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 Blog Design

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CuteWithoutThe
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PostSubject: Blog Design   Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:57 pm

This topic can be for a whole bunch of things.



1) You can gush about your favorite blog design.



2) How a design "sets the mood" or foreshadows what a blog is like.



3) Tips on designing a blog.



This topic may seem ineffectual, but to me, a blog's design is highly important, because my eyes don't like being raped. So, yeah. Discuss.



To get this topic started, I have been playing around with my now finished blog The Hunter's design for months. It has been changed three times, to fit in with what is happening in the story.
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PostSubject: Re: Blog Design   Sat Aug 13, 2011 3:31 pm

There are two design things that bug me.
First is that dark "Awesome Inc" template. I know dark is appropriate and it's a default, but it's way overused. And, to be honest, most of the blogs using it are not good. It's not a good first impression.
Second is lack of readability. A blog is meant to be read. If your background is too busy or similar in color to the text, it becomes a hassle. There are other ways to make things hard to read too, like using weird fonts or just having your text too small.
I'm not good at judging good from mediocre, though. Any blog design that doesn't make one of those mistakes is good enough for me to actually read it.
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PostSubject: Re: Blog Design   Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:45 pm

I was going to comment on this but then forgot which is terrible because I find blog design to be VERY VERY IMPORTANT.

But first of all, this Slenderbloggins post goes into my opinions some. But I'll sort of restate/elaborate here.

You know why blog design is so important? Because it's what people actually see. It's like your filming/blocking/shot angles. It's how people perceive the blog, and everything from background color to font will subconsciously shape the tone people expect from your story.

First things first: you want it to NOT RAPE PEOPLE'S EYES. How do you not rape people's eyes? Well, there are several ways:

1. Choose a font that is readable. So the cursive-ish font with all the curlies and serifs looks pretty. Guess what? It's also hard to read. It doesn't matter if it's serif or sans-serif (note: serifs are little decoration things on the ends of letters--Times New Roman is a serif font and Ariel is a sans-serif font), but it has to be legible. Times New Roman, Georgia, Courier, Ariel...they're all fine choices. Something simple. Please.

2. Choose a font size that is readable. The standard tends to work best. Please don't break the page with large font, and please, please, please don't make us squint at tiny font, because masturbation has screwed up our vision or something and we are unable to read print so small.

3. Choose an background/font color combo that is readable. White on black or white on dark tends to glare a bit, and black on white isn't much better. And please, please, please, don't use bright font colors or dull font colors on a dull background. H(a)unting, for example, violates both of these by using rainbow fonts. Matt's dark green is hard to make out on the dark gray background, while Sandra and Lya's respective blue and purple are too bright against it. So what does work? Usually an off-light on an off-dark, or an off-dark on an off-light. Pick up a book. Chances are, the paper isn't a particularly bright white, and the black isn't as stark against it. Look at the forum skin. The font isn't white; it's a dark gray.

4. Choose an unobtrusive background. This does not mean that you have to have a bland background. Not at all. You can have an image as a background (Encyclopedia Slenderia and A Really Bad Joke manage to do it quite well). Just make sure it's either subdued or consistant with a color scheme and doesn't stand out.

5. If you do have an image, make sure that it does not interfere with the text. Make sure that the text is visible enough that the image doesn't make it unreadable. You can set transparency, you know. Do that.

6: SPACE OUT YOUR PARAGRAPHS PLZKTHNXBAI. Nobody wants to read a wall of text.

Anyway, those six tips for not raping people's eyes out of the way, let me go into how you SHOULD design a blog.

Going by the color in tip 3, it doesn't matter whether you go light-on-dark or dark-on-light. They're both equally readable, just as long as they're not on opposite colors of the spectrum.

In Now I Shall Know You Again, my font color was originally red on a sort of pale blue. I changed that to a darker red after I realized that the shade of red I had was too painful. The background was unobtrusive enough that even I didn't notice it. I think it turned out okay. But just okay. Not the best by any means.

Don't Shoot The Messenger is a layout that I am, in fact, quite proud of. I put the main text between two sidebars for two reasons: first of all, you can find both the main blog and the additional stuff (like followers, posts, profile) without scrolling down too far, and second, it makes it read more like a newspaper, what with two columns framing the "front page." The Courier font also adds to the newspaper effect by making it look more type-written (and is a subtle pun, considering that "courier" and "messenger" are synonyms). The light gray on dark gray is thematically important (gray is the "neutrality" between black and white, representing Messi's fence-straddling morality), as well as easy to read. And the red? Well, that's got a bit less interesting of a story. It's basically just a trim that makes links, the title, and other important things stand out. Also it's the color of blood.
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PostSubject: Re: Blog Design   Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:06 pm

I'm actually having a good deal of frustration over the blandness of my own, but I digress. I like pictures to be a part of the story. Not every post, hell, you can have them off to the side. But having something to look at, to help elaborate on the post, is helpful. Definitely not required, though.

I personally like the Hunter's design, because it's different. There are pictures, music, and is easy on the eyes. Though, Ticking? The use of the clocks for foreshadowing/keeping the timeline on focus is awesome.

I don't know enough about code to personalize it the way I would like, but I do have something I'd like help with (besides the design.) My latest post was copied from WordPad, and for some reason has an extra space between each paragraph. The length is eye-raping enough, I would like to fix it to make it easier to read and more professional. Please and thank you.
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PostSubject: Re: Blog Design   Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:12 pm

I went with the yellow Awesome Inc. one, now I feel like an idiot.
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PostSubject: Re: Blog Design   Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:26 pm

LoveHopeRainbows wrote:
I'm actually having a good deal of frustration over the blandness of my own, but I digress. I like pictures to be a part of the story. Not every post, hell, you can have them off to the side. But having something to look at, to help elaborate on the post, is helpful. Definitely not required, though.

I personally like the Hunter's design, because it's different. There are pictures, music, and is easy on the eyes. Though, Ticking? The use of the clocks for foreshadowing/keeping the timeline on focus is awesome.

I don't know enough about code to personalize it the way I would like, but I do have something I'd like help with (besides the design.) My latest post was copied from WordPad, and for some reason has an extra space between each paragraph. The length is eye-raping enough, I would like to fix it to make it easier to read and more professional. Please and thank you.
Oh, man, that spacing thing is so irritating. I had an issue with that when I was trying to C&P comments into a post. Had to go into the HTML version of the post, find a place where the spacing worked correctly, then C&P that where the incorrect spaces were, eliminating the code that was there. I still didn't get it quite right, but it looked less awful.
Speaking of looking awful, I've noticed a new issue lately. Nothing to do with you, Dia. But I've seen a few blogs lately that have black backgrounds on their posts and links that turn black once you've clicked them. Those things do not work together. Don't do that.
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PostSubject: Re: Blog Design   Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:32 pm

What I think I'm going to have to do is open the post in Wordpad, remove the wording (and the coding mistakes) from the post, and rewrite it by hand. I don't know which codes are which, so it's kind of an all or nothing thing. I really need to look into learning more about code. -_-

In the future, I'll probably just write in the blogger new post area, and save it as a draft if I can't finish it in one go. At least that way, I know the code won't be another headache to deal with. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Blog Design   Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:02 pm

I haven't got really anything to suggest or criticize that hasn't already been said (at least not from the top of my head.) Though I will strongly agree with Lero's point about the links turning black and merging into the background. Bugs the hell out of me.

One thing I will add to though is what Andy said about colours, it’s up to you whether or not you make every colour on the blog have some sort of meaning, but I personally think it's a pretty good idea to check out the themes behind certain colours and see if a few of the colours can be themed.

For example, my own recently started blog:

Top of the page starts off white to symbolize the beginning (of the blog) is innocent and pure, however white's also hard to clean. Can become tainted easily.

As we go down the page (as time passes), it turns more and more purple to imply royalty/sophistication which fits with the background picture being of a character who holds the title Earl. This also fits with later personality traits to emerge in the character as time goes on.

The main text is grey due to it being between white and black, between light and darkness. main header text is blue because not only is it peaceful and tranquilizing, something a guy growing angered at loss of identity would need to feel, it also can be cold and depressing, fitting with how bad things are going to get when we move into the later stalked problems.

So yeah: colour can definitely really help story wise as well as just making it easy to read.

While I’m on the topic of easy to read: self-conscious desire means I got to ask, Is my set up murdering anyone's eyesight? Because if it is, I can still probably change it while still keeping the basic theme I’m going for. Since we're on the topic of talking all about this, figured I might as well check.
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PostSubject: Re: Blog Design   Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:10 pm

As an offhand comment, I would say try to make the text background transparent. The background image is being cut off by the massive wall of white in front of it. I have a hard time in general reading blogs that have white backgrounds, though that may just be me. I am curious as to what the 'actor' in the background looks like.

Again, just my two cents. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Blog Design   Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:58 pm

@dia: Yeah, I personally love the design I chose for The Hunter.



Much better than the first design I chose for the blog (red text and a forest background), but it is debateble whether the current design is better than the second design I had. I'm probably going to change the design again soon since the blog's will be starting up again. -__-



And also thanks for the praise on the design of Purpose! It's my favorite design out of all of my blogs, especiall the use of the use of the clock at the top to foreshadow the ending of the actual blog.
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PostSubject: Re: Blog Design   Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:36 pm

I just realized I wrote "I" instead of "you." I'm an idiot.

Foreshadowing is awesome. When are you planning on starting it up again?

Oh, and I finally figured out how to fix that Wordpad problem thanks to a friend. If anyone needs to know, I can mention it here.
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PostSubject: Re: Blog Design   Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:45 pm

LoveHopeRainbows wrote:
As an offhand comment, I would say try to make the text background transparent. The background image is being cut off by the massive wall of white in front of it. I have a hard time in general reading blogs that have white backgrounds, though that may just be me. I am curious as to what the 'actor' in the background looks like.

Again, just my two cents. Smile

Well I've altered my design at last, enough to still give the same feel I wanted but also to have things shown better, Figured I best come here and check to see how it is now. Just to make sure it's aligned properly on different monitors and stuff. If it works all okay, this feels like it will work better from now on.

Next post I’ll probably also have the character mention about him changing the design as well as commenting on what the picture is and who the character is.

Easier to read? Better now that you can see the guy in the background? Any other thoughts?
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PostSubject: Re: Blog Design   Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:51 pm

I love it. I absolutely love it. Takes a minute to load, though. Easier to see the guy, but the cross is blocking part of it. Not sure if you wanted that.

Oh, and overall, very well put together. I like it much better. Again, just my two cents.
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PostSubject: Re: Blog Design   Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:45 am

Originally, my blog designs weren't that great. Than I read Andy's Slenderbloggins article on blog design, and hopefully made my blogs look a little better. So if you're reading, thanks Very Happy


I personally prefer plainer blogs, mainly because they are easier on the eyes, and because quite frankly, a lot of custom blogs just don't look great. There's som many I've seen that use horribly bright or obstructive background images, and just mess up the formatting. I'm gonna bring up the Team Magik blog, because that one was horribble. I don't know who thought that design was a good idea.


But if a custom design is pulled off right, it can work wonders for making a blog stand out. Also, bright coloured text is a very so-so thing for me. If it works within the theme, that it's fine, but if it contrasts extremely, that gets on my goat. I just use a light grey on dark grey, just because it's easier on the eyes. Also, I've realised I use a lot of blue backgrounds. Don't know why though. Probably because they are darker, and a little more melancholy. As for the little widgety things, I tend to only have the posts up top, with the followers and authors down the bottom. It just removes the clutter and gets to the point of reading the story. Though that may impact on why I don't have many followers (either that, or my writing is just terrible).


My proudest design is probably the one for 'The Things You Shall See'. Originally, I had trouble with contrasts because of the background I was using (a nice painted image of Prometheus). But over my short hiatus, I changed the design and ended up with something I'm much more happy with. It's very much a mix of blues, but surprisingly it works quite well. I did have trouble with my other current one though. For some reason, it changed the links to black and wouldn't let me change them, or the side-bar colour. Making the background transparent was useless because I was using a black background. Eventually I just changed the theme, and it fixed it.
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PostSubject: Re: Blog Design   Mon Sep 05, 2011 12:58 pm

The simpler the design, the better, especially if your character has made the blog solely to elaborate on his encounters with the paranormal. It's always strange to me when I read about some runner, hounded by the Beast with a Thousand Arms, an ephemeral presence lurking at the edges of their vision and sanity slowly chipping away at the resolve in their soul...and the entirely thing is color-coded in a meticulous fashion, with streaming designs that aren't at all reminiscent of the base blog layout on Blogger. In other instances, it makes sense, but in that case, it ruins immersion.
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PostSubject: Re: Blog Design   Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:35 pm

Snore-De-Bliss wrote:
The simpler the design, the better, especially if your character has made the blog solely to elaborate on his encounters with the paranormal. It's always strange to me when I read about some runner, hounded by the Beast with a Thousand Arms, an ephemeral presence lurking at the edges of their vision and sanity slowly chipping away at the resolve in their soul...and the entirely thing is color-coded in a meticulous fashion, with streaming designs that aren't at all reminiscent of the base blog layout on Blogger. In other instances, it makes sense, but in that case, it ruins immersion.
Sure, but Slendy isn't always there. At least in most blogs I've read, there is down time. And if a character wants to take their mind off their situation for a bit by doing something artsy, is that so improbable?
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