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Starting a blog can be an exciting endeavor. You not only have a place to share your stories and information but you also have a chance to show off your artistic chops. Creative writing is one thing but choosing colors and design elements for your blog is a whole different kind of creativity.
For some people, this may be the most terrifying aspect of blogging. For them coming up with blog posts and content may come naturally but deciding on colors, themes and fonts can be crippling. But those of us that love the artsy-fartsy creative side, choosing those items can be intoxicating. (And remember the word intoxicating for later.)
This series is written with the former in mind. Those who may not consider themselves artsy or artistically creative. I want to give you some pointers and/or ideas that you can use to empower your artistically anemic self. These pointers will not only help you find resources to use when designing your blog but offer suggestions when it comes to the crucial design elements like colors and fonts.
For reference, I will be making most of my suggestions based on the assumption you’re using the WordPress dot org platform. It’s not necessarily crucial since platforms like Blogger and WordPress dot com allow you to change some design aspects but you are definitely more limited. Also, the design freedom you have is largely dependent on your blog’s theme. I’ve discussed the pros and cons of using a purchased theme and why it’s typically better than a free theme and you can read more about that here. I will always suggest purchasing a theme that allows personalization.
So to start this conversation off correctly you need to make sure you have your theme chosen and/or purchased. I will not be going over the directions on how to install a theme. We’re going to discuss how you can fine-tune it to suit your blog’s personality in this post. And that’s the first thing we need to do, find your blog’s personality. For instance, do you talk about super serious issues on your blog or is it more lighthearted and playful? A blog that focuses on crafting shouldn’t look more rigid and stiff than one that talks about taxes and other legal issues. Not that those can’t be fun but if the site is frou-frou or childlike would you really take it seriously. So ask yourself, “Does my blog design compliment the subjects I discuss?”
The first part of this series will focus on color. Keep in mind there is no right or wrong choice or rule to follow but there are some ways to make sure your blog appears cohesive and sensible.
Color is a very powerful tool. It’s closely related to emotion which resonates with many readers. While you can not control what emotion people associate with a particular color with 100% certainty you can choose colors that presumably evoke certain feelings overall. For instance, blue is widely considered a calming, serene color while yellow is an attention-getter. But blue is also associated with sadness while yellow is related to energy and frustration. You can see that there is a lot involved in how colors affect us which makes choosing your website colors even more important.
But how do you know which emotions correlate to each color family? Here are some good articles that will give you that information. “Color Psychology: Does It Affect How You Feel?“, “Color Psychology: The Emotional Effects of Colors” and “How Colors Affect Human Behavior“. This will help you get started on a basic color plan. Once you get a basic idea of the kind of colors related to your subject genre you can start fine-tuning the whole palette.
So where can you find color palettes to start narrowing down your choices? A great place to start is Canva’s blog. You can find lots of beautiful palettes by typing color palettes canva into your search bar or click here to be taken there. Or you can go here to see some of their palettes in a different way. Here are some other websites that take the guesswork out of choosing a color palette:
Choose a couple of palettes you like and bookmark the page or make a note of the Hex Codes or Decimal Codes (RGB numbers) because you’ll need these later.
Now it’s quite possible that you may find a palette that you’re very happy with. That’s great! There should be 4 or 5 colors that you like together and that will work well on your site. But what if you only like 3 of the 5 colors? Or, you like 2 colors on one palette, 1 on another and 4 on a third. Here’s where you’re going to use your code numbers. We’re going to use a color palette generator tool to fine-tune your colors.
A color palette generator is used to show how colors you choose look together. Here’s where you can take 1 color from one palette and add it to 2 others you like from a different one. Or try 3 from one, 1 from another and 1 more from a third palette. The possibilities are almost endless! Because of those endless possibilities, you may end up feeling color drunk. Remember I said it felt intoxicating? This is the downside where you may get stuck trying one color after another while getting no closer to pinning down the perfect palette. It’s color overload.
Let me just say that I’ve been there! And here’s what you need to do to overcome that problem. Choose the one color you feel drawn to. For me it’s the color that started it all for me. #cfecec I generically call it, Light Blue even though in reality the blue and green values are equal. This is the color I built my palette around. I consider my blog pretty lighthearted so I wanted to use colors that felt friendly and inviting. Comfy and homey. And it didn’t happen overnight. I set up my blog and published it and later decided to fine-tune the complimentary colors. I tweaked them for days until I was satisfied and even now there is one color I’m constantly thinking about changing.
What’s great to know is that you’re not stuck with these colors forever. You can change them whenever you want. But keep in mind that when you do you may be veering away from branding you’ve already been using. People who visit your blog religiously may be put off by the constant changes to the color scheme. So, while yes choosing your colors is a huge decision, don’t let it overwhelm you. Ask family and friends for there thoughts but more importantly go with your gut.
It’s important that you like your colors!
And with that, I want to add that it’s important that you like your colors! It sounds so simple but you’ll be looking at them every time you’re on your blog. Make sure you don’t mind seeing these colors every day. If you don’t want to look at them every day why would anyone else want to?
My last point on choosing blog colors is this, check your colors on multiple devices. Colors show up very differently on my laptop and cellphone. I used both devices to look at palettes and when using the color palette generator tool, too. I made sure that I liked my colors on both then checked my site on my daughter’s phone to see how it looked.
Hopefully these tips will help you find the perfect color scheme for your website. In the second part of this series we’ll take a look at choosing fonts for your blog.