Graphic design is an art form that we don’t always think about because it surrounds us every day, yet I’m fascinated by how it subtly influences our experience of everything we read. I recently had my own blog redesigned to reflect my own preferences, and I’ve noticed both that it both gives me significantly more personal satisfaction, and appears to have led to increased traffic. When it looks good, more people want to visit, it seems.
Everyone has different tastes, though, and I wonder what your preferences are. Do you love dark backgrounds? Bright colors? Bare-bones designs? Do you not care at all about what a blog looks like, and just zoom in on the content? Please let me know in the comments!
Here are my top criteria for a book blog design, and some shout-outs for blog designs that I especially like.
Clean, simple, and easy to read
I prefer designs that don’t have too many elements, and that arrange them in a sensible way with plenty of breathing space. I have a hard time with light text on dark background, patterns behind text, busy sidebars, or flashing/animated things.
A lot of bloggers rely on premade templates, and/or have gone to a very simple and streamlined look, and that’s fine. But I appreciate seeing some unique and creative element that highlights the blogger’s personal style, like a custom-made header or other image.
Fonts that work
I’m somewhat obsessed with typography, and I adore new and different fonts — but they should be used sparingly. An unusual display font can work for post titles or brief headings, but it should still be readable. And for longer stretches of text, it’s best to stick with classic serif or sans-serif fonts. Finding fonts that work together is another art, playing with similarity and contrast without creating a chaotic mess.
Color is an extremely personal choice, but my preference is for more subtle, non-clashing combinations.
A meaningful whole
Layout, images, fonts, and colors all provide opportunities to give non-verbal cues about your personality and interests, as reflected by your blog. When these all come together to express something about the content itself, that’s great design!
Here are a few blogs that have all of these qualities — and terrific content too. What are your favorites?