. My inner perfectionist feels violated.

    And thank you so much for joining my event, Mitchii! *love loves* Thank you for such sharing so many great links and design tips. *hugs*

    P.S. Do you think my background is flashy to take your eyes away from the content? ><

    • Mitchii G. says:

      Haha, it’s funny, right?. It’s so weird looking. I preferred handwritten font any day than comic san. It’s boring with almost non-existent personality. And thank you for having me. :3

      Nope, with that layout type it’s ok to you use that kind of background since it doesn’t take away the attention to the content area. :D

  8. ‘Minimalism is always never out of fashion’ – Ditto.
    Never heard of the comicsanscriminal thing until today-Lol! I LOVE it. :D

    This 3 Days of New Year is really cool, I have to stop by Shanelle’s blog to check it out. One of my resolutions was to make blogging a learning experience so thanks for sharing this, Mitchii!

    • Mitchii G. says:

      Comic sans was so popular before, but now, no way. It baffles me that some people still use them for their design/site. Like haven’t they heard of google fonts? There are so many fonts out there much classier than this.

      I’m so glad to be part of it. That’s a good resolution, and thank you for dropping by. :D

    • As a chronic font hoarder I can say safely say that yes, there are better fonts out there for sure! :)
      My favorite font for a blog’s main text content is Georgia-simple, classy and legible!

    • Mitchii G. says:

      Georgia, Arial, & other web safe font, these are classic; they’re simple, elegant and yes, timeless.

      Haha, I’m a font hoarder, too. I could spend all night looking and downloading pretty (sometimes eccentric font!) lmao. :P

  9. I admit I had no idea so many people liked the Forever theme when I first started using it xD It was a huge turn-off though when I found out because it became so common but I could understand why it was so popular.

    Definitely gonna check out some of the resources you mentioned! Been looking for inspiration lately.

    YES MINIMALISM! I always believe in less is more and keeping it simple.

    I actually got a scare yesterday when a friend of mine mentioned why I was using Comic Sans for my header and was mortified but later figured out what was going on and immediately changed the CSS so it would never ever appear on my blog. If someone could actually make a good design using Comic Sans, I would give them a huge round of applause but most people shouldn’t even attempt it.

    • Mitchii G. says:

      It is simple & responsive that’s why many bloggers like that theme. Although I do get you that the popularity sorta turn you off because it was so common kinda drag away the personality of the blogger.

      I love minimalism. I’ve always adore it. Simple layouts/design look elegant to me.

      Wow, a challenge for designers. I really dislike (to put it mildly) comic san it’s very childish and you can work with it design wise.

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