Digital design is something that I really enjoy. I've been ssaving gifs and jpegs for well over ten years now. I first started in PaintShop Pro before moving onto Photoshop which has been my program of choice ever since. As with anything, digital design has seen various trends come and go. The specific online communities I was a part of had their own design trends as well. Prolific use of boxes and squares, juxtapositions of medieval typefaces with brushes of swirls and stars and vectors were all strong fashionable phases for a while. Of course, different online communities had different trends and it was always interesting for me to visit websites of different interests and see how tastes and identities differed.
Check out these inspirational blog designs which I think are practical and beautiful (ultimately the two key goals for designing a blog).
1. N.Design Studio
I think this blog design is exquisite. Toronto based Nick La's careful choice of peach with the vibrant purples and blues make for beautiful design that takes inspiration from Asian art whilst carefully giving it a modern design twist. The koi fish is brilliantly juxtaposed with the title. When I first saw this design, it really changed my idea of what a blog design should be like. I especially like how organic the design is, yet it is coupled with a serif font which gives it a more controlled, authorative contrast.
Chris Spooner hails from the UK and has a really nice design for his blog. It's less organic than the previous one and has more vector shapes but again, it features textured patterns and has hand-drawn elements. I particularly like designs that have this natural feel to them, that haven't necessarily been created in two seconds in Photoshop or can easily be replicated by someone else. The choice of browns and natural colors is a brave one but I think it works well. Ultimately it's different from a lot of other blogs by having a muted palette. However, this blog really shines for all the fun, free tutorials Chris offers!
3. Douglas Menezes' Blog
This design (from Brazilian graphic designer Douglas Menezes), is all about color and shape. But mostly color. I have a love/relationship with color. To be honest, I feel my color knowledge in digital design is probably my weakest skill. I don't think I always pick the best colors or palettes for digital work which often makes my designs falter. Douglas' design picks up color and goes running with it full steam ahead! The vibrant hues of fuschia and turquoise go extremely well together. The bold graphic at the top is then highlighted with color accents in the content. Similarly, the design is held together with personal illustrations and some more clever use of texture that compliments, not subtracts, the overall design.
ilovecolors is a brilliant blog from Elio based in Argentina. Unlike the other blogs in this list, his design is quite dark yet is highlighted well with strong, high-contrast colors. It has similar design elements to others in this list, textured backgrounds with organic forms. I think this blog shows how you can take a design theme with similar elements but subtle changes can really make it stand out.
BestBlogBox is owned by Linda (also from Brazil) and it shows a softer side to design. The misty pinks, purples and golds make for a very pretty layout but it is complimented well with a myriad of other elements (pencils, pens, flowers, html code etc.). This design has great depth and there are elements that you don't see the first time you visit the blog. A very clever piece of art that reveals more as you look at it for longer.
In conclusion I think there is a definite trend in the design world for contrasts and juxtapositions. The nude, natural colors contrasted with bright, vidid shades. Similarly, texture is playing a huge part in design. It wasn't that long ago that a lot of things were designed with simplicity and cleaness (although these are still very popular trends). At the end of the day, the blogs I have listed here are very small example of the world of blog designs and you will find countless well design blogs which will very different