have you ever met an Amy, Aimee, Amie, Ami, or Amee that you didn't love? nope. me neither. these are sweet girls. "beloved" actually & i promise, we are all nice!! :) so, after being sick for weeks + a wicked busy quarter designing + blogging + blogging some more, i STILL said yes.. because this Amy is Charming and Lovely and Excited about life... and these...
my name is Aimee. technically with an accent & technically pronounced - (A-mae) like the french. needless to say, we are English and am often called Aim, Ames, or hey girl. i am ---- a mom. a designer. a writer. a magazine-ripper-outer. a gardener. a spin biker. a lover of creative & unique... & classic design. coral & turquoise make me swoon. anchors make me smile. i am desperate to share my opinion & most often, with conviction. i love rules & guidelines and design within them in order to create lovely brands & websites. today i am sharing some secrets...
BRAND/LOGO Design: this is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER! whether you just write a little online journal, a mega blog, a darling blog, a business blog, a creative blog... it doesn't matter. have a brand. a design. something. and then stick with it. add it to your social media platforms. use it on your business cards. notecards. everywhere. as your blog grows & develops & you connect with others, people will notice and begin to "brand" you with your brand.
it doesn't have to be COMPLETELY the same as your logo, but certainly inspired. use similar fonts, colors tones, uniqueness. it should truly set the stage for your site design. so make sure you love your brand!!
FONTS: i follow a simple font formula... more often than not, the cursive and the bold fonts are in the brand with the common font being the text. if the cursive font is gentle, i will add this as the post titles like we did at Fancy Little Things, or a BOLD font like we added to Liz Marie Blog's navigation bar, but never with the intent to take away from the brand design. more than 3 fonts on a website design can be overwhelming and distracting to your readers. consider using easy-to-read fonts and test them out before throwing them up on your blog.
COLOR: whether i am starting a brand design, a website design, a PDF printable, custom notecards or even blog post graphics like this one, i ALWAYS begin with a color palette. my favorite place to search is: Design Seeds but I also love hanging out on Pinterest and creating my own. today i'm using Tulip Hues. once i add the color palette to a new design board on Illustrator, i begin choosing fonts and which colors will be used primary, secondary and as accents! this helps to keep my design focused & intentional.
some of your sidebar titles or post titles might be your brand's accent color like the deep plum on Woman's InSite or the dark green text on Everything's Abuzz. no matter what though, start with a color palette + great fonts and you'll have a lovely graphic that people will enjoy looking at, pinning, sharing & coming back for more!
SOCIAL MEDIA + SUBSCRIBE PLACEMENT: there are only 2 places that i would recommend these two items; the header or the very top of the sidebar. when new readers visit, they should be able to find this quickly without any fuss or scrolling. if they can't find them quickly, they will leave and not come back... since they can't follow you! my 2 favorite examples are Betsy Life & Liz Marie Blog. there is ZERO chance that you will miss these which means: a greater chance for the new visitor to come back again!
SIDEBAR: this might seem controversial... but it's not. this is how I think; you can take it or leave it! but what i do know from over 5 years of designing websites and working with 100's of bloggers & website owners: #1: we still read from left to right #2: we get distracted easily #3: if there's something going on in the LEFT column, we'll click on it and stop reading your post #4: if there's flashy ads, pop up boxes, drop down junk, pop up from the bottom junk, we'll click on it OR get annoyed and stop reading your post #5: quickest way to remove distractions - REMOVE both sidebars and just have a good ol' fashioned blog #6: but since that's not going to work for 95% of you, i recommend:
CONTENT: use a classic sans or sans serif font. 12px-16px tall. add some white space between, typically 50% of your font height is good! use bold, and italic, and larger sized fonts for headings, sub-headings and more. add some color -- but stay within the tones of your color palette. there is no reason that everything has to be centered anymore. use your align left and sometimes your align right. have fun with it! just don't be boring.
CATEGORIES/SEARCH FUNCTION: a very important feature to any blog is ensuring your new readers can find your old posts, especially the topics that you write about frequently. most site designs begin with a bit of thought development about the topics you intend to write about; therefore forming categories. by choosing categories, you can add them into the navigation bar like shown here at Small Anchors & Ma Nouvelle Mode:
a search box is very important as well. keep it near the top 25% of your sidebar so your readers can find it and use it quickly!
COPYRIGHT & GIVE CREDIT: whether someone designed your logo or site design, or you borrowed a graphic from a source that allows for that, or you use images or quote content --- give credit. if a design seen on every page, credit in the footer. if someone on a post or a page, credit in the footer of that page. giving credit keeps your blog honorable and gives you Internet credibility. /// thank you for making the time to read this post today. you can find me designing graphics, writing about friendships that suck, mom & son date ideas and much more on my personal blog, on twitter or pinterest! please be sure to introduce yourself!!