Tom Asacker, the branding guru at a clear eye?
has an interesting post about design up today. He makes some valid
points about modern design being used as decoration, rather than the
seed that drives the implementation of an idea. His points are valid,
but they’re far from complete.
I think Tom’s missed two vital roles design must play for it to be useful and worth the investment.
These relate directly to what we do at The Blog Studio. I’ve been
meaning to write this post for some time, so I thank Tom for giving me
the impetus to finally do so.
What IS blog design?
Maybe I should start with what blog design isn’t. It’s not
coming up with a catchy header, although that can be part of it. It’s
not dreaming up unusual layouts, although that can be part of it too.
It’s not colour. It’s not choosing fonts. It’s certainly not ‘web
design’ as practiced by 90% of the ‘designers’ out there. It’s not a
cover for poor or inadequate content.
Blog design (like all design) is the discipline of
studying content, interpreting personality, anticipating needs, and
translating unspoken hope and desire.
Blog design is about adding the gestures and modulation one would find in a face to face conversation.
Blog design supports and adds value to the text.
Blog design adds (or subtracts) credibility.
Blog design as information architecture
Blog design is also about organizing data. It’s about maximizing the
value of the content, through unique content structures. It’s about
designing the user experience.
Good blog design leverages archival content to become more useful and stickier (this site is a clear case of the cobbler’s kids).
Blog design as an extension of Brand You
Perhaps most importantly, blog design is a very real extension of you. It shows how well (or poorly) you value your own words.
The colour, type, imagery and layout you choose speak volumes
about who you are and what you do. There is a crushing volume of
scientific evidence to support this. Blog design then, is both an
extension of your corporate brand (if it exists), and brand you. (See my definition of a brand here and ready why I think blogging is so valuable for your brand here)
Blog design as ROI
Finally, blog design is a tool to help you maximize your return on the time and energy your blog will consume. Imagine giving a presentation in a flat monotone. Now give that same presentation with animation and passion. That difference is the role and responsibility of good blog design.