Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Fresh Coat of Paint: DIY Blog Design

Welcome back. You may notice that things are a bit different around here. Well, so am I after seven years of blogging, teaching, and connecting with you. It seemed time for a change, so I thought I would share my adventures in do-it-yourself blog redesign.

My original banner design is displayed below. I always enjoyed the filmstrip of images along the bottom edge, but after several years I felt that the earth tones I chose, and large self portrait were a little heavy. The portrait was also unnecessary since I have a profile pic on the sidebar. The typeface was a bit too modern next to the children's art. Don't get me wrong, I loved it all when I created it, but I wanted an overall design change which would be more youthful, fun and light.

Original banner design.

I'm a former art director, and my husband is a creative director, so we worked together to try out some new possibilities. First stop, FONTS! There are so many free options out there by great designers. Some can get downright kooky, or can be designed for too specific a purpose, so it can be a challenge to find one that reflects the feeling or message you want to convey. My home studio shares the name with my blog, so the typeface I chose had to work for both. Here are some of the contenders. I enjoyed how the texture within the script on the top left font was reminiscent of outer space, and the bottom right example omitted the counter space of the letter forms. The wordplay of 'space' lends itself to the My Adventures in Positive Space name.

Exploring new typefaces.

Next we added color to the title and newer images of my student's art. I also wanted to show some little hands at work. We played with a collage of colored blocks and pieces of art layered on a grid format. We tried a color scheme closer to my original blog design, then a more multi colored approach, and later tried scaling back to just two strong colors. I loved the ceramic bird as part of the logo, but eventually stuck with the filmstrip concept I used originally for the remainder of the art elements. 

A working layout.

A layout with color changes.

My favorite experience during the design process was when my thirteen year-old daughter joined us as we were exploring different elements and layouts. The ceramic bird was a keeper. It is playful and the blue Twisteezwire legs mimic the color and fluid lines of the logo. My daughter though, she took one look at that bird and made it sing. She said, "Mom, the bird should be smiling. And you should make it looking down at the name and the art." It went from playful to magical. I love it like crazy now! I was amazed at her instinct for visual nuance, combined with her young outlook. Thank you Amelia.

 What do you think? Have you added or created anything new for your blog or website lately? Is it time for a fresh coat of paint? Happy Spring!

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