Monday, October 21, 2013

Blog Design - How CBL Reviews Developed Over The Last Year


This is a design I did for my own book review blog. My blog has gone through a number of different design looks. But I've finally settled (I think). It's a lot harder to create something for yourself than it is for someone else. So it took me a lot longer to decide on what I'd be happy with for at least a couple of months than what it takes me to create something for someone else.

I thought that while I'm sharing or at least talking about the design of cbl reviews, I'd actually show you how it all developed and became more of a brand rather than just a name of a blog. 

I started my blog with the design below. At the time, I really had just created it so I needed some design. I don't like plain and boring so the standard blog templates that blogger offered wouldn't do for me at all. Not even while at the time, I really just started a blog to blog about books for me. There was no direction or planning to go anywhere major with it. But still. Even if I was the only one viewing my blog, I wanted it to look as if I took the trouble to make it special.


Well, then the above design lasted for about a week, before I played around and went this way

Then another week later I didn't want it anymore. I didn't want a gimmicky design and also, I'd just gotten my first Kindle and the whole earth look of the packaging really appealed to me, so I went this way:

Again a few days or weeks (I'm not entirely sure how long), I was once again bored with the concept. But I was torn. Because on the one hand I did like it but on the other, I wanted to create a design that held something that was more of a branding or brand rather than just a circle or banner with text. So with keeping the above design concept that I really did like (a lot) - I decided to bring in an icon. And that's how the little coffee cup icon was born. I didn't know if I wanted plain or busier, so essentially I did two different concepts. I had each of the below on my blog for a few days just to see how I felt about it over a period of time rather than at the moment of conception.

AND THEN... (Lol) I know, like I said, it's a lot harder for me to create something for myself than it is for someone else.

I didn't know what I wanted but as my blog grew, I wanted to grow the design. So with that, the colored stripes came into the picture. This helped anchor the branding of my website. I kept the original coffee cup icon, added a pretty frame to it and along came the CBL acronym I currently still use for Coffee, Books & Lipgloss.

Now to me my design was good. I liked the concept. It began to get noticed. That's what I wanted. I was happy for a long long time with every aspect of the branding of my website. But then I changed. My tastes went from bright and bold to more of a watered down color palette. I furthermore wanted to add depth to the look of my actual logo. Since at this time my site was really, really picking up with traffic and readership, I knew that if I wanted to make a change... it would have to be now! I couldn't wait because I didn't want to make major changes that those who already knew my site, would get lost and think they've stumbled on the wrong site. So keeping my original concept above, I tweaked my concept to suit a more adult readership.

This has only subtly changed over the last few months. I took out the salmon and kept with the blue. This was because now I had CBL Book Tours, CBL Digest, CBL Book Blog & CBL Reviews and my newest CBL Kids. (Which actually is the only one that doesn't really fit perfectly into my across platform design, but since it was a kiddies site, I went with kiddies design) Anyway, So I went with a specific color pallets for each of my branded sites, while keeping them similar, instead of coming up with new design concepts entirely for each. So this way all my sites actually look like part of my cbl site family :) Below is my across sites branding in case you don't know it or haven't seen it all.

And about a month (or two) ago, I completed my (hopefully for a while) newest layout and design for CBL Reviews. I kept everything that I loved, the brand, but I went with the new flat design instead so that my site is up-to-date with the latest design standards.

And that's how it all grew into something, How I got there and where my design is at right now. :)

You can visit CBL REVIEWS to see a more detailed version of my design.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

See My Online Portfolio

Websites / Blogs

CBL Reviews
CBL Book Tours
CBL Digest
CBL Book Blog
CBL Kids Book Blog
The Rendier Initiative
CBL Designs

Other Designs I've done. But it's impossible for me to add everything I've ever created. I design at least one graphic a day, other days much much more. I've also had about three laptops since I started designing, which was roughly 10 or so years again. I no longer have the raw files for everything. I also save over 'old' files eventually if I need to so I don't normally keep older files. But I do have a ton more to add and I'll add them as I get a chance but for now, here's a few you can view :) - [Click To Enlarge]

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