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Graphic Design Using Color

by: Kelly Paal

Color is everywhere and conveys a message even if we don’t realize it. While this message can vary by culture it pays to know what colors “say” in your own corner of the universe, and even what color means to your target market.

If you don’t think that color speaks just complete this sentence, “red means —- and green means –“ even a child will know what red means stop and green means go. If such simple ideas work for all of a given culture or market what could it mean to the graphic design of your website, brochure, or product if you know some of this information.

First let’s start with the basics. The color wheel. We’ve all seen it. The color wheel shows the basic colors, each wheel is different in how many shades of each color is shown, but they are essentially the same.

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Where do your Blog Readers Look?

I just found this fascinating article that has been written about some research into where web page readers eyes go when reading online news sources. I need to digest it a little more yet – however there are some interesting findings in the research that I’m sure would apply to us as bloggers as we consider the layout of our blogs. Here are a couple of snippets from the article.

“The eyes most often fixated first in the upper left of the page, then hovered in that area before going left to right. Only after perusing the top portion of the page for some time did their eyes explore further down the page….

Now also consider another Eyetrack observation: Dominant headlines most often draw the eye first upon entering the page — especially when they are in the upper left, and most often (but not always) when in the upper right. Photographs, contrary to what you might expect (and contrary to findings of 1990 Poynter eyetracking research on print newspapers), aren’t typically the entry point to a homepage. Text rules on the PC screen — both in order viewed and in overall time spent looking at it.”

Read more at Eyetrack III – What You Most Need to Know:

Blog Design – Choosing Colours

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One of the most important decisions you can make when it comes to designing your website is to think about your colour scheme. One of the more useful articles I’ve read on this topic is Choosing Colour for your Website

‘For most people, colour is something taken for granted. It is all around us. Yet, when we come to use colour, in paintings, in design, in our furnishings and clothes we often make mistakes because we don’t understand what is going on.

Some people will say that this colour goes with that colour and that “blue and green should never be seen.” They will even try to make up complex tables and formulae for combining colours in pleasing ways. I’m not going to do that!’

Its nice to read a site on the topic that actually uses colour beautifully in their writing. If you want to think more about the colour of your blog you might aslo want to check out some of the following colourful resources.
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Blog Design Showcase

Want to know what a good blog design looks like?

Blog Desiger – Rachel Cunliffe has just released the Blog Design Showcase. She writes:

This is a collection of outstanding blog designs, thoughts on what makes a good blog design, and will also be where I announce new blogs that I have designed.

She also invites readers to submit suggestions for inclusions.

Good weblog design and layout

Here is another worthwhile article on weblog design and layout from How to Save the World. His 9 main points are:

– Use Titles
– Abstract Long Posts
– Use a Teaser Paragraph for Long Posts
– Select a Readable Font, Size & Column Width
– If You’re a ‘Linker’, Add Something of Value
– Give Readers Someplace to Go for More
– Use Graphics If They Add Something
– Use Categories Only If They Help Your Readers
– Use Outlining ‘Twisties’ Cautiously

Each is expanded really well in the original post.

More on Blog Design

Here an old article written by Biz Stone who has been blogging (and writing books) about blogging for years now. This article is on Designing your blog and it has some good tips. His main points include:

– Create Your Own Limitations
– Think Simple
– Adding On (features)
– Designing Beyond the Blog

Good Blog Design

Taking a short break from the ‘Finding Readers mini-series‘ because I asked fellow blogger and blog designer Rachel Cunliffe to write a post for me on good blog design. The following is what she wrote:

Darren asked me for a post on “what makes a good blog design” in his blog tip series.

I’ve been making blogs for a while now, will be launching a Blog Design Showcase in January 2004 and I’ll be redesigning my blog in the near future as things have got a bit messy here for my liking, so this is also a reminder to myself.

Of course, it’s all pretty basic stuff, but it’s amazing how many bloggers
get carried away in the excitement of creating a blog and forget or ignore
the basics:

  • Easy-to-read
    • font size
    • colours
    • layout
    • clean
    • good use of white space
    • works cross-browser and uses standards-compliant code
  • Provide
    • Consistent navigation
    • Permalinks
    • Easy-to-find email address or contact form
    • Search facility
    • RSS/XML feed
  • Fast loading
  • Originality
    • Just as you would hire an architect to design your house, why not
      hire a blog designer to create a blog that reflects you and your interests
      and is memorable visually?

Have I forgotten anything?

Feel free to leave your own ideas on good blog design so we can all learn from the process.

Previous Blog Tips

Comments

Blog Logo Design

Whilst not specifically written about Blog logos, the article – Trends in Logo Design – is a great resource for looking at some recent trends in graphic design which might be useful in considering the design of your blog.

Blog Designers

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My post Where are the Blog Designers? got a bit of interest yesterday and a number of Blog Designers let us know about themselves and gave examples of their work.

I thought I’d give them a little exposure here:

As previously mentioned Cre8d Design is a personal favorite of mine. She produces clean, fresh and stylish blogs and logos and was recommended by a number of commentators in the previous post.

Dydimustk has designed his own great blog and a number of others. (links in previous comments)

Alan Creech also has a growing portfolio of blogs that he’s designed. (links in previous comments). Alan has designed a number of blogs in my own blogroll.

Tim also is offering his services and recommends May Star Designs.

Chad is a web designer who is willing to take on blog designing jobs.

Iggie Krug has been doing blog design and logos for a while now. I’ve seen a lot of Iggie’s work around in my blogroll – good stuff.

Kevin at Sakamuyo is another blogger willing to take on work. He also recommends Sekimori for professional blogs.

Tim from E-Church does freelance design at Turtle + Interactive and is willing to take on blog work.

Jordon Cooper works for a company that does blog design and has developed blogging software. (links to examples of his work in previous comments)

Dan is also happy to do blog design.

So there you have some blog designers – perhaps there are more out there than I thought.

Having read the comments there I have some theories as to why there are so few people specializing in blog design professionally.

– A lot of people feel they can do a reasonable job themselves.
– Most people know someone that knows someone who will do it for free (or very cheap).
– People are not willing to pay much for something that they can get for free and then ‘tinker’ with.

Feel free to add your own ad for your services below.