I have spent the last few days working with my wife to redesign her blog, My Home Truths. This mostly involved Kirsty waving her hand in some vague fashion and my deciphering what she meant, but we eventually drilled down to a design that she was happy with and I was satisfied was effective!
I have built enough WordPress blogs and customised enough themes to be pretty confident and Kirsty trusted me enough to take a chance on some design elements that, at first, she was not that sure about. It doesn’t hurt that over the years I have picked up enough Photoshop and HTML skills to assist in our design heavy-lifting, too!
We started with Kirsty picking a theme that she liked the basic bones of (Hueman – the same theme I use!) and we had a back-and-forth where we tried to really drill down on what her blog was about. Kirsty has been blogging for three years now and has done this exercise before, but it is always helpful to step back and reassess what you are doing. We talked about which parts of her blog Kirsty really wanted to draw attention to, what she felt was her most valuable content and the things she planned to work on in the future. With a clear intent and a good understanding of your voice and / or brand you can then begin to explore how those concepts will become manifest in layout, colour scheme and other design elements.
We also spent a long time talking about colours, fonts and general placement of pieces. While the current trend is to go for very clean, white sites, Kirsty opted for something a little more unique with strong, distinctive colours that will hopefully help to set her brand apart.
Kirsty liked the so-retro-they’re-new pastel colours and we started by looking at classic pastel blues, yellows, pinks and greens but, combined with the square site elements, the overall effect was very masculine. In the end we opted for a more feminine pastel palette of pinks, purples and teals, with ribbon-like buttons and a handwriting font that softened the overall look and feel. We are really quite pleased with the palette, which is actually based on My Little Pony colours! We hinted at Kirsty’s previous blog design through the use of the deep purple accent colour that was previously a big heavy site header. This purple is used in the header of one sidebar, in the main navigation menu, and as the border for a variety of buttons.
Redesigning the blog meant that a lot of Kirsty’s buttons, logos and general site branding was no longer in keeping with the new look and feel, so I also knocked up some new buttons for her to use. Kirsty’s previous design used a bear as an icon that tied with the way she discussed our kids, but she wanted to move away from that. This time we opted not for a logo, but to utilise the site colours to help build her overall brand “look”. The “My Home Truths” button was straight forward and we love the “I Must Confess” button for her weekly confession linkup, which has real punch with huge bold lettering! We also took this opportunity to create a custom FaceBook cover image and profile picture. Although each of these elements uses different fonts and / or colour combinations we have managed to keep a consistent feel to all of them.
You can check out Kirsty’s new blog design at MyHomeTruths.com .