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blog design

I’ve been thinking about web design recently, specifically as it applies to a possible redesign for this blog. There’s no rush, because the current look is fairly new and I’m pleased with it, but I had set myself a more ambitious target. Inspired by an exchange I had with Will over at Corridor of Uncertainty, I wanted to come up with something which broke away from the standard layout of ‘header and 2 or 3 columns’, which looked genuinely distinctive and sharp.

Obviously you can’t get away from the fact that most of the content you want to present (posts, blogroll, categories) is naturally in a column form. What you can do, hopefully, is break up the boxy visual appearance, both by disguising it – rather as I’ve tried to do with the fading-out of the blue boxes in the current design, which softens their appearance – and by laying them out somewhat differently. And that’s quite apart from all the decisions about typography, visual style, colour-scheme and so on. I would want to get the look stylish without being über-tasteful, modern without trying to present myself as terribly hip (which I’m not), and low-key while still being distinctive. And no Flash or Java, both because they’re completely unnecessary with this kind of site and because I wouldn’t know how to do them anyway – it took me long enough to learn my way around basic HTML and CSS.

I do have a few ideas, but it’s not coming together just yet. In the meantime, I had a (not very thorough) scan through the long poetry blogroll to see what other people have done. Most, sensibly enough, have just used one of the blogger templates. And there are plenty with good, simple designs based primarily on sensible colour and type choices. But here are a few that have managed something a bit more distinctive. In no particular order:

Equanimity (probably my favourite of the lot, though the one-column layout is a bit limiting)
jane dark’s sugarhigh!
Shanna Compton
{lime tree}
Jacob’s Ladder
One Good Bumblebee
Postcards from the Imagination

Note that I’m not talking about anything particularly radical or super-ingenious, just good design.

3 replies on “blog design”

I like the design of your site as it stands. I’m not a good designer, and so I spend way to much time changing things around on my site in an attempt to arrive at something distinctive yet not too flashy.

To add to your list of good design (and a good list it is), I would add Bitchphd’s site (and just about anything done by Lauren over at Feministe).

Hi Kevin. Thanks. :-)

Your site has changed since I last looked at it (I do most of my blog-reading via Bloglines). Looks pretty good. Both of those sites you mention are good examples. I love the photo at the top of Bitch PhD – though it’s one thing finding a cool photo and another working out how to use it.

Hey Will. Thanks to you too. I can relate to the wish to update it every so often, but I actually think the current CoU design works well. The fab photos for the header do a lot of the work for you. BTW, it always amuses me that the Flickr ‘cricket’ photos in the sidebar never seem to be of cricket.

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