Using A Mood Board For My Blog Redesign – And Six Top Tips From Kelly Exeter

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What’s a mood board???

Until three months ago, I had no idea at all…. but I’m learning.

Mood boards are a big part of the design and photography course I’m studying, and I’d done one as part of the creative process of planning a photo shoot.

So when it came to making a new design for this blog, I thought I’d give a mood board a bash. The aim being to give it to graphic designer Kelly Exeter of Swish Designs.

In the past, I’d felt so clumsy when planning the look of a blog. It was hard to know what I wanted myself, far less to brief a designer. This sort of thing felt really unnatural and awkward… that’s why I’m doing the course I’m doing, to upskill.

Anyway, here’s the mood board I sent to Kelly, and below it are some thoughts that Kelly has offered to anyone thinking of designing a blog or doing a makeover.

(NB If I was doing this mood board again I would use a different font completely. Have a look at Butterwick’s Practical Typography.)

Blog Mood Board

——————
Blog Mood Board2 Blog Mood Board3 Blog Mood Board4 Blog Mood Board5 Blog Mood Board6

That’s it, just five pages done excruciatingly slowly using InDesign, but you could easily do this in Word or Powerpoint.

Later on, I asked Kelly to have a wee think and come up with her top tips for bloggers planning either a new blog design or a revamp of their blog.

Here are her tips.

Six Top Tips on Blog Design From Kelly Exeter

1. Create a mood board

Rather than just saying ‘I like this website,’ which is what everyone tends to do, do as Seana has done with her mood board and say: ‘I like this website because of this and this’ and/or ‘I like this particular element on this website.’ This is immeasurably helpful for your designer!

2. Home Page

The inside pages of pretty much all blogs are going to have a fairly standard layout:

Header > Nav > Content/Sidebar > Footer.

So it’s the home page that all the thought needs to go into – especially given the current trend towards ‘magazine style’ home pages.

You can really help your designer out in this regard by finding a website with a home page layout that is similar to the one you’d like to have. Sometimes that home page layout is the result of a custom design (like this one) in which case – you’ll also need a custom design (expensive) to make it happen.

More often than not however, the blog you like will be built on an ‘out-of-the-box’ theme your designer will be able to purchase and customise for you (much cheaper than a custom theme!)

3. Fonts

There are a billion fonts out there and they are highly personal things. So asking your designer to choose the fonts for your website is like asking them to choose your engagement ring. Impossible!

Once again, if you see a website out there with a font combination you like, point your designer to that website. You can also visit Google Fonts and select fonts from there. Oswald and Raleway are currently quite popular fonts for headings while Roboto, Lora and Open Sans are popular body fonts.

A personal favourite combination of mine at the moment is Lato for headings and navigation; Lora for body text.

4. Colours

This is the same as fonts – it’s impossible for your designer to choose the colour scheme of your website for you. So again – either point them towards a website with a colour scheme you like or go to a website like Design Seeds and choose a colour palette you like.

5. Background

When it comes to backgrounds, keep it simple. In my mind you have two choices:

  1. Go white. White is clean and classic and will never go out of fashion. Especially when it comes to reading on the internet.
  2. Go with a simple light coloured background (like right here at http://www.hellosydneykids.com.au/), or light striped background. This can have the effect of framing/defining the website content area if you feel your website is ‘floating’ in all the white.

If, however, you have your heart set on a wild and funky background, I beg you to please let your designer talk you out of it.

Remember – your background should not distract from the important stuff on your site – the content.

6. Header

This is the bit of your site that tells new visitors what your blog is all about (for instance Seana’s header makes it pretty clear – this is a site about ‘Sydney, Kids, Food and Travel’.) Your header area also brands your site – so make sure any imagery or logos you use are in keeping with the way you want people to feel when they visit your site.

Kelly's bloh

And here’s Kelly’s own blog design. I can really see what she means about ‘the way you want people to feel’ as Kelly’s header always makes me feel calm.

For great tips on how to make mood boards, read this post.

Hope this is helpful to you at some stage in the future.

I wish I’d read it myself about six weeks ago!

Hope you’ve had a happy week and that the weekend ahead is full of fresh air and fun.

Take it easy

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Posted on: May 29, 2014

12 Comments

  • Reply May 30, 2014

    Gourmet Getaways

    Great tips, nice work, excellent learning! Keep it up, Seana! You rock!!!

    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

    • Reply May 31, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Thank you! It’s good to share the lessons learned… and for me to see that I am developing in this area… was very remedial at the start. So much to learn in life. I’m totally putting developing this blog on hold until I finish this course, think it’ll be easier that way and am less likely to suffer from a severe brain explosion.

  • Reply May 30, 2014

    Robyn

    Such great tips Seana! I am in the middle if my getting my design done too and I totally get how you felt awkward and clumpsy trying to explain what you want. That’s was me too!! I’d love to send you my draft for your thoughts?? X

    • Reply May 31, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Yes very happy to have a look. Lets get together soon too… fancy a cuppa this week??

  • Reply May 30, 2014

    Holly Nelson

    This is fab! I have just started to redesign my blog. I have not used much white space, though and I am wondering if that is a mistake?

    • Reply May 31, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Well, I felt mine was far too cluttered especially on the sidebars. Maybe it’s too minimalist now, but it feels better to me. Overall, if a blog has lots of photos, I think it needs white space too, that’s my preference.

  • Reply May 30, 2014

    Carla

    Some great tips here, I’ve just finished my blog redesign. It was an exhausting process, but I’m both pleased and relieved with the result. It can be so hard choosing a style to go with, I’m one of those people who like lots of different styles and colours.
    Wishing you luck for yours, should look amazing, love all the colours in your mood board
    Carla x

    • Reply May 31, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Thanks Carla, I should have written that I found great colours via Pinterest, it was easy looking there, but Kelly has given a link too.

  • Reply May 30, 2014

    Rosslyn

    Hi Seana, I came about your blog and thought you might be interested in our digital mood board creator program called Sampleboard.com. It’s really simple to use and you can import images via Pinterest or clip any image off the web. A lot of interior designers, wedding planners and other creatives use the program for client presentations. Would love you to give it a try and let me know what you think?
    Have a pretty weekend!
    Warm regards, Rosslyn

  • Reply May 31, 2014

    Lisa

    Hi Seana, I just discovered your blog. I enjoyed this post! I hadn’t thought of using a mood board for my blog design. I need to tweak it soon and I’ve completely stuffed up the code somewhere in respect of larger screens. Sigh. I’ll talk to someone who knows what they’re doing – the mood board suggestion should come in handy!

  • Reply May 31, 2014

    Emily

    This is awesome!!! I got Kelly to help redesign my blog too – isn’t she worth bottling?? LOVE LOVE LOVE the new look – it’s very you! I want a logo for my header and just have to come up with the funds to pay for it! Em xxx

  • Oooh I thought I saw a familiar old ‘face’ in here! (my previous blog design) thanks for including it here! 🙂 I agree I gravitate towards colours of the ocean too. Great mood board you have , definitely helpful in working towards a blog re-design or concept. It can be hard to know where or what to start with. Looking for ideas is one thing, but organising them is another equally important thing

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