It's been a long time coming, but I've finally done it: Not Dressed As Lamb has had a makeover! Not only was it due a fresh new look in terms of colour palette, but the layout and navigation needed updating desperately. Like many others I chose to go for a pipdig blog design (more about that later) - I can now see why he's the go-to designer for so many bloggers... I should have got this sorted ages ago.
I thought I'd briefly explain the process of how I came up with the colour palette and what made me choose the design: If you're thinking of having your blog redesigned this may give you some tips!
LIKE MANY OTHERS I CHOSE TO GO FOR A PIPDIG BLOG DESIGN - I CAN NOW SEE WHY HE'S THE GO-TO DESIGNER FOR SO MANY BLOGGERS
Below are five easy steps to help you redesign your blog and choose a colour palette - if you're thinking it's a daunting task, please don't. I'd been thinking for ages that it was going to be some huge upheaval that would take forever in terms of finding a designer and going through the process of having a bespoke design made, but I discovered that buying a pre-made template which you can then tweak to match your vision is the easiest (and quickest) way to go about it.
Choosing your own colour palette, fonts and header are the best ways to make a pre-made template unique. You can go with the design's pre-chosen colours and fonts, but I recommend choosing your own. Read on for my simple tips on how to go about that process!
1. Find your colour inspiration
If you visited my blog at any point over the last few months you won't have failed to see that I went to the Greek island of Santorini in September (my Instagram feed and blog posts were unapologetically full of blue skies, peach sunsets and white houses). I came back so inspired by all the beautiful colours that I knew exactly what colours to use in my new design: Peach, orange, sky blue, Wedgwood blue, rose pink, lavender, lilac and cream).
It may seem like a lot of colours, but with a blue header and most of the accents in the peachy-pink colour (if you hover over my social icons in the sidebar you'll see them change from blue to pink), it leaves me several colours to pick from for text-only images or text overlay.
And would you believe it: After picking the blue and pink as the two main colours (as in the bottom-right photo, above, of the village of Oia at sunset), Pantone decided to announce Rose Quartz and Serenity as their 2016 Colour of the Year almost days later. To say I couldn't believe it was an understatement! So in case anyone was thinking I just copied those two colours from Pantone, I really didn't... That one Santorini photo was really all the inspiration I needed!
PANTONE DECIDED TO ANNOUNCE ROSE QUARTZ AND SERENITY AS THEIR 2016 COLOUR OF THE YEAR ALMOST DAYS LATER: TO SAY I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT WAS AN UNDERSTATEMENT
2. Choose a new profile picture (avatar)I always think it's a good idea to make sure your profile picture - or avatar - matches your colour scheme. If not, the colours and design may jar a little. Either use a great profile picture as your colour inspiration, or (as I did) take a photo to use as your new avatar using the colour palette you've already chosen.
I wanted my avatar to match my Instagram feed so I took this photo (above) during an outfit post photo shoot - I purposely chose the clothes and background for their colours to match my new scheme. I increased the brightness in Photoshop and ensured I changed my avatar and backgrounds across all my social media platforms to keep everything consistent.
I also changed my favicon for the browser tab to ensure my branding really was consistent everywhere - an important factor a lot of people forget about!
3. Decide on the style and layoutThere were several key features I knew I wanted: New dropdown menus (to cope with all the categories I now have), a bold Instagram feed and smarter post dates and titles. I'm not a huge fan of the magazine layout that is becoming increasingly popular (just my personal preference), but I wanted something that set it apart from other blogs.
As I mentioned I decided to use pipdig - I've read nothing but glowing reviews for this guy and whenever I've been impressed with a blog design and scrolled down to the footer to see who designed it, 9 times out of 10 it was pipdig's name I saw. There are plenty of designers who specialise in blog templates (many of them sell via Etsy), but I can't recommend pipdig highly enough in terms of choice, style, ability to create innovative designs in Blogger (a bonus) and customer service.
The template that had that special something that swung it for me, in the end, had two things: A custom Instagram header feed across the whole width of the blog, and a 'full-screen page splash' on the desktop version.
My desktop scrolling homepage:
This is one of my favourite parts of the blog - the homepage has a scrolling 'full-screen page splash' showing the latest four posts. If you're looking at this on a mobile or tablet you won't see it, but I do recommend you take a look at it on a computer or laptop as it's a pretty cool feature.
4. Design a new headerThere are several ways to get a header designed: 1. Go with the header that will automatically be created when you have the template you've chosen uploaded; 2. Create your own with a font you've chosen yourself and colour from your palette (that's what I did), or 3. Have a designer create a totally unique header from scratch for you.
I'd recommend 2 or 3, but 3 only if you're prepared to pay for a graphic designer or you happen to be friends with/related to one.
My brand new header - and appropriate tagline!
There are loads of sites offering free fonts, e.g. 1001freefonts.com, fontsquirrel.com or even Google fonts. I searched for one for ages and could never quite come up with one that I knew was the one, but I decided to buy a package from myfonts.com in the end that had two coordinating fonts plus little squiggly extras and characters that would work to create some stylish text overlays... I think it was well worth paying for it in the end.
5. Take the plunge and get it installed - just do itThe process of buying the template and getting it installed couldn't have been any easier, and that was partly due to the amazing service that pipdig offers. Once you've bought your template you can either install it yourself (by downloading easy-to-follow instructions) or have pipdig install it for you - for free. (Yes, for free!)
I bought my new template for the princely sum of just £39, and mine was one of the more expensive ones. I paid a little extra for all the drop-down menus I wanted (they don't come as standard if you want them to link to pages as opposed to labels), but it was worth every penny.
In hindsight, however, I'm glad I didn't get a new template installed before I went to Santorini because it was that holiday that inspired the colour palette I'm so in love with. So although I say don't hesitate about getting a new blog design, do ensure you know exactly what you want in terms of colour palette, layout, header and usability before you get it installed.
DON'T HESITATE ABOUT GETTING A NEW BLOG DESIGN, BUT ENSURE YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT IN TERMS OF COLOUR PALETTE, LAYOUT, HEADER AND USABILITY BEFORE YOU GET IT INSTALLED
Total cost of a blog redesignWhen I think I was willing to pay in the region of £500+ for a new blog design, I'm amazed at just how cheap this was in the end. Here's a breakdown of what I spent to give you some idea:
Basic template: £39
Drowndown menus extras: £20
Font for header: £18
Extra I chose to pay pipdig: £30
Research, inspiration and colour palette design: Cost me my time only
Total: £107. (So slightly over the £100 I mentioned in the title, but I paid for a font and the dropdown menu extras which there's no need to pay for necessarily.) Talk about an absolute bargain...!
Are you thinking of getting your blog redesigned, or have you had it done recently? I do hope you like my new design - tell me in the comments or tweet me @notlamb!
P.S. I'm still after votes for me to win Best Fashion Blogger 2015 in the Bloggers' Lounge Awards - if you can spare a few seconds to click "Vote" and "Submit" (without any subscribing) it would mean so much to me to win. You can vote once per IP address (device) - scroll down and look for me under "Best Fashion Blogger"... Thank you thank you!!
(ooh look there are those colours again - proof I chose them before Pantone's announcement!)
Linking up to: Let It Shine, Brilliant Blog Posts, Friday's Fab Favourites