Designing a Better Blog

new-blogI’ve had several people ask me about my process for designing a new theme for a client (either for WordPress or just a static HTML page). Since all of my themes are custom made, I don’t use templates. However, I do use other sites for inspiration. I will spend a couple of hours browsing the internet, looking at sites to see what I like and don’t like and wait for inspiration to strike. As I’m looking around the internet, I will usually begin to see the final website in my mind.  That’s when I break out the pencil and paper.

I now do a rough (and I mean rough) sketch of the site layout. Nothing concrete, just placeholders so I can see the design on paper. I will have a location for the main links (whether they are vertical or horizontal), the main image, the header text, the logo and any image ideas (noted by a square with text in it). Once I have that. I set it down and walk away for a few hours. I play with my kids, talk to my wife, check my facebook and twitter stuff. Then I come back and see if I like my rough sketch. If I do, it’s off to my third step: the digital mockup

I use the 960 grid system for all of my layouts. So I crank up Photoshop and load in my 960 grid system template and start putting my rough sketch into a concrete design. I pick my colors, add the logo, any images I have and lorem ipsum text (filler text). Then I put it away for another few hours.

When I come back, I make sure I still like the layout and design. And then I send it to the client for approval.  And that’s my process. I know it’s the down and dirty method, but it’s the method I’ve always used, and it hasn’t let me down yet.

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