Now that you’ve got all the boring technical stuff out of they way, its time to start branding your blog.
By branding I mean creating a strong and cohesive visual identity that makes your blog instantly recognisable at a single glance.
A strong brand helps you stand out from your competitors and communicates what you are all about.
The steps listed below are just a small part of a full branding process, but if you’re just starting out, they will help you create a beautiful blog that looks great.
Posts in this series:
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Choose Your Colour Scheme
Choosing a colour scheme is about more than just finding pretty colours that you like. Colours provoke an immediate emotional and psychological response in your audience. So you need to choose colours that communicate your message and what you are all about.
This is called colour psychology, and its an incredibly powerful tool if used in the right way.
When deciding on your colour scheme, choose colours that support your brand. They should reflect the personality of you and your blog, whilst still being appealing to your target audience.
Here are a few pointers as to what different colour choices communicate:
Energy, Strength, Passion, Courage
Joy, Happiness, Confidence
Enthusiasm, Vitality, Energy
Nature, Harmony, Growth, Balance
Serenity, Intelligence, Integrity
But it doesn’t just stop there. Within each colour there is a variety of different tones. For example, blue can be anything from navy blue, to royal blue to baby blue. The tones you choose depend on the personality of your blog.
Bright, Clear Tones
Creative, Approachable, Fun, Bubbly
Delicate, Muted Tones
Traditional, Romantic, Calm
Warm, Earthy, Bold Tones
Authentic, Earthy, Friendly, Practical
Cool, Clear Tones
Elegant, Luxurious, Dramatic
How Many Colours Should You Choose
1-2 main colours
These will be the dominant colours of your brand and will feature on about 60% of your site. For our site, we use a bright blue and yellow for our main colours.
1-2 POP colours
These are complimentary accent colours and will be used sparingly to draw attention to certain things, e.g. calls to action. We use a strong red as our complimentary colour.
1-2 neutral colours
These will be used for background colours & text. Our website uses a charcoal grey for our text.
Good typography can turn a lacklustre website into a great one and hugely impact the look and feel of your site.
Like your colour scheme, you should choose typography that will help bring out the personality of your blog.
For example, if you are bold, quirky and outspoken you might want to choose a clean modern font paired with a striking display font. If you’re a romantic you might want to choose a more playful, whimsical handwritten font paired with a traditional serif font.
Types of Fonts
Serif fonts have little ‘feet’ at the end of the letters. They look professional and classic and are great for giving a romantic / feminine feel or an editorial look.
Sans Serif Fonts
Sans Serif Fonts don’t have the little ‘feet’ at the end. They have a more modern, clean feel than serif typefaces.
Display fonts are unique and striking. Use these sparingly to inject a bit of personality or playfulness.
Handwritten fonts can look romantic, playful or whimsical. Again, use these sparingly on your site.
Feel free to mix and match fonts from different groups. You can pair a serif font with a sans serif font. Or a handwritten font with a serif font.
But only use a maximum of 3 fonts – a body font, a header font and maybe an accent font.
For example, we use three fonts on our website. One handwritten font and two sans serif fonts for headers and body text:
You can find plenty of free fonts on Google Fonts and Typekit but if you really want to bring your blog to life, consider investing in one or two premium fonts. We like to buy our premium fonts from Creative Market.
Using a custom logo is a great way to add a little personality to the header of your site, and all themes (including free ones) should give you the ability to add your own logo to the header (in your dashboard click on ‘Appearance’ – ‘Customize’ to be taken to the options for changing the header).
If you’re a non-designer and want something completely custom then your best bet is to hire a professional logo designer.
However, if you’re just looking for something that adds a bit of personality to your site but don’t mind if it isn’t completely original then you can buy pre-made logos for a fraction of the price of a custom one.
Again, when choosing a logo, make sure that it aligns with the personality of your business and the colour and font combinations used throughout the rest of your site. This is important if you want to create a strong cohesive identity (which, by the way, you do).
Images and Graphics
Branding your blog doesn’t just stop with your typography and colour scheme. You need to make sure that any images, graphics and patterns you use all fit with your desired aesthetic.
You can either stick to using your own images (especially good for blogs that are focused on travel, photography etc), or you can use stock images. Quite often you will use a mix of both and that is perfectly fine, as long as you make sure they all fit with your blog’s personality and appeal to your target audience.
Where to Update Your Colours and Fonts
The extent to which you can customise the colours and fonts on your site will be largely down to the theme you have chosen (see the previous post in the series for more advice on choosing themes).
Free themes will be quite limited in their customisation options but in the very least you should be able to upload a logo and update certain colours and fonts. Premium themes will have slightly more customisation options whereas a DIY theme such as Divi will allow complete control over the branding of your site.
You will most often find the options to change fonts and colours in the ‘Customize’ tab. This will take you onto a preview of your site and bring up a bar at the side that allows you freedom to customise. However, this is sometimes different depending on which theme you have so its worth looking through the settings on the dashboard to see if customisation options are included elsewhere.
Thanks for reading! Remember to stay tuned for the final post in the series – Setting Up Your Pages and Content.