The Blog Critique #02: Speaking To Your Reader With Design

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The Blog Critique | 02

it’s thursday! you know what that means.. another blog critique! once again i’m going to start off by thanking all of ya’ll that have been spreading the word about the blog critique series. i’m glad you guys are enjoying it as much as i am. well, let’s not delay.. let’s get right into this week’s critique.

pilarinmotion.com
healthy lifestyle blog

healthy living blogger, pilar, is slowly approaching her first full year of being about that blogging life having been blogging for eight months now. as she’s reaching her one year mark pilar is curious about ways she could improve her blog herself, as well as raised a few concerns. The top two concerns being her header and navigation and well.. everything else.

if you follow me on twitter you know that i’m a self-proclaimed minimalist aficionado and it seems like pilar wants for her blog to be minimal with a personal touch. yaaasss, that we can do! along with those issues, overall she really just wants to know to “speak” to her audience members in terms of design. well, pilar.. you’ve come to the right place.

the good

in art school, you’ll have critiques for almost every project you do. the point of the critique is to offer constructive criticism and feedback to help you excel as the creative you are. you must first acknowledge the good of the design before offering advice on how one can make it better. so, let’s talk about the good that’s going on with pilarinmotion.com:

+ less is more. when you don’t know what to do with design, doing less is probably the best thing you can actually do. i appreciate that you don’t have my eye competing for where to look first. i can clearly locate your navigation, header, sidebar and content. boom. right to the point.

+ like the header. bold graphic that grabs the eye. the header is pretty cool. a quick, bold graphic that can grab someone’s attention. i will discuss a few things you can do to make it pop a little more in a few.

the concerns

now that i’ve talked about a few things i like about pilaf’s blog, let’s get into some of her concerns and what she can do to fix them.

i’m not sure how to speak to my target reader in terms of design.

when starting any new project, the first thing i like to do after writing down key words.. okay, so maybe it’s the second thing i like to do is create moodboards. moodboards can really guide you into the aesthetic direction you want to go. you pull inspiration from images, colors, typography, patterns.. anything and put it together to create a mood. i’ll will go more into mood boards in another post, but some great examples of kickass moodboards can be viewed here, here, and here. if you have a pinterest, i definitely encourage you to make a secret board and pin images that ‘feel’ like your blog, such as fruits & vegetables, colors you like and type treatments.

since you have a healthy lifestyle i’d imagine you’d use more colors such a greens and ‘citrus’ colors including yellows and oranges. people tend to associate those colors with healthy, organic and such. colors can help dictate the feel of a mood easily. black and whites are chic and usually found on most fashion blogs, where you’ll see more green on healthy blogs.

my header and navigation area concern me.

now as i mentioned, i like your header. the only thing that can be slight confusing is the ‘healthy happy’ being bigger than the actual title of your blog. you’ll definitely want what you want your title to be the prominent thing when first landing on your blog. anything else is secondary.

the solutions

since you didn’t have a lot of concerns, let’s jump into some ways you that you can do to turn your blog up a notch.

+ make sure all your images are the same width as your content. if i’m not mistaking, you’re using the twenty twelve theme.. and if i’m correct then the content width is 625px. your images can be wider than that, but to make for a cleaner, overall look try uploading at least 625px.

+ rearrange your header. i would definitely make pilar in motion, a healthy lifestyle blog more prominent than happy healthy. i’m not mad at the font you used for the happy healthy portion. i’d probably use that typeface for your blog title as well.

The Blog Critique

+ either add categories to your navigation bar or remove it all together. since your navigation bar consist of only two links i would either make buttons and add them to your sidebar or add more categories to your navigation bar to fill it out more.

+ sexy up that sidebar. the maximum width for the twenty twelve sidebar is 250px. so don’t be afraid to make your images — especially your beautiful profile picture at least that size. you can play around with buttons for your topics and/or social links. you can look at the way i treated savvybrown’s sidebar to get an example of just how sexayy you want to go with your sidebar.

The Blog Critique

+ add social networks under your bio. it’s always vital to have your social networks on your landing page.. even if all that can be found on the about page. you’ll probably have the best luck finding free social icons by simply googling things such as ‘minimal free social icons’. there’s a lot of good ones out there or you can always make your own.

+ minor tweaks here and there. small little things that may require a somewhat intermediate level of coding would include removing underlines from links, and changing your link and hover colors. these things are making or breaking your design. this is just me being nit picky. but as you get more advanced, you could make a child theme and make modifications to the theme kinda like what i’ve done with this blog thus far. but we’ll get into child themes and all that down the road.

overall

pilar, you’re headed in an excellent direction with your blog. you have great content and you’re not doing too much where it becomes crazy on the eye. the immediate things you’ll want to address first are definitely rearranging your header, reworking your navigation and maybe adding some social network buttons under your bio. as far as your content goes, just make sure to be consistent with image width like you’ve done with this post for a cleaner look.

in the future, you may want to look into having a child theme made so that you can continue to make your own modifications to your current theme without having to actually modify the twenty twelve theme.

that about wraps it up for this week’s blog critique. pilar, i hope i helped you with some of your issues today and would love to see where you take it from here!

did you learn anything new from this week’s blog critique?

if you would like to submit your blog for critique, please send an email to laura@thenativenewyawker.com with your name, blog URL, type of blog and why you think you need a blog critique.

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  • Pilar H

    Laura,

    Thanks for taking the time to do this. I had never even considered making a child theme. I’m gonna start by making a mood board as soon as I’m back from vacation. I’m stoked for my ‘homework’. You’ve been supa dupa helpful!

    • L.

      I’m glad I could help! Please make sure to share your mood board & your progression with me in the future! Really excited to see where you go with the tips! πŸ™‚

  • Rochelle Sodipo Washington

    Great feedback.

    • L.

      Thank you Rochelle!

  • Ines E.

    nice! i just discovered your blog, and i’m happy, because i need lot of tricks and tips because i want to make a new Blogger template for my blog and i don’t know how to, lol! your blog design is just amazing and minimalistic at the same time! i love that! xo

    Dear Inès

    • L.

      Thank you Ines! The Blog Critique happens every Thursday. Be sure to tune in for more tips & tricks to use for you blog!

  • Wow! I stumbled across your blog through Angel for your “five reasons” blog and happened to come across this critique today. This was really interesting to read and I’m definitely taking some information from this myself! Thanks for doing this series! πŸ™‚

    • L.

      Hey Erika, thanks for stopping by! The series takes place every Thursday & you can always submit your blog for critique as well!

      • Thanks! I have some tweaks I still want to do on my own, but I just may submit mine to this too!!! πŸ™‚