Revolution And Future In Blogging World – Art Direction Trend


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:


Personal Style:


2. CraigMod



3. Desandro

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.



5. Design Informer

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:



6. I Love Typography

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.



7. ThePhuse

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!


8. Jason Santa Maria

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:



9. Travis Gertz

Each post is unique – main features are huge typography, huge background and interesting CSS styling!



10. Doug Burgett

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!



11. The Bold Italic

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.



12. Avoid Contact With Eyes

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.



13. ColdHeat

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!



15. SmashingMagazine: Death Of The Boring Blog Post

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.



16. Gregory Wood

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!



18. PeepCode

..and a lot more creative posts over PeepCode blog!



19. Sefsar

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:



  1. Marlon

    I really seldom comment to blogs but this one just got my attention. Nice write up i will read more of topics on this site! I am just actually new to this blog i find it enjoyable in reading this kind of topics. . i am also interested about typhoon dodong which is one of the most destructive typhoon in history of mankind

  2. BJ

    I’m also a long time user of this plugin..

    Most of all WP sites i make have less than 10 plugin’s (I hate plugins) But the Art Direction plugin goes always as first into the plugin folder directly after installing WP.

    I like this list but it’s hard to find lists like those online. I wish people would collect a bigger list of blogs -/sites that use this plugin. Most of the time those are the sites that make the web stand-out.

    I always get great feedback from my reading about styling pages differently.

  3. Brett

    This is a great post and I hope that this happens! Blogs like this would make things so much more readable. I have high hopes for it and I plan to join this trend when I get my blog up and running.

  4. Duncan McDuncan

    Really like this post! i’ve been looking all over the web for these kind of design and finally some pros like you have been voicing out trying to make things happens! Am not a pro here myself, just started out seriously to learn more about the pros world about logo design while am struggling to make my own website is really a pain! has zero skill to make these happens though had been trying out a few free website hosting site like yolasite and wix(well i have not really dig into it yet), but hey, maybe it could be a chaos in the near future when this really happens! lol…

    Some amateur like myself, or maybe better than me a bit more would start to make their site a bit more magazine alike or e-zine alike style. That would be awful don’t you think so?

    Everyone likes the cheese but do they really know how to take it with the right meals? and after some time, tuts will be showing and demonstrating like “how to design a professional magazine like website” will show up and things will get even more out of hand… hehe

    just some silly opinion here. Hope you guys (pros) don’t mind.

    Anyway, really appreciate your sharing in here. I’ve learn many things from you guys through your sites. [That what i’m looking forward to learn!]


  5. Great article and those examples are fantastic. Certainly given us lots to think about. It seems to me that the central idea is quality over quantity, substance over easy and quick. The web desperately needs more of the former and A LOT less of the latter. Especially those blogs which exist solely to post a link to someone else’s content. So when do you take the plunge?

  6. I think the JSM work is spectacular. I took him as inspiration when I had a “I’m going to take my blog design seriously” kick and tried to emulate what he was doing – a design per post. At first it was great. I allowed me to flex some design muscle while highlighting my articles.

    And that lasted about a month.

    I love designing. I love blogging. I also have a full-time job that is *not* blogging. So when I need to write, I just want to write and with limited time to do so. It took way too long to bust out a design for each (major) blog post because they happened to frequently.

    Of course, I was using WordPress, which is powerful and stuff, but not ideal for one-off per-post designs. I made it work to a point, but it just became too much trouble to maintain.

    To me, having a CMS that supports the JSM-treatment quick and easily, is nirvana. It’s not about making the design easy, designing is the challenge/fun part, it’s executing that design with minimal effort to support frequent posting.

  7. Tim

    The very simple answer to this is to stop blogging and stop using social media. Spend your time actually designing and researching instead. You don’t need a popular blog or to be popular on facebook and twitter in order to have a popular website. And probably the most important thing is to just get away from the computer. You will find much better inspiration for design by taking a walk through the woods or downtown. People spend way too much time in front of their computers being virtually social rather than social for real.

  8. “Well, we are working now in virtual magazine and each post should have appropriate styling, background images and unique approach!”

    And interesting concept. This is something that WordPress doesn’t really natively support very well. Custom page designs for each tag/category of blog post would be a fantastic idea!

  9. Matt

    Gorgeous. If every blog started doing art directed blogs (if they were as talented as the people doing it now, of course) I’d be in heaven. Currently we’re being creative with our words on blogs about being creative on design Seems a little backwards.

  10. Ryan Cowles

    Good article Dainis! It can be very difficult to keep things creative, and also keep updating fresh content. I don’t think I will ever be “finished” with my blog design. I am happy with it now, but everyday I find something I would like to improve.

    I find so many blogs that look almost exactly like, as you said, with the same layout, same ads, etc. Having so many design blogs looking the same doesn’t make sense to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen a lot of original and beautiful blog designs, but a lot are just the same.

    I also find it difficult to delegate my time correctly for design work, writing, SEO, etc. It seems like I spend more time trying to promote articles than I do actually writing them. And I put a lot of time into my articles! Haha.

  11. Looking at such awesome design the future of web design is going to in completely new direction where people will go beyond wordpress & other CMS

  12. Completely agree with the philosophy behind this post!
    Some people are doing some amazing work. We don’t all have such skill sets (and like you note, finding time to do that can be difficult)… For me (and the GritFX team), we try to bring some editorial style elements into our posts. It’s simple graphic additions that are for that post alone, but I like what they add to the Magazine.

  13. Having spent a few hours researching websites this week, I know exactly what you mean about forming a list of inspiration sources only to find them styled exactly the same when you look back through them.

    I think one of the big problems with blogs is that they are accessible & easy to use…the majority of people that create and maintain them have little knowledge of coding, or even interest in coding or design – they want a blog & they will be happy to use a free template.

    The problem also extends further than just blogs – it can be applied to content management systems in general…dynamic content normally gets put in boxes, & it stays in boxes screaming to be let out & have some individualism – more people should have a crack at dynamic layout, that makes things more interesting….but it rarely happens…clean, straight edged, blocks of text will be with us for some time I think.