by Tori Bowman of That Pair of Crutches. Tori contributes bi-weekly with blogging advice. See her others posts here. See her amazing giveaway after the jump (you can win a blog redesign!)
We've talked a lot about simple ways to improve the look of your blog, but when you don't have design training or knowledge of coding, there's only so much you can do. If you really want to take your design to the next level, chances are, you're going to have to hire a designer.
Scared? Don't be. It can be a bit scary to hand your blog over to someone else, but here are a few tips to help you through it.
1. Know what you want. Before you turn your vision over to someone else, make sure it's clear to you. It's important to know the feel you want your brand to portray, and to know exactly what your budget and timeline are. You also need to nail down details like what you can live without if they don't fit within your budget. What are your non-negotiable items?
Once you've nailed down those terms, start to work on the feel. Do you want your readers to think of their grandma's kitchen when they see your brand? Or their cool older sister? Create a Pinterest board and figure out the emotions and imagery that you want people to associate with your brand.
2. Be open to different options. I know, I know... You spent all that time figuring out exactly what you want and now you need to be open to other ideas? But hear me out: you are handing your idea of what your brand should be over to a someone who creates brands for a living. They know what they're doing and they are going to do all that they can to create the brand that fits you perfectly. While it's great to have a "feel" nailed down for your blog, don't be too rigid on specifics like, "It has to have a banner," or "Polka dots or bust." Keep an open mind and give your designer room to create something amazing. You hired them for a reason.
3. Speak up!That being said... If you don't love it, tell them! And tell them right away. Don't wait until three proofs in to tell them that you actually hate the mark they've created for your brand. They won't be offended, I promise. Be very specific about what you do and don't like. Knowing what what is working for you is just as important as knowing what isn't. Remember that you're creating a brand that will define everything you do and that you're creating something that will last. Things like that take time and deserve effort.
4. Listen and obey. Ok, you've got your brand. Your mark in three different colors and the two fonts you were told to stick to, no matter what. Your designer has outlined how all of the elements should be used and made sure you understood how they should not be used, ever. Now listen! Trust them! It will keep your brand looking cohesive and keep you looking like you know what you're doing. You will not regret it.
So there you have it. How to be the perfect design client and get exactly what you want. Everyone wins.
Thank you Tori for the great info. Sometimes the process can be rough, so hopefully, this helps you.
With that in mind, Tori, a graphic designer, is offering a blog redesign giveaway today and I'm already so jealous of the winner. The winner of this giveaway will receive a custom header, favicon (the small square image on the tab of your browser), social media buttons and sidebar headers, and minor adjustments to the theme code.
To enter: Visit Tori's blog, That Pair of Crutches, "like" That Pair of Crutches on Facebook or Twitter
Good luck everyone!
The giveaway ends Thursday, February 28th.
Picture from A Proper Pinwheel