< The following is a guest post I wrote for The Vagabond Studio. Also published here for posterity. >
If you have a blog and you are a DIY-er, you’ve got to be a graphic designer, website builder and writer all wrapped up in one adorable creative package. I’ll be honest; I got into blogging when my brain started screaming for a creative outlet. I’m not a writer, which is in contrast to what most bloggers get into blogging for – writing. I felt completely at peace creating my own blog and making it look fantastic… and the anxiety sets in for me when it comes to actually writing words on the page.
I’m here with a few tips for those of you at the other end of the spectrum, those of you who are blogging to spread your vast knowledge and maybe struggle a little with your graphics, your logo or the layout of the medium you choose to deliver your knowledge, your blog (Although many of these principles can absolutely be applied to a newsletter, postcard, etc.)
When you look at a page, where does your eye get drawn to first? Then, where do you naturally look on from there? It should make sense, and lead your readers directly to your message.
In general, the first thing that the eye should be drawn to on a blog is your logo or your header. This is who you are. This should be top and center and in good contrast to stand out above the rest of the content on your page.
Now that your readers know who you are, what do you want them to check out next? Try to keep this principle in mind when creating your page and laying out your posts.
TIP: If you have an image next to text, make sure the person or object is facing towards the text and not away from it. A person or item facing a direction organically directs our eye to what they are facing.
About that Logo
Your logo is you, so make sure it’s awesome. When creating your logo, start with sketches, just free flow your ideas onto the paper straight from your brain to the paper. When you have a good idea of how you want it to look, digitize.
A few pointers:
- DON’T use more than 2 fonts. (Unless you’re bohemian – which is A-okay in my book).
- DO mix it up! Eclectic = Interesting
- DO use complementary colors in your scheme. Keep the scheme consistent throughout your site. (I like these tools: http://colorschemedesigner.com, http://www.colourlovers.com)
TIP: Once you pick your color scheme, write down the RGB Values and Hex Codes for easy reference!
- A good way to connect your logo to the rest of the page design is to use the same logo font as your header font. Or maybe take an element out of the logo and repeat it as a custom bullet in your articles or graphic element to your images.
- DON’T always follow the rules; they are made to be broken. So whatever ‘design rules’ you think you have to follow, just remember they don’t apply in every situation.
Sometimes letting a professional create your logo is the best option for you. In my opinion, logos aren’t something you want to feel ‘okay’ about – I want you to feel ‘ecstatic’ about your logo.
Those photos you post in your article just might make or break the readers’ decision to stay and read or to move on to the next pretty Internet thingy. Make them interesting.
I’ve found my best photos are snapped candidly. If something grabs your eye as gorgeous, thought provoking, ridiculously cute, or interesting – find your iPhone and take a picture! I have a small point and shoot digital camera I keep in my purse at all times for just this scenario.
TIP: Turn OFF the flash. In my opinion, a little grainy and underexposed is a billion times nicer than overexposed, skin glowing glare from our crappy phone camera (and point and shoot) flashes. Of course, sometimes flashes are necessary, but 97% of my photos are taken sans-flash
Got the perfect photo & want to make it more awesome? I don’t have to tell you there are tons of apps for that. My favorite filter app is VSCO Cam (https://vsco.co/vscocam), also: Instagram (http://instagram.com). Maybe add a shape border, or insert a few photos into a collage. If you’ve never met PicMonkey (http://www.picmonkey.com), head over there and introduce yourself. You’ll be glad you did – lots of fun things to jazz up those images, and… FREE!
I hope these tips help you out! I post morsels of design information on my blog from time to time. Stop by sometime!