Blog Design Tips and Tricks from a Designer

A couple of years ago, I fell madly in girl-crush with a blogger and graphic designer named Tabi D. We met through a blogging network or blog hop of some form, a million years ago, and became fast friends. The Vagabond Studio logo ^^ up there (and stamped on all my Etsy products)? Tabi read my mind and popped off with that. She’s awesome. And, today, she’s here to tell you quick and awesome ways to be awesome, too. SO, here’s Tabi!

Make Your Blog Look Fantastic

If you have a blog and you are a DIY-er, you’ve got to be a graphic designer, website builder and writer all wrapped up in one adorable creative package. I’ll be honest; I got into blogging when my brain started screaming for a creative outlet. I’m not a writer, which is in contrast to what most bloggers get into blogging for – writing.  I felt completely at peace creating my own blog and making it look fantastic… and the anxiety sets in for me when it comes to actually writing words on the page.

I’m here with a few tips for those of you at the other end of the spectrum, those of you who are blogging to spread your vast knowledge and maybe struggle a little with your graphics, your logo or the layout of the medium you choose to deliver your knowledge, your blog (Although many of these principles can absolutely be applied to a newsletter, postcard, etc.)

Eye Trail

Eye-Trail

 

When you look at a page, where does your eye get drawn to first? Then, where do you naturally look on from there? It should make sense, and lead your readers directly to your message.

In general, the first thing that the eye should be drawn to on a blog is your logo or your header. This is who you are. This should be top and center and in good contrast to stand out above the rest of the content on your page.

Now that your readers know who you are, what do you want them to check out next? Try to keep this principle in mind when creating your page and laying out your posts.

TIP: If you have an image next to text, make sure the person or object is facing towards the text and not away from it. A person or item facing a direction organically directs our eye to what they are facing.

About that Logo

 Logo design samples

Your logo is you, so make sure it’s awesome. When creating your logo, start with sketches, just free flow your ideas onto the paper straight from your brain to the paper. When you have a good idea of how you want it to look, digitize.

A few pointers:

  • DON’T use more than 2 fonts. (Unless you’re bohemian – which is A-okay in my book).

  • DO mix it up! Eclectic = Interesting

  • DO use complementary colors in your scheme. Keep the scheme consistent throughout your site. (I like these tools: http://colorschemedesigner.com, http://www.colourlovers.com)
    TIP: Once you pick your color scheme, write down the RGB Values and Hex Codes for easy reference!

  • A good way to connect your logo to the rest of the page design is to use the same logo font as your header font. Or maybe take an element out of the logo and repeat it as a custom bullet in your articles or graphic element to your images.

  • DON’T always follow the rules; they are made to be broken. So whatever ‘design rules’ you think you have to follow, just remember they don’t apply in every situation.

Sometimes letting a professional create your logo is the best option for you. In my opinion, logos aren’t something you want to feel ‘okay’ about – I want you to feel ‘ecstatic’ about your logo.

Your Photos

Photo editing sample

 

Those photos you post in your article just might make or break the readers’ decision to stay and read or to move on to the next pretty Internet thingy. Make them interesting.

I’ve found my best photos are snapped candidly. If something grabs your eye as gorgeous, thought provoking, ridiculously cute, or interesting – find your iPhone and take a picture! I have a small point and shoot digital camera I keep in my purse at all times for just this scenario.

TIP: Turn OFF the flash.

In my opinion, a little grainy and underexposed is a billion times nicer than overexposed, skin glowing glare from our crappy phone camera (and point and shoot) flashes. Of course, sometimes flashes are necessary, but 97% of my photos are taken sans-flash.

Got the perfect photo & want to make it more awesome? I don’t have to tell you there are tons of apps for that. My favorite filter app is VSCO Cam , also: Instagram. Maybe add a shape border, or insert a few photos into a collage. If you’ve never met PicMonkey, head over there and introduce yourself. You’ll be glad you did – lots of fun things to jazz up those images, and… FREE!

I hope these tips help you out! I post morsels of design information on my blog from time to time. Stop by sometime!

                          Tabi Deneweth    Hey there! I’m Tabi and I am a freelance graphic designer. My backstory: I went to design school years ago & have been in the graphics industry since the turn of the century (year 2000). I have worked in a wide variety of the many spectrums in the industry, from the production end to marketing to art director-ing. I gave up my window office 6 years ago to start a family and am now back at it – on my own terms as a freelance designer. Need help with your graphics? Come check me out (http://tabideesigns.com) and drop me a line (tabi@tabideesigns.com)!

 

It’s a Happy Handmade Birthday Giveaway!!!

Welcome to the Happy Handmade Birthday Giveaway Event sponsored by Homespun Aesthetic, The Vagabond Studio, Eight Days a Week, and Crunchy Farm Baby! In celebration of the lovely Kassandra from Homespun Aesthetic, we have brought together some wonderful artisans to bring you a super fun giveaway event featuring all things handmade and beautiful! This event will run from February 21 to March 2, 2014, and is featured here on Crunchy Farm Baby and several other awesome blogs!

Up for grabs in this awesome giveaway event are the following items:

This set of redline marble earrings from Homespun Aesthetic.
Redline Marble Stone Teardrop Earrings
Custom bracelet from The Vagabond Studio.
Hand-Stamped Personalized Bracelet
Personalized library tote from Crunchy Farm Baby.
Personalized Child's Library Tote Bag - With Library Card HolderCustom Beach writing digital print from Sandyscripts.

Women’s earwarmer and men’s striped beanie from Two Brothers Blankets.
Ear Warmer with Buttons
Natural skin care gift set from The Hippy Homemaker.
Natural Skin Care Gift Set- Cleansing Grains, Toner, Moisturizing Serum, & Herbal Clay Mask - Eco Friendly packaging
Slouchy women’s beanie and kids warmies (baby legs) from Earth Mother Moon Baby
hat
AND a of a kind embroidered cloth diaper from Binky D Diapers.
handmade giveaway binkyd

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ancestry DNA Testing

This time last year, VagabondHusband and I spent and entire weekend, without sleep, ‘discovering’ our family tree through one of those ancestry websites. It was fun, though challenging! We found out a few things we didn’t know, and connected to a lot of people we didn’t expect. The problem with those websites, though, is that much of it is dependent upon information gathered from other people. At one point, VagabondHusband’s tree linked to Adam and Eve. And Noah. Yes, seriously. We talked then, and recently, about finding something more accurate to discover our roots, and maybe end the constant teasing/bickering over whether we’re Scottish, Irish, or English. ♥ Then, I learned about this, and decided that a guestpost for my readers was in order!



Ancestry DNA testing for Ancient Origins


For those wishing to discover more about the ancestral roots, ancestry DNA testing is one of the most
interesting ways to find out. Moreover, ancestry DNA testing makes it even possible for you to trace
your maternal roots or paternal roots thereby accumulating more comprehensive information in your
quest to discover your origins.

Your ancient origins are etched in your DNA

Ancestry DNA testing can help you find out more about your origins. If you wonder whether your roots
are actually African American or eastern European, then this test is definitely the way of finding out.
Ancestry tests typically link your DNA with specific geographical regions or areas around the world.
This means that you will easily visualize where your ancestors came from. Further to this, ancestry
tests can also track migration patterns and thus, show you where your ancestors came from and where
they went. The better providers of ancestry testing services have access to a vast database of genetic
information belonging to different ancestral groups. They will take your DNA and link it to that of the
ancestral groups in their database to see if there really is a match between your DNA and that of eastern
European, indo American or any other of the many groups known. Ancestry tests provide detailed
results with descriptions of the anthropological roots from which you originate maps and images. They
also make very popular presents.

Maternal Ancestry testing

Anthropologists believe that there is a single maternal lineage from which all females originate from.
They refer to this single maternal lineage as a “mitochondrial eve”. The word mitochondrial refers to
a specific type of DNA known as mitochondrial DNA that is passed on from a mother to both her male
and female children, but is never passed on by males. Mitochondrial DNA has a very low mutation rate,
which means that the same mitochondrial blueprint can be traced back hundreds of years. Via analysis
of this specific DNA, scientists can determine where your maternal ancestors came from, helping you
trace your maternal roots and link yourself to specific geographical regions.

Male lineage or paternal lineage testing

Paternal lineage testing can help you locate your ancient forefather: where did they come from? Who
where they? Our paternity origins are etched in your DNA- specifically in the Y chromosome. But wait
a second- whilst males have 23 pairs of XY chromosomes, females on have 23 pairs of XX. Given the
absence of the Y chromosome in females, it is clear that they cannot directly trace their paternal origins.
However, they can simply ask a blood male relative to do the test on their behalf (perhaps a brother
or an uncle). Paternity lineage testing, in much the same way as maternal lineage will link you DNA to
specific studied paternal groups and geographical regions.