The Epic Behind-the-Scenes Details of the DYOB Redesign: Day 2

The Epic

The Epic Behind-the-Scenes Details of the Design Your Own (lovely) Blog's Redesign
Hi friends!
It’s Day 3 of the DYOB Relaunch week and today we’re talking about the design process. All week long I’ll be walking you through my redesign story, the reasons behind some of the decisions I made and also what went wrong.

The idea was to create one big epic post but I realized it was going to get too cumbersome for you all to read. So I’m just gonna break it down into 7 parts.

Here’s the agenda:

Day One: What’s the Point?
Day Two: The Design/Branding Process (below)
Day Three: Font Palettes
Day Four: Design Mockups and Why I Chose My Theme
Day Five: Turning Your Blog into a Business/Making Money from Your Blog
Day Six: Newsletters
Day Seven: Social Media

Note: Some links (with a *) are affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission should you purchase something using my link. Read the full disclosure here.

DAY TWO: The Design/Branding Process

One of the hardest parts of redesigning is trying to figure out which design style to go with, am I right? As a designer, I appreciate and love so many different styles of design so it’s difficult to narrow down the endless choices to just one style.

This is kind of how I ended up with my last design not really being me. I don’t think I took enough time to really flesh out my style and sort of went with what I thought was cool at the time. Here’s how I handled that this time:

A Design Inspiration Board

For about a year now, I’ve had a secret Pinterest board where I had been throwing in all kinds of ideas and inspiration for a redesign. Every time I came across a site or blog that I liked, I noted things that I thought would work well for DYOB. I uploaded screenshots and color palettes like a fiend.

Now of course not everything was the same style or even color scheme, but that was fine. I was just looking for some patterns. I never really “looked” at my board, I just added everything I liked and thought would suit me.

Eventually some patterns did start to emerge and I could begin to see which design direction I was leaning towards. A few months ago when I got serious about really getting into the process, I went through and copied all of the images from those patterns I saw and threw them into a large blank document in Photoshop to see how they looked together. Here’s that inspiration board:

The initial DYOB inspiration/mood board for the redesign.

The initial inspiration board for the redesign. No surprise to see all the aqua and seafoam!

Mood Board #1

From this inspiration board, I sampled colors to create an initial color palette and I quickly threw together a mood board to see how it would strike me:

The first mood board I came up with for the DYOB redesign. It just didn't feel quite right. Read all about my redesign process here.

The first mood board I came up with.

At first I thought I really liked it, but there was something nagging me about the color scheme. It just didn’t feel quite right. So I kept playing with color blocks in my Photoshop document. I also used color tools like Adobe Kuler to introduce new colors into the scheme.

See more color palette creation tools

Color Palette

I’m lucky because as a design blog for women, I have a lot of freedom when it comes to colors. My favorite color in the whole world is aqua and another fave is coral, which just so happen to be colors from my happy place: the ocean. Gold has really been striking my fancy this year so I knew I wanted to have some touches of it sprinkled within the design.

Knowing I wanted to start with these 3 colors, I now just needed to find the right shades that spoke to me. The aqua in the mood board above was too dark I realized. It just didn’t have enough oomph for me, so I looked to my Pinterest inspiration board again for some new hues. When I found the one (#1bded1), I knew that was it. It was bright and happy but also dark enough to be used in text over white. That’s the problem with some colors, you have to make sure you can find the right ones that contrast well with lighter backgrounds.

The next issue was finding the right coral. I was sampling colors from the dress I wear in my sidebar profile pic but they were turning out too dark. Of course I still wanted the dress to look right within the design, so I had to really play around with it quite a bit to get it just right. Eventually I found the right match (#fb7358) and you can see the two colors at play in the logo.

The initial color palette for DYOB redesign. Something wasn't quite right about it.

The first color palette I came up with that wasn’t doing it for me. It’s a little drab don’t you think?

The right gold was difficult to find too. All the colors I kept sampling from photos were turning out too beige or too yellow. Then one day I discovered a color palette on Pinterest that had the gold I was looking for! I tried it in the palette and it was a winner (#d6bf67)!

Need help discovering your own color palette? Check out my Ultimate Guide to Colors for Your Blog.

The Logo

There wasn’t really anything wrong with my previous logo, but I thought it needed a little update too to something a little more modern. I noticed that my inspiration board had a lot of the offset outline type and even though it runs the risk of being a little trendy, I think having a flexible logo style that can evolve keeps your logo looking fresh. Just look at Pepsi’s logo and how it’s evolved over the years.

At first I toyed around with some wider fonts for the DYOB logo but considering the length of the name, a condensed font worked best. I upgraded the Oswald condensed font to Bebas Neue because I thought the character shapes were cleaner.

The script I was using for the word “lovely” also needed an update. Sacramento is a nice font but it looked strange within content as an accent, so I wasn’t using it. I had been using Jenny Sue throughout the site instead. But Jenny Sue didn’t look right in the logo. While it’s usually fine to not match your blog’s fonts with your logo, I personally never liked the disconnect.

I played around with a bunch of the script fonts I had bought from previous Design Cuts deals* to see which worked best in the logo AND in the blog. Very Berry Pro* has been one of my favorites for a long time and I was so happy to see it not only work well within the content, but look simply AWESOME in the logo!

Mood Board #2

After finally narrowing down the color palette and logo, I used 0to255.com to pick out a few tints and shades because you always need those in a design. I then went out and found some more images and patterns that seemed to fit the style and palette I was going for and came up with the final mood board.

DYOB final mood board/color palette

So that’s it for Day 2 of the Redesign Recap. Tomorrow I’ll talk about my font selection process.

The Day Two Giveaways

Your brand is super important to your online identity. Putting your best foot forward and making great first impressions when it comes to your online face is crucial to your online success. I want to help 3 lucky winners move forward in their brand and blog designs today! We’ve got 3 amazing prizes going on right now that you can enter for.

Go here to see today’s prizes and to enter.

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12 Comments

  • Rachael says:

    Love the new look and the detailed walk-through is so useful so massive thank you !

  • chelsea says:

    Love the look! This series could NOT have come at a better time for me. I have been struggling with branding me into what can be a more technical (read: dull) niche.
    Cant wait to implement such awesome tips. 🙂
    Thanks!
    chelsea recently posted…A Day At The Park [Mini Photo Shoot]My Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Thank you Chelsea and I’m so glad to hear this series is such good timing for you. When you say you have a technical niche, do you mean that you will be teaching photography skills?

  • Susan says:

    Ms. Bad-Ass sent me over here, because I’m in dire need of getting my act together on this topic.
    My logo is outdated, and the message is stale since it is from almost 4 years and two countries ago!
    I’ll be following along and have fingers crossed to be in it to win it!

  • Leah says:

    Thank-you, thank-you, this is exactly what I need. I moved my blog to wordpress back in Feb. and it desperately needs a design face-lift. I can’t afford a designer and have no idea how to do it myself. I’m excited to learn how you came up with your blog’s great new look and hopefully implement some of your tips.

    • Marianne says:

      That’s great Leah! The premise of DYOB is to help DIY designers fix up their own blogs, so hopefully you can find some good stuff here 🙂

  • Amanda says:

    The water surrounding my website is stagnant, not that my site is literally surrounded by water, but it sits still as a blank domain.
    It doesn’t help that my time is limited as a mom to four.
    Inspirations for branding have been gathered, I’ve revised my logo(several times), and I know how I want my site to look and feel.

    The road block…
    What am I able to offer others that could become a profitable business?
    THAT is so hard, to give a name to what I want to do.
    In the past I would have called myself a blogger. You know, the ones, they get products in exchange for posting reviews or are payed to share sponsored posts. What are ‘those’ folks called?

    Ideas to stay grouped with ‘those’ entrepreneurs, offering a few of my interests along the lines of social media marketing, digital advertising, product photography, and printables.

    Thanks for opening your hands, heart, and time to helping package the ideas of many who struggle with the visuals, words, or like myself, their job discription.

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Amanda, I’ve been there. It’s tough to figure out what you want to “blog” about or share with others. Have you asked yourself what you’re good at that other people would want to learn from you? What can you share? I like all the ideas you had about social media, product photos and printables and I think that’s a place to start. A creative blog where you share tutorials, etc.

      As far as turning it into a business, I’d focus first on finding a… well… focus. Once you start sharing your stuff and seeing how poeple take to it and building an audience, THEN you can start worrying about how to make money.

      I set a goal for DYOB that i wouldn’t try to make any money for at least a year and I didn’t. This kept me true to myself and my audience so i could really discover what they wanted from me.

      Just some thoughts, hope it helps!

  • SandyT says:

    The design and particularly the colors used in your blog is what made me stay and begin to read. so in my point of view your Relaunch worked ;o)
    Thank you for all you tips

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