December 5, 2005
Liz published this at 1:59 pm
Blog design is a lot like a book cover. It’s our first impression. A promise of what’s still to come. Before they read a word or take in the title, readers have formed an opinion of our blogs based on the design.
“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” might be what they tell you. Reality is that covers sell books, and designs draw in readers. Great content and useful design keeps readers coming back for more, but first-glance design is what gets them to try us.
What are the five design basics never to forget?
- Put the title where I can see it and a subtitle explaining what the blog is about. Sounds obvious, but we’ve all been to blogs where we couldn’t find the title. More often we’ve been to blogs where the title just wasn’t enough. Does Mary muse about music or about mathematics? It makes a difference to whether I want to read her. It won’t make me a reader not to tell me. I’m going to find out.
- Please tell me about yourself. Tell me who you are, writer. Blogs are special in their person-to-person connectedness. I read blogs because I like that about them. I can ignore it, if I don’t care about it, but I can’t make it up, if it’s not there. Don’t take that choice away from me.
- Choose a color palette that goes together. Don’t let fighting colors distract me from what I should be paying attention to. If you’re artfully challenged, there are tools that can help.
- Less is more, and simple is elegant. Put what you think I need. Then take half away. White space is good. It gives me room to think. Lack of it crowds me. It confuses my eyes and makes me want to leave. I like my space, like most people do.
- Form follows function. You might have heard this one. It means that everything should be there for a reason–in this case for me, the reader. If it’s not, let it go. Things without function get in my way–they get between me and what you’re trying to tell me. I don’t want to fight to hear what you have to say.
Colors that are meant to go together make the environment comfortable and inviting–one worth spending time in.
The key to design is that it adds value to readers’ experience without calling unnecessary attention to itself. Like a great music score, you sense it and feel it. It carries you along as if it knows right where you want to go.
–Me “Liz” Strauss