How-To – Blog Makeover
That was certainly a lot of work! And by “that” I mean my blog overhaul. I started with this:
And I ended with fabulous! But let me tell you, it was not easy! It took months of banging my head against a wall, planning color schemes, drawing illustrations by hand, converting illustrations into vector images, searching the web for tutorials, and trying to decipher coding instructions.
So, for all you folks who’d like to create your own layout I’m going to give you a head start. Here’s my step-by-step guide to the general process and a list of my favorite resources. You can thank me later.*
Brainstorm. Grab a sketchpad (or scrap paper) and doodle away. What’s your blog theme? What’s the title? What other blogs do you love? What inspires you? How can your design tie in to all that? This is the stage in which any idea is allowed. One of my brainstorms involved an illustrated version of myself buried in a pile of dust bunnies like Captain Kirk in The Trouble With Tribbles. So when I say any idea is allowed I really mean any idea.
Refine. Weed out the bad ideas. Bounce your ideas off family and friends. Figure out what the best design for your blog is and come up with a color scheme. Because I’ve had 2-D design and digital design classes I had an advantage because I know how colors work together and how they affect us, as well as already knowing the basics of using art software. But by checking out some art/design books from the local library, browsing top notch blogs, and trying to educate yourself a little bit you’ll get a feel for the “laws” of art and design too. And remember, a cluttered blog is distracting to readers as well as difficult to navigate. Try to keep things simple.
Implement. Make your images. Learn how to fiddle with your template code (always back up your template)! Ask for help when you get really stuck. This is the “banging the head against a wall” phase. It will probably be the least fun but in the end it’ll be worth it. Your design may change from the original plan during this stage of the game. That’s OK. Sometimes our ideas have no good way to be implemented, or we discover a better idea while browsing tutorial pages. As long as you don’t get so carried away in changes that it never gets finished then don’t worry about it.
Enjoy. Show off your masterpiece to friends and family. After all that effort and time you deserve a chance to brag.
- http://www.bloggerbuster.com/ Lots and lots and LOTS of tutorials. This site is invaluable. Add it to your bookmarks.
- http://tricks-for-new-bloggers.blogspot.com/ More tutorials, but not a great example of simple, easy to navigate blog design.
- http://www.colourlovers.com/ A color lover’s heaven! Browse colors, color schemes, website examples, and patterns. It was by browsing and playing on this website that I came up with my color scheme.
- http://www.chami.com/html-kit/services/favicon/ Create a favicon (the little icon next to the website title). It’s easy and free.
- http://www.gimp.org/ GIMP is the open source (read: FREE) version of Adobe Photoshop.
- http://www.inkscape.org/ Inkscape is the open source version of Adobe Illustrator. It’s the program I used to make all the illustrations you see on this blog.
Or…you can skip all those steps and just pay someone else to do it! But not me. I am soooooo not for hire. I’d like to not go prematurely grey, thanks.
Do you have a blog? If so do you use your own design? Tell me about it.
*Link love, comments, money, and baked goods are all acceptable forms of gratitude.