Professional Blog Design Tips for Beginners

Only the owner of the blog determines how the blog will look like – be it a simple theme with a few widgets or a complicated design that follows the main principles of blog appearance and stands out of the crowd.

If you take your blog seriously, you can use these ace-level blog design tips collected be designers through years of working with blogs

  1. The design should be goal-driven. Everything you see in your blog should impel visitors to call to action, everything else is not so important here. How to achieve that? Use visual hierarchy. Take an advantage of headlines that call to action placed in the places on the webpage that people see the most (for example, top of sidebar).
  2. Choose fonts wisely. Take into consideration that it is better to use 3 fonts maximum – for headlines, for logo and for body content.
  3. Well-thought-out color scheme. There is no need to use many colors – 3 is optimal. One main color, one shade and one color for call to action.
  4. Colors in the scheme should be matching. Obvious thing, however, many bloggers neglect it. You can use ColorSchemeGenerator.com to find colors that supplement each other.
  5. Use gradients, shadows and textures mildly.
  6. Make the design life-like. All gradients and shadows should have the same light angle.
  7. Leave space between elements. Of course, it is necessary to use padding and margins, however, it is also necessary to get rid of everything distracting, that has nothing in common with your goal.
  8. Use borders. Simple 1-pixel border will make the difference cleaning your design.
  9. All section, part and text block should be lined up.
  10. Use subheads. This tip is especially useful if you have an intention to create a series of thoughts. Subhead hierarchy simplifies the navigation.
  11. Use CSS. If your website has a lot of background areas, images etc., then the loading time will be prolonged. To avoid that use CSS for creation of borders, frames, text and box shadows, transitions, animations etc.
  12. To fasten the loading time use small repeating background images
  13. Call of action should be the same throughout the whole blog

 

The Best Design Blogs of 2015

This list of the design blogs will be a perfect source of inspiration for those who are in search for inspiration and want to keep track of all trends and innovations

  1. bench.li – It is a perfect source of inspiration that contains thousands of ideas.
  2. httpster – This is a collection of the best web design ideas that show you how to add a twist to good idea to make it great.
  3. SiteInspire – The editors of this blog handpick the best web design examples, putting the emphasis on clear and simple sites. And there is a possibility to share your own design to the evaluation of others.
  4. Eye On Design – This blog belongs to the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and shows works of the best designers all over the world.
  5. Typewolf – Here it is possible to find a selection of fonts appropriate for any project.
  6. Grafik – This is a place where you can find all sorts of graphic design and inspire.
  7. Line25 – Here is a list of the best web design blogs that is updated every week.
  8. Design Of The World – This blog belongs to the Josephmark and here it is possible to find the most well-thought-out and thoughtful designs worldwide.
  9. Mr Cup – The author of the blog, from French graphic designer Fabien Barral, collects the best examples of web design.
  10. Web Designer Depot – Experts’ insights, relevant findings, techniques and advice are stores here.
  11. Web Field Manual – Here you will find a list of the best helpful tools and resources for web designers.
  12. Designspiration – A new way to get inspired – search for inspiration by keywords or colors.
  13. It’s Nice That – This blog has many sections dedicated to all trends and methods of graphic design.
  14. This Is Collate – This blog is a perfect source of inspiration as nothing draws attention from the images.
  15. This Is Colossal – This blog covers of streams of visual design – from painting to street art.
  16. Design Everywhere – This blog is updated every day by Singapore graphic designer Preston Tham.

How to Make Your Web Design Responsive?

With the growing influence of handheld devices, responsive web design becomes a must in the sphere of website development. It saves a lot of time and money and guarantees perfect user experience – that is exactly what all users are searching for.

Here is a list of tools for creation of responsive web design:

  • Layout, Wireframes and Prototyping
  • The process of creation of the website usually starts with sketching

Responsive Wireframes

This tool created by James Mellers for Adobe shows the influence of responsive elements in the typical layouts. Also it helps to find out what areas are the most important in the interacting between different devices. This tool has a variety of mockups for homepage, entry, product details and comparison pages. Also here you will be able to check how your mockup will act on different platforms and various devices.

Multi-Device Layout Patterns

Here you will find a categorization of the mobile-responsive designs and layouts and will see how they work.

Wirefy

Is a must-have for designers who value content. It is a tool for structuring the content using that fully-functional wireframes. Knowledge of HTML and CSS is a must for using the Wirefy.

CSS and Fluid Grids

  • Style Tiles
  • This tool proposes a possibility to create a style of the web that both designer and client will like.
  • Bootstrap simplifies prototyping greatly with help of Customize feature. just choose the elements and get a finished version of your website will all CSS, plugins and other tools.
  • Gridset creates different layouts that can be shared with colleagues.
  • Adobe Edge Reflow is a new incomplete tool from Adobe that will create responsive layouts, grid systems, media queries

Responsive Graphics, Fonts and Videos

  • Adaptive Images checks the size and orientation of the screen and automatically rescales the images according to it.
  • Retina Images helps to display hi-res images, showing only one image at a time. As e result, the server has no excess load time and the tool automatically changes your image once you have set the height and width attributes.
  • Blueberry is an image slider that works with mobile-responsive designs.
  • And don’t forget to test, test and test your websites to check their work in different platforms.

How to Befriend Web Designers and Developers?

Creative and well-thought-out development and design are the two essentials of success of the website. However, without cooperation and mutual understanding between developers and designers the process of creation of the website can become a nightmare. Here you will find great tips and tools that will help you to succeed in creation of the site.

  1. Get acquainted with the basics. Any designer and developer should know the basis not only of their craft, but also HTML, CSS and Photoshop. Surfing through the Internet it is possible to find useful lessons that cover the basics of these disciplines.
  2. Gather the font library that you will use afterwards when creating sites. For example, you can use DaFont resource to keep track of all fonts used in the development and designing.
  3. Use simple tools, for example, Limpsum to generate fake placeholder texts or images for the designs.
  4. Use ideas of other designers – we mean, not actually steal the ideas of others, but look through them and take the bits there and there to create something new and great. For example, you can use Snipt to search for code snippets. Look through the examples of great designs through the Internet.
  5. Enhance your Photoshop by adding necessary tools, brushes, shapes and so on.
  6. Use CSS code generator to create complex CSS code. Consider using the CSS3 Generator, the CSS3 Maker, and the CSS3 Border Radius Generator.
  7. Stop spending tons of money on resources, start using free ones – you can use free images, backgrounds, icons, and more at places like Design Kindle, and PSD Collector.
  8. Use programming-friendly text editor, that will hit the spot of all your needs.
  9. Always check the work of your site on different screens, browsers and devices
  10. Use frameworks for creation of the website, as with its help you will simplify and fasten the process greatly. For example, you can use Blueprint, Ruby on Rails, Zend and CakePHP or Django.

How to Create Affecting Graphics?

There is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on your graphic toolkit, as there are dozens of free online tools that make the same job and you get impressive results. Graphics are essential for the success of your website as it helps to bring your message to your customers.

Here is a handpicked list of free useful tools for creation of infographics, graphics, memes and GIFs.

  1. Canva is an online photo editor that proposes a set of options for creation of great visual content. Just sign in and you will get access to multiple free layouts and tools. Here it is possible to upload and change your photo using the tools proposed by Canva.
  2. BeFunky is another online photo editor that is able to help you to create perfect images. You even do not need to sign up to use the editing tools of the editor.
  3. PicMonkey is one of the most enhanced online photo editing and creating tools. There is also a Royale version of the editor that proposes a bunch of extra effects and tools.
  4. Fotor requires the sign up and it worth it, mark our words. With its help you will be able to edit all kinds of visual content.
  5. Share as Image is a tool that helps to turn any image into a graphic with added text, filter and texture. Used free images will contain a watermark. Premium package ($8 per month) of the tool removes the watermarks.
  6. Pixlr allows the users to adjust and fix photos, replace colors, change the shapes of objects and make many other interesting things.
  7. Infogr.am proposes a possibility to import data from Excel to an infographic. You can select more than 30 kinds of graphics and publish completed feature.
  8. Polarr edits uploaded photos using filters, frames, contrast, exposure and many other effective tools.
  9. Piktochart allows choosing layout for the infographics from the vast library, the amount of which depends on the selected package.
  10. WordSwag is an iOS-based tool for creating text designs.
  11. Recite shows you how your text will look like in different designs.
  12. Infoactive creates interactive infographics based on the data taken from Excel.

Your Toolkit for Creation of Cool Websites

Here we have gathered the best free and paid software, websites with free Java scripts, buttons, PHP codes and guidelines that will come in handy when you will decide to create top-notch website.

  • com proposes useful tutorials for beginners and mediums in html, xhtml and data driven websites. Even experts in this sphere will find a lot of interesting stuff here.
  • Dynamic Drive website proposes free original DHTML & Javascripts that will help you to improve the quality of your website. With its help you will be able to make flashy images, scrolling, photo galleries, profound navigation and menus. Developers of the Dynamic Drive website have recently proposed the possibility of creation favicons. (for those who don’t know what is it, favicon is a small image that appears near the link of your website in your browser. All you have to do is to download the logo or a URL of your website and all the rest will be done for you.
  • AAA Button website also proposes free great tools for making cool customized buttons for links. Select the color palette of the future button, summary of words to use and the site will create buttons for you.
  • co.uk is a place where you can solve any problem you have with contact forms of your websites. Fill in the forms of your future contact form of your website and then copy the code into the code of your website.
  • Notepad ++ is a free source code editor and serve as a replacement of the Notepad.
  • Macromedia suite has several tools for designing websites (Dreamwearver), editing and cropping images (Fireworks), making flash images (Flash). Adobe Products propose also many other useful tools for improving the quality of websites, check them.
  • Microsoft Front page Software proposes a demo that you can try out in making of perfect sites.
  • Joomla is a tool of creation of CMS websites. Open source Joomla Content Management Software can be of a great help in the development of tools.
  • Drupal helps to create dynamic websites.

Designer’s Tools and Resources that May Come in Handy

There are loads of helpful stuff for designers, however, some tools require a lot of searching and trying. We have explored and handpicked several tools and resources that would be duly appreciated by designers.

WordPress Themes:

  • X Theme. X Theme’s new page builder Cornerstone is the main reason of the product’s success. It saves time and improves the quality of the final design as well as it has a 100% front and editing capability. Plus you will get access to all other Themeforest WordPress plugins and the support here is unrivaled.
  • The process of working with Enfold is easy as ABC – just import a demo or demos and start building the website. It is a best rated top seller as it allows users to build a website quickly, smoothly and seamlessly.
  • Be Theme. This multipurpose WordPress theme is considered to have the best functionality (40+ features) and the most extensive number of layouts (100+). It has user-friendly interface and intuitive management and that makes Be Theme one of the best choices.

Website Builders

  • XPRS is simply to use and saves a lot of time as it is really easy to work with and doesn’t call for plugins. The cost of the professional package is $250 per year and there is a free version for students and non-profits.
  • This platform proposes an easy and code-free way to create, manage and publish websites. User can manage multiple sites with help of the dashboard feature.

WordPress Page Builders

  • Even producers of the Cornerstone didn’t expect the level of success this page builder had.
  • Themify Flow enables designers to see the progress of page building in the real time. It is free of charge and still you can create unlimited number of page templates.

Project Management and Collaboration Tools

  • Nutcache not only saves and stores things and assists in performing of all common project management tasks. And it works as an online team collaboration aid.
  • Azendoo is a perfect tool for design teams so it enables collaborative approach to the work on the projects.

There are literally hundreds of tools and sources and it is impossible to cover them all in one article. Those all these tools mentioned above are definite must-haves of all designers.