People have been talking for a long time about numerous list posts repeating each other, but the same is about blog designs. Even if blog design is unique it still has same consistent sidebar, CSS image, text styling and standard navigation repeating each time when new article is published.
I usually compare blogging with journalism, because it’s the same thing..and if so – does all magazine articles has the same styling, content structure and even advertisements?
Absolutely – not!
With a little consistency, but mostly magazines put some serious time and thinking to create an appropriate design for each topic and article. Why don’t we do it? At first, we started to use CMS like WordPress, Blogger, Drupal because it was an easy and dynamic way how to update content without any pain – everybody can start his blog now without any special skills. But now with millions of blogs, do we need this easy way?
And here comes new design trend “Art-Directed” which answers to my question – How to stay original and creative?
I am designer myself, but since I started blogging I feel more like just blogger (journalist), social media and marketing person. I feel like I am loosing my creativity – while I want to learn latest techniques in CSS3, HTML5, jQuery, WordPress – I am struggling with finding time to do that! I would like to have a new design for blog, sit down and play with Photoshop, but I keep reading articles, collecting links and compiling articles. Styling for all the articles is the same, after 5–6 hours spent researching one article I hardly find inspiration to do something unique, I just want to finally end it and start something fresh.
Right, but why am I telling you this? I believe you’ve felt the same lack of creativity, struggling to find a way how to really stand out from the crowd. Current way of blogging is easy, but we need to take a step forward to show we are designers and that we can surprise our readers not only in April 1 but on regular basis!
What means “Art-Direction”?
Art Direction name has been taken from profession Art Director and Wikipedia has a great description explaining this term better than I could so here it goes.
Quote from Wikipedia:
Various artists may create or develop specific parts of an art piece or scene; but a sole art director unifies the vision. In particular, the art director is in charge of the overall visual appearance and how it communicates visually, stimulates moods, contrasts features, and psychologically appeals to a target audience. The art director makes decisions about visual elements used, what artistic style to use, and when to use motion.
One of the most difficult problems that art directors face is to translate desired moods, messages, concepts, and underdeveloped ideas into imagery. During the brainstorming process, art directors, coworkers, and clients are engaged in imagining what the finished piece or scene might look like. At times, an art director is ultimately responsible for solidifying the vision of the collective imagination while resolving conflicting agendas and inconsistencies between the various individual inputs.
What this term means in blogging?
Well, we are working now in virtual magazine and each post should have appropriate styling, background images and unique approach! I am stunned with this idea – through my deep research I noticed such unique post designs get a lot more attention than usual ones even if actual post idea isn’t so original!
While unique post design creation will take some extra hours, I definitely think this is a future in blogging world and excellent chance for designers to sharpen their skills regularly generating original ideas. Art direction actually is a win/win situation for readers – they get actual magazine style (remember about digital world – Amazone Kindle and iPad has arrived) and for blogger/designers it’s a great chance to show their professionalism.
Now.. – are you ready to move forward and do these extra steps?
Before you answer I will show many great examples I found while researching this art-direction trend. In some sites every each article has unique touch, well..for some – authors are highlighting just really original posts to emphasize idea with specific layout.
For me, I am thinking to join this trend real soon and while mostly posts will have the same standard styling, I will move forward to highlight 1STWD best content!
Let’s get inspired and keep updated for second post, where I will research and showcase tools, code snippets which will help you to design art-directed posts without a pain!
1. Yaron Schoen
Definitely one of my favorites – very trendy and quality post designs! Notice how “logo” changes in each post!
The Fear of sketching:
David Desandro is new CSS3 guru – such a huge creativity, you will not get bored EVER if you will read his blog.
4. Chris Coyier
On his personal blog you’ll see just few art-directed posts with light changes of color and headings, but this is just an example – small things matters. I think it’s a great and unique trend.
DesignInformer site has been creating a lot of art directed posts lately and no wonder why – Jad has strong passion with this type of style. Excellent blog posts, check out few posts of their site:
Only 3 art-directed type of posts can be found there for now, but check out later, I am sure they will keep styling beautiful typography posts.
This post seems to be only such type article there for now – but this one is stunning! Simply love it – so detailed and thought through!
This site is experiment in art direction – Jason’s site is created using HTML,CSS and ExpressionEngine for publishing. What’s amazing in this site, almost each article has it’s own design, color scheme, placements and styling!
See more successful article examples from this site:
Each post is unique – main features are huge typography, huge background and interesting CSS styling!
Doug also has started to create art directed posts, short time ago, currently just 2 articles, but more coming soon! Exciting – let’s hope he starts to write more often!
In this site I found a little bit hard to navigate at first since I wasn’t familiar with their navigation naming and browsing in the right way.
Now I now – Backstories mean their art directed posts, again very creative, every article is amazing.
Again those posts takes a little bit longer to load, for some people with slow Internet it could be painful – but one more great example.
Deutsch site, but each blog article really has its own design – amazing work!
14. Jack Cheng
Jack’s site has very interesting and unique navigation throughout articles and of course a lot of art directed type posts!
On SM such posts are rare for now, but when they do something unique they do it amazing! Really huge posts about this popular topic with several style variations throughout whole post. Nice work.
Each article design is unique, notice top navigation, which is widely used 100% art-directed type of blogs. Maybe you should get one too?
17. Hiphop Quoted
A lot of mad typography! Interesting experiments and inspiration!
..and a lot more creative posts over PeepCode blog!
Haha, this was great! You need to select everything to see what’s written on this post otherwise you will see just big,yellow letter – T! Catchy!
Actual site is still under construction, but keep updated there!
20. Stainless Vision
In this site you can see in action how light changes in design, can turn out to be unique posts from design point of view.
21. ESPN E-ticket
While maybe not so impressive as other sites, still good trend – each ticket has it’s own specific header designed!
22. Heart Directed
For more inspiration and information head out to Heart-Directed site which is completely devoted to inspire you and showcase successful Art-Directed type of posts:
If you want to know what others are saying about this topic, keep reading here:
- Art Direction: Taking Web Design To The Next Level
- Jason Santa Maria Art-Directed Related Bookmarks and read on his site about this experiment.
- Binarymoon about Art-Direction