Sunday, July 11, 2010


As a writer, I read a lot of blogs. And, as a designer and artist, I often find myself subconsciously re-arranging the layouts, fonts and colors of the blogs I read.   
I cant help it, it's déformation professionnelle.  
When I find a beautiful, well-designed blog, I clap my hands and Tweet it. 
I’m not just confessing my personal preferences here, there actually are official rules of design and here are some that could be used to get the best results for your blog:  

Use DARK type on a WHITE or very pale background.  It's  clear and easy to read.  We blog readers are an impatient lot, so make it easy and pleasant for us to read your content fast. 

*  Light type on a dark background  may look dramatic, but in fact it's hard to read and gives readers a headache.   Even worse, is dark type on a dark background, practically illegible, how can you expect anyone to read this?  Light type on dark can work for a headline but not for reading a long piece.  Besides, a black page is depressing.  When I see a blog with a black background and a light font, I usually click off right away.  So do other readers.  This is a shame if you have good stuff for us to read.

*  Blogs with too many confusing elements, like lots of pictures, columns, clashing colours or flashing ads are also hard to read and are often skipped.
Type shouldn’t be too small or ornate to read comfortably or too BIG and SHOUTY.  A sans serif font like Verdana or Arial is more legible than Times or Georgia.
Spacing is also important: great slabs of text are off-putting.  A lack of margins is suffocating.  And too much space between paragraphs can cause readers to lose the thread and drift away.  

A peaceful-looking page with plenty of space, wide margins, a clear, easy-to-read header and maybe an interesting picture that tempts us into the generously paragraphed text, will make us more likely to enjoy your content and come back for more.

If you think it's the value of the words in your blog that counts and its appearance  doesn't matter, think again.  People can be turned off before they even get to your valuable prose.  We do judge books by their covers.


Terry Odell said...

Oh, I am SO with you on that light text, dark background thing. It's almost an immediate click-away when I see one. My aging eyes just plain can't read it.

Nora Lumiere said...

I don't think bloggers realise how overwhelming a dark page is and what an effort they're asking of their readers.
Thanks for visiting - I like your website.

Journaling Woman said...

I agree, I totally agree.


Rubber Onion said...

Interesting! I feel pretty good because some of those points I was able to figure out when designing my new blog ( but I think I have some work to do in how I write/present the info in the posts themselves.

Thanks for the article!

Nora Lumiere said...

Glad to be of assistance, Stephen!

Blu said...

Food for thought, yet white backgrounds hurt my eyes!

Nora Lumiere said...

Use a very pale colour like cream or pale grey for the background, it will soften the glare of white.
And, even though dark on white glares, it's not nearly as hard to read as white on black.

N. L. Lumiere said...

From @colinshelbourn on Twitter:

"Oops I've been using Georgia. Time for a redesign anyway."

N. L. Lumiere said...

Your blog ( looks fine to me but even though I follow you, it doesn't come up on my reading page ("we couldn't find a feed" it says.