Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tips to a better blog: How to work with a designer and GIVEAWAY!


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  and then leave a comment below telling us your plan for your redesign. 

Good luck everyone!


The giveaway ends Thursday, February 28th.

Picture from A Proper Pinwheel

53 comments:

Tootootoo said...

My little blog is a kinds popular book lovers blog for Greek audience (www.donteverreadme.wordpress.com). I have been considering a redesign for ages now and, although I have no concrete ideas about it, I would like it to be as simple and minimal as possible!

Erin said...

We've wanted to redesign our look for a while now, I just haven't known who to turn to for help! This a great start, and the giveaway would be such a miracle! Thanks for this opportunity :)

Suzanna said...

This is super exciting!

Tia Stockton said...

I am new to the blogosphere (just moved to a new site yesterday!) So at this point I like what I have with what I'm paying (nothing). I will be buying my domain name soon, but after that, the whole world's the stage.

sherri lynn said...

I need a new header and a cleaner, fresher look. Hoping I win!

Susan said...

i've been blogging for almost 8 years now (started with a Xanga blog!!! and eventually moved to wordpress)...and I'm so ready for a new look that screams "me!" with regard to my childrens textiles business. I know what I want, but sadly I have no way of getting there without a designer who can make it happen...would totally LOVE to win this awesome giveaway, thanks for the chance! :)

brittney said...

Part of what’s held me back from a redesign is not making the time… But my plans at this point involve using a mail/letter theme of some kind. I just wasn’t sure how to execute it without being annoyingly kitschy/crowded/skeumorphic.

Babes in Thriftland said...

My blog is about fashion and Minneapolis, so I would love to have a theme that incorporates both. I don't have that many followers so getting a blog redesign seems like such a big step. This would be so fun to win though!

Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips said...

I would love to make my blog a little more eye-appealing and user friendly.

Dewi-marie said...

I got back into blogging maybe 2 or 3 years ago, back in the early 2000s, i was blogging and possibly churning out new site layouts every few months with whatever html I knew and then css came and totally threw me off. id like a site that would represent me and my work, im a hand on person. alot of my work revolves around love and positivity or at least to be able to give someone hope just with color and niceness. so having Tori be able to translate that into something wonderful would be fantastic. :)

LindsayHessPhoto said...

I have been dying to re-do my blog. I want to have a more classic pale pink & black theme to match where my photography is going.

lalaleanna said...

My little corner of the internet is such a sacred space to me and I want it to reflect that to those who see it! I'm thinking clean lines, lots of white space, a clear direction with my colors and fonts, and goodbye to some verrrrry annoying blogger template "quirks" that I have no idea how to change. Fingers crossed!!

the homesteady said...

i would love to have a site that's both more intuitive for users, and more minimalistic and simple in its design! thanks for the great giveaway xx

Tanja said...

I would like a redesign to make my blog look more professionel. It should have a cool Danish feel, fresh and clean. Hopefully this would help me get more readers :)

Deborah said...

Oh this giveaway sounds awesome! I attended ALT this year for the first time and my brain feels like mush with all the info we got. I have no clue where to start, but would love some help and direction. Thanks for the chance to win!

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Kerry June said...

i would love my blog to relfect more of me & my lifestyle... that being said i'm not completely sure what i would want! i definitely am going to take this posts advice & start brainstorming & checking pinterest for ideas. i really like how my blog looks now, but i feel like there could be something more. love this post & the giveaway is awesome!

www.kerryjune.com

Josephine Leung said...

I'd love to make my blog look a little more like a reflection of my taste and be a lot more eyecatching. I've tried to customize the template as much as possible, but it definitely looks like a template.

Ellie C. said...

oh lovely! I've desperately needed a redesign for some time now. I'm thinking something simple, like a handwritten title with a punch of color and coordinating links, and something that won't distract from the content.

Ong Hui Xin said...

ahh you inspired me to have a brand new refurbished little space (aka new blog design) to blog about sugar free baked goodies recipes!!! <3

Deja said...

I would love a blog redesign!

Lindsay said...

I'd love a blog design that screams "writer" with a script font, hand-drawn hearts and marks with red pen. I actually have it all planned out but don't know how to design it. :) Thanks for the giveaway!

pammihearts said...

would love a total redesign. my blog is my little space to share my hearts, my loves. my kids are growing up too fast and it's a way for me to journal our lives. it's a bit boring to look at and doesn't really reflect my style.

Deepa said...

I redesigned my blog last year but had problems with my designer and things got somewhat rushed towards the end. So I would love to simplify and refine the design I already have.
Great post btw!

Anke said...

Mmm, I have so many ideas and plans and 0 time and knowledge of how to put them into action. So fingers crossed I win!

Lost In Cheeseland said...

This is fabulous! I'd love some help ramping up my blog and maybe even considering a different platform to host it. Now following her on Twitter!

Francine said...

I've been doing my own designing since I started my blog but I think I have reached my limit. This year I want to move to my own domain and I am hoping to change to a more professional looking blog at that time.

Tessa @ Lighting the World on Fire said...

I liked TPOC on FB. Thanks to both of you for posting this! I would love, love, love a blog redesign. I'm not so sure what I want. I like very simple, white background blogs when reading, but I love color and write about travel, food, drinks, parties, and sewing. Thanks again for the opportunity!

London said...

I already follow Mrs Pair of Crutches and Love her! I really want to clean up and streamline my blog. Also, I kinda want a logo. How vain is that??? Pick me!

Chandra said...

Love this giveaway! I liked on fb and follow her in insta. I'm a photographer in Arizona and just went through breast cancer for the past year (age 26!). I haven't had the money because of the never ending medical bills but I really really need help with the blog! I messed up the coding in the navigation bar and can't figure it out. I want a vintage inspired but clean look. Thanks for the chance to win!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chandra
www.chandradelite.com

s + b said...

Great giveaway, Tori! I would love a better header for my blog as well as a more rustic theme, but I have no idea how to do that! I'd love to win this :)

(I like TPOC on facebook).

shannoncriderlangley said...

i am a very new blogger. new, new, new!!i started my blog to be a creative outlet for me... as i am living in a new city, am newly marriedl...AND... we are a blended family!! its seems as though i began to see the "overwhelming part" daily and began missing the beauty of it all. so as i began to read blogs for inspiration...i found what i needed...and that got me here, A NeW BloGGeR! the more i read blogs...the more i began to desire a place to share with friends & complete strangers... the opportunity to start or end their day with something pretty...thus the name of my blog...a girl who loves pretty. my husband is a photographer (on the side) and i thought having a blog would also give us the opportunity to do something together, something that would be mine- but have a piece of him. all sounds great...BUT...i am not great with computers and have no idea how to truly make my blog be as beautiful and as inspiring as it is in my heart...i don't even know how to use photoshop...probably should have thought of that before entering into the blogging world! : ) i just need a boost in the right direction! i have the heart and desire to create...to brighten someone's day with a piece of pretty, something positive- that they might have other wise walked right past. i am in awh of so many beautiful blogs...they have gotten me to this place! i hope people realize the power of a/their blog- they truly can influence others, show creativity and give confidence to others. so... with that i ask...for hElP!! its hard to be a girl who loves pretty...with a less than "pretty" blog! wishing you the best. shannon.

dervla @ The Curator said...

Ahhh, I'd love to work with someone who gets me and can put together a clean, modern, and creative design. My blog combines interior design, food, and fashion so it's going to need a lot of thought and something really awesome to pull it all together. It's a bit beyond me and this sounds like the perfect opportunity to put my aesthetic into my website.

cait - pretty and fun said...

DYING for a blog redesign! I want something more clean & simple (and beyond what I can pull together myself)

Krystle said...
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Harley said...

I follow her on Facebook!

I have been blogging at Harley & Jane for a little over 1.5 years now. We have been met with some success, but not much. I really believe that a professional design will take us to the next level. Our goals for this year included planning blog content to make it more rich and hiring a designer since it isn't a strength for either of this. We would love to see our design streamlined and clean. We really need a way to point readers to content that they are looking for efficiently. Having a designer work with us on sidebar headers would make a world of difference. The blog has looked the same for so long that we are just at a loss at this point.

To win this prize would be such a blessing. We are ready to take www.harleyandjane.com to the next level, but we could use some help getting there. Thank you so much for offering this wonderful contest!

Harley said...

I follow her on Facebook!

I have been blogging at Harley & Jane for a little over 1.5 years now. We have been met with some success, but not much. I really believe that a professional design will take us to the next level. Our goals for this year included planning blog content to make it more rich and hiring a designer since it isn't a strength for either of this. We would love to see our design streamlined and clean. We really need a way to point readers to content that they are looking for efficiently. Having a designer work with us on sidebar headers would make a world of difference. The blog has looked the same for so long that we are just at a loss at this point.

To win this prize would be such a blessing. We are ready to take www.harleyandjane.com to the next level, but we could use some help getting there. Thank you so much for offering this wonderful contest!

Hannelore said...

I have been blogging for almost 4 years now, and I've been wanting to make my blog a little bit more professional for a while, but I have absolutely no idea how to get started. This would be a great help!

babalisme said...

I'm a graphic designer and an illustrator as well but no, I never good with HTML and all those Internet technical stuffs ( I'm sorry if I misinterpreted what I mean by those codes, it just show how technology blind I am) .but tpoc's tips on how to work with designers speaks my mind! although in relatively different media yes, first and foremost thing i expect from a client is please, know what you want AND need, please separate those two from what you "like" or adore! Anyway I am also on hiatus for a long time, tragic reason can be read on my blog, long story short, 2012 was not a very good year for me. I have tried some awkward comebacks but I don't think it's good enough. I need some extra oomph, to get me start fresh. I never stray from blogger classic template (why? See first sentence) I want my new blog look like I put more effort than a 13 year old's blog. On a big picture, I'd like mine to be seen as a warm, cozy play room of a swedish interior designer-mom's 5 year old daughter. It's stylish modern meets fun japanese's zakka. Little details would consist of buntings (of course), heartwarming doodles/DIY rubber stamp pictures/icons, and maybe some doillies?

Did I talk too long? Ok I won't bother you more ... Can I please win this?

M said...
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M said...

I need to up date my blog image badly! Hope to win!

Nancy@OwensOlivia said...

This could not have come at a better time! Tori's style is incredible, so thank you for the chance! I liked her on FB.

jared said...
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Jenna Buchanan said...

I would be over the moon to win a blog redesign from Tori! She's got impeccable style and tremendous talent. My idea for my blog redesign would reflect inspiration from the Farnsworth House. Very modern and clean in a bucolic setting. This is all very exciting!

jared said...
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Kate Schwartz said...

I just recently found TPOC and I'm in love! :) thank you so much for the opportunity to work with her! I'm new to the blogging world and know I am in need of desperate design help!!! :) I have so many ideas, that I'm glad you posted this *tips to help!! ;) now I need to buckle down and decide what I want! :)

heidi said...

I just started my blog "real lovely" just over a year ago and I would love to have a something with fruit punch bright colors and with the humor of saying the word "dollop" with a straight face.
http://reallovely.blogspot.com/

Wren said...

Dreaming of redesigning my 4 year old blog! I need a clean, cohesive look so I can grow my readership!

Tweeted and crossing fingers!

Kathryn Humphreys said...

Goodness, I would love to work with a designer. What a treat. Thanks for hosting.

M. A. Moore said...

Hi - Thanks you VERY much for you ladies doing this & promoting this ( and ok, you're beautiful, intelligent, and funny)!

Hopes and aspirations: I decided in 2012 to do jewelry making as a VERY part-time job on the insistence of my husband! Named it Blue Beehive Studio. Was a slow start, but here in 2013, I decided to go all-out electronically. Revved up the Etsy store, started a blog, FB account, a Twitter account @theBlueBeehive. It has paid off, as sales are going up and I have worked with some wonderful ladies on custom orders!

HOWEVER - dreams & aspirations: I would LOVE a blog-make over and/or any guidance. I hope to take what I've learned on the Blog and incorporate those elements into the other electronic avenues for a more cohesive look!

I'm a full-time mom of 3 wonderful little kids, work very part time at a local college, fixing up a turn of the century home myself (new toilette being installed soon!), and during what little free time I squeeze in, do jewelry.

So yes, i would LOVE any help! Blog is a little weak : )

Blue Beehive Studio Blog

Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity!

Allyson said...

I'm a twitter follower and I would love to do something a little whimsical and Wonderlandy. :)

Kari Firak said...

Oh, how I need a little re-design! I'm all over the board, but my name is a palindrome (first and last)- wouldn't that be fun to work with?? Thanks for the opportunity, I've liked and followed...

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