Blog Redesign, Pt. 1: Creating The Design

Oh hello there.

You might have noticed that things are a little different around here. Because that's right! Hummingbird High just underwent a massive makeover. From this...


To the fancy digs you see around you now:


For a lot of people, designing a blog or website is purely an aesthetic choice — pick pretty colors, a cute logo, and voila! You're done. But the more I work in marketing and read up on graphic design, I realize that there's much more to it than that. So this time, before I even started redesigning Hummingbird High, I thought long and hard (and probably spent way too much time and effort) thinking about what I wanted my blog's design to say. I know that sounds corny and pretentious, but hear me out.

There are several reasons why I ultimately decided it was time to redesign my blog. First and foremost, I thought the old design was simply too cluttered and busy. There were way too many boxes and widgets that distracted from the food and recipes. I wanted to move to a design that really made my the pictures *pop*. That's why the new design has an all-white background, complemented only by pastel colors. The austerity of this new blog design is intended to be more of a lightbox that really focuses on the main event; that is, the pictures and recipes.

Second, I worried that my navigation bar buttons were getting lost in the sidebar. In the old design, they were embedded somewhere in the middle of the bar between ads, social media buttons, indexes, etc. I've always been a fan of busy sidebars that provide lots of resources, but I worried that my readers didn't share the same sentiment. What if you were a first time reader coming by way of foodgawker and just wanted to see my other recipes? You'd have to go somewhere in the middle of the sidebar in order to find them. This new design puts the important stuff up top — recipes, about info — while keeping the fun extra resources on the side. It's much more intuitive for the new reader. If they want more info, they simply scroll back up top. And most importantly, I still get to keep all my fun sidebar stuff. Everybody wins!

The third reason is the least practical, but perhaps most important. When I first started blogging, I didn't have a particular aesthetic or photography style that I preferred. These days, it seems like my photography is moving towards a more rustic aesthetic. That is, if you look through my more recent blog posts, you'll notice that I use a lot of canvas, burlap, and wood textures, filled with dark shadows and muted light. My old blog design, however, was a modern design filled with sans-serif fonts and boxy shapes that went well with my older photos. But this new design is more in-line with the rustic, old-timey nature that my photography is moving towards.

So what do you guys think? Is anybody still there? Or did I bore everybody to death? Am I wrong in any assertions? Let me know! Thoughts, comments, feedback, etc, are always welcome. Shoot me an email at michelle@hummingbirdhigh.com

5 comments

  1. Congrats on the new blog design, always so exciting to relaunch/rebrand!! It looks great, although your old one looked nice, too!
    It's awesome how design serves many purposes in addition to helping readers find what they're looking for--great that you can make your photography style and blog design work for your message and brand! I'm still working on that for mine... wish I had a graphic designer! ;)

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    1. Thank you! Oh, I wish I had a graphic designer too. This new redesign took several cups of coffee and much frantic googling of CSS code before I got it down. Have you tried Squarespace? You can make really beautiful websites without needing to know too much CSS/HTML.

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  2. Your site was beautiful before but I love the way that it looks now!

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  3. Love the new design! Like the others I agree your site was already beautiful! But I too think having the navigation at the top makes it very easily findable to visitors who want to look for more, and I really like the cleaner look of the new logo and the way this rustic theme flows throughout aesthetically now. I remember having this design argument with someone just a few days ago- that there is no need to have visual borders around everything. Of course, having that opinion does no good for me because I have no skills with web design, and the fact you put your thoughts into action and did it within a few cups of coffee is impressive!

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  4. Ooh I'm so interested in what kind of marketing/graphic design reads you've been reading up on--do you have any good articles or books you'd suggest?

    Ack okay so I hate to say it, but when I first visited today I was like EEK WHERE DID HER GORGEOUS WEBSITE GO?! I really loved your unique header/background from your old site, but after reading about why you changed it, I'm starting to feel the new one. Nonetheless, congrats on the switch! That's always exciting. And you've got me seriously considering SquareSpace even though I just took my wordpress blog self-hosted--god, all the coding I've been trying to figure out is seriously bewildering!

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