I discovered Katelyn Brooke on Twitter late last year and have loved watching her blog grow with her incredible design skills!
Today she’s talking with us about how she fell into design and how designing your blog is a lot like decorating your house!
This post is part of the Meet the Blog Designer series, a series from the perspective of female blog designers.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you get started in web/blog design? How long have you been doing it for?
After I graduated from college and got married, I found myself in a small town where jobs were scarce. I’d blogged through college, and in an effort to DIY design my own blog, discovered the world of web design and development.
I never would have guessed this would be my job, but it’s a great fit for me! I started taking clients in November of 2011, so I’m going on 3 years with my business.
Do you have your own business or do you freelance on the side while working full time?
I have my own business!
What blogging platforms do you prefer to work with?
I almost exclusively work with WordPress, but I’ve done a few projects on Shopify. I really like both!
What type of clients do you look for? Do you specialize in a certain market? Any particular reason why?
I look for clients who have a clear understanding of their own style. It doesn’t have to be concrete necessarily – but clients who are thinking about design regularly, even if it’s in a different field, tend to be the best fit for me.
I’ve found that I really enjoy working with interior designers, event planners, and stationery designers. These women usually come to me with a great sense of their personal style and just need me to help complete the web (and sometimes branding) part of the puzzle.
A few months ago you redesigned your own blog. Would you mind sharing with us your process: How you came upon the final decision for your design, what factors you took into consideration, etc?
I tried to really consider the kind of content I publish these days, and how I wanted the blog page to integrate with the rest of my site. I wanted the blog page to be special somehow, and allow readers to see more of the graphics that I create for my blog posts.
I removed the primary logo from the top of the page, and opted to include a secondary mark as the header at the top of the sidebar. This seemed to solve both of those issues!
[What a unique idea! – Marianne]
Your Thoughts on Design and Redesigns
What is your favorite part about redesigning a blog or website?
I love getting to know my client’s personal style and crafting their web layout based on their strengths, and what they want to present to the world.
What do you feel is the most important thing to keep in mind when redesigning a blog?
Showcasing the content is the most important thing, but after that I think it’s about creating an experience that is unique and that readers will remember. There are so many blogs out there, and your blog design and branding can help you stand out in a way that people will remember you.
What is your method for selecting a color palette?
Lately clients have come to me with a very clear vision for their palettes (which is great!) but I also take them through a mood board process, collaborating with the client to select images that reflect their brand, and then looking for colors there. Pinterest is always great for finding colors!
What is your method for selecting a font palette?
This one is a little trickier sometimes, because it all depends on the feel the client is going for. Different combinations of fonts, colors, styles, and weights can create a variety of feels. I try to stick to one or two different web fonts on a site, and let the logo and style that we’re trying to capture drive the rest.
What advice do you have for a blogger who wants to do a few small touches to their blog’s design to spruce it up?
Think about what you can remove just as much as what you can add. Sometimes what we don’t put on our blog can make just as big of an impact as the things we choose to include.
[That’s so true! – Marianne]
What are your favorite trends in blog design at the moment?
I love painted lettering and watercolor! I hope that’s one that doesn’t go away any time soon.
What blog design trends do you wish would go away?
I feel like some sites are so focused on capturing email addresses, that they lose site of attracting people to stick around in the first place.
What is your biggest pet peeve about the design of some blogs?
This is kind of picky, but I really like to see a date somewhere on a blog post. A lot of designers and bloggers have stripped all dates from their blogs, and for someone like me who has digested a lot of blog content over time, having no frame of reference makes it more confusing for me as a reader when I stumble upon an old post of a blog I’ve read for a while.
[I agree, that drives me crazy sometimes – Marianne]
Is there anything you feel people spend too much time on (in terms of design) that is really not that important?
I think people worry about responsive design too much. As long as your site looks the same on all browsers, it’s not the end of the world if your site isn’t responsive. Sometimes responsive design definitely enhances the reading experience, but other times it’s just not worth stressing about.
Wrappin’ It Up
Do you have anything else you’d like to tell us about design?
Getting your blog design right is a process, and there’s no design that will be perfect forever. It’s a lot like decorating your house – you build it over time, and some rooms are sometimes more perfect than others.
And just when you thought you had everything right, you’ll have the urge to switch things up! That’s okay, and taking the time to really get it right at the moment you’re designing it is worth it. But it’s also not something that has to be stressful, so have fun with it!
[Great analogy Kate! – Marianne]
Do you have anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?
I’m really into Pinterest. A lot. Come find me over there! Katelyn Brooke on Pinterest.
Thanks Katelyn for taking the time to tell us about you, your business and your processes. It was great to learn from a pro with a great eye for design!
Be sure to sign up for Katelyn’s newsletter here: http://katelynbrooke.com/blog and if you’re at the point that you’re ready to hire a designer, be sure to check out her portfolio.
Got questions for Katelyn? The comment section below is the perfect place to ask!
And as always, please share this with your network if you found it useful.
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Great interview! Was nice to get to know Kate a little better. Her designs are awesome!
Hi Carmia, thanks for reading. I loved getting to know more about her too!
I totally agree with having dates on blog posts! Especially when it comes to tutorials. I like to know how long ago they were written. I’ve even started included last updated date on my posts, so that my readers know if the post has been updated.
I totally agree Kristie! And definitely like it when posts indicate they’ve been updated. I think that’s a great way to keep content and tutorials relevant on your blog instead of just removing the dates and essentially “tricking” people into thinking an old post may be recent.
No design will be perfect forever … I really agree with the title. I am always improving my blog, constantly changing ..
It’s so true! And just when you get to a stopping point, it’s time for a complete redesign! That’s where I’m at anyway 🙂