Thursday, 10 October 2013

Blog Makeover

So after having started my blog over a year and half ago, it felt like the time was right to give my blog a much needed makeover. It’s something I wanted to do for a while but had no idea what I wanted or where to start. I’m extremely fortunate to be friends with a hugely talented designer and illustrator, Ellie Tzoni. Of course, if that wasn’t the case then I would have trawled the web for a designer to take on the job of my blog redesign, but I have to say that I’m thrilled that someone who personally knew me could do it. 

Some of Ellie's other awesome designs!

Even though I emailed Ellie a huge list of ideas and illustrations I wanted to be incorporated on my blog, she completely ignored them and instead came up with a simple yet gorgeous design that encompassed everything I wanted. Honestly, if I had had it my way, then the blog header would have been cluttered and looked a little immature.

I was also contradicting myself by requesting all of these elements and colours, when the blogs I linked to as an example of what I liked were, in fact, the complete opposite. My favourite blogs have a minimal and clean aesthetic, usually featuring a header on a white background (although there was a pink one I threw into the mix for good measure ;-)).

Ellie sent through her first attempt at the header complete with a mock-up of how it would look on a white background. Sorry to sound cheesy…but it was love at first sight! I think she was worried that I wouldn’t like it as it was completely different to what I had originally envisioned but that didn’t matter; she had created something that I wanted without even knowing that I wanted – just like a truly talented designer should.

The next stage was creating the social media buttons. I emailed Ellie with 8 different buttons from my favourite blogs to point out what I liked about each set such as the colours, logo and shape. Ellie responded with 4 different options for me to choose from – predictably I was drawn to the girly heart shaped ones! Combined with the header, Ellie managed to create a beautiful, sophisticated and feminine look without being overly girly. As I said before, it’s not what I originally had in mind but I’m so glad Ellie didn't listen to exactly everything I wanted as I couldn't have asked  for a better redesign.

Ellie’s guidance didn't stop there either. We also discussed what the image on my blog should look like, the size, positioning, the layout and the other colours such as the post titles. She felt that we needed to introduce a fourth colour into the palette and luckily agreed that the turquoise complimented the other shades nicely.

Once I was happy with all the elements, Ellie emailed them through ready for me to pop straight onto the blog. As I suspected, it wasn't quite as simple as that! Praise the lord for Google and all the lovely people on the internet who take the time to write/film and post tutorials. First of all, a big shout out to Cottons & Curls for her tutorial on uploading your own header and social media buttons. Although I had to make my own tweaks, as she says, it’s all trial and error especially as each person will want to do something slightly different with their blog.  Secondly, I’d like to thank Beta Templates  for their guide to adding code so you can change the colour of your post title. Again, had to do some of my own tweaking to get what I wanted but at least I know a little more basic HTML!

Long-time readers of my blog might also notice I’ve made a few other changes. I’ve streamlined the home page so that you can see 4 of my posts but instead of endlessly scrolling, you get a preview of each post and the option to ‘read more’. I also removed the ‘Link Within’ widget. Whilst I liked the idea of it, it would often show two of the same post as a suggestion which a) isn't very helpful and b) looks like it’s broken. I feel like the homepage and posts look a lot cleaner now with these changes.

Apologies for the long-winded explanation but I thought it might be of interest to anyone who’s considering redesigning their blog to read an experience of the process. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask in the comments!

Now that I’m not longer ashamed of my basic (bitch) blog, I’ll be posting a lot more. I’ve also decided to get social on y’all and you can now find me on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Hope you like the new design as much as I do!


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