Monday, June 11, 2012

Tutorial - Custom Blog Design

Posted By: Leah
**I'm over guest posting today on Before the I Do's on being HAPPY! Stop by and say Hi!**

Quite a few of you have commented on my adorable new cupcake custom blog design. I have had the fresh look for about a month and am so happy with it! In the past, I have always designed my own blogs, banners, buttons, etc. But I felt it was time to contact an actual, professional graphic artist for something extra unique. This is a tutorial on working with a graphic artist to create your dream blog design!

Before I contacted designers, I started noticing elements of blogs that I liked... I really liked those with non-white background (just because white's so common), I wanted the header to really flow with the whole blog, and I wanted tons of cute details. But simple, not too much clutter at the same time.

I contacted many many graphic artists. Some I found through blogs I liked the design of, but many were in the $350-$550 range and I just couldn't justify paying that. I knew that it would be necessary to pay, but I wanted to keep it affordable. I got on etsy and searched for some pre-made templates. Those are a really great way to get a cute blog. This is where I discovered Ilana with My Modern Vintage. Her custom, pre-made blog designs were soooo close to what I wanted! Really fun with cute elements. But none were exactly perfect, so I contacted Ilana to see what she would charge to turn my vision into a reality.

You guys, Ilana is awesome. She's from Australia and is the quickest graphic designer ever! At the time she did not have a custom blog package, so I told her what specifics I wanted and we went from there. If you've never worked with a graphic artist, it's really easy and fun! Usually they will give you a questionnaire to find out to find your preferences, tastes, and what you're looking for. I told Ilana everything and more and she started out sending me some options of graphics and a listing of web fonts to choose from. I took that site and found even MORE background textures and kawaii graphics that I loved. It was Ilana who combined my favorite things (hello kitty and cupcakes) and put the bows on the cupcakes! Almost like Hello Kitty cupcakes! LOVE IT!

Anyhow, if you are curious, here is the progression of my blog-update. I did print-screens after almost all of the changes. Ilana works fast, like I said, and within a week my blog was complete!

This was what I had designed on my own, no help. It's not bad at all... but I wanted something better.

Ilana would send me an active link to a live preview site and as I had changes, she would make them. It was great to have the preview site live, because I could click around and see how my blog really would look to the reader, however it never affected my current blog.

 Below is how it looks now. I had requested a three-pannel, but when I started adding sponsors and other stuff in the past week or so, it began looking really busy to me. Ilana designed the code in a way that I was able to customize the blog look and switch back to a two-panel on my own.

My favorite part of the blog update is the header. It's a transparent, layer (if you know anything about graphic design, those are TOUGH to do!) and it's awesome! I really wanted a textured background and I love how it works out. I also really love the cupcakes, they are awesome! And the patterned letters and textured letters in the header. I just really really love it all! 

I already mentioned this in my tutorial on how to make your blog a .com, but to reiterate, I think it's really important to invest in the look of your blog. You spend so much time writing the content, editing and uploading photos... the first impression or 'look' of your blog should reflect you. Even before the reader take the time to read a post. And as a side-note it's OKAY if everyone who stumbles upon your blog does not immediately follow you. As blog-followers go, it's QUALITY over quantity. I've mentioned this before, but my blog gets over 6,000 hits a day (thanks google images for the love and top photos) and I only have 157 followers. 

I let Ilana know I was writing this post on my great experience with her and guess what? She has offered you, the readers of Lovely Life of Leah a 10% discount if you purchase a custom blog design. From her etsy shop, My Modern Vintage. All you need to do to get the discount is just mention me and she'll hook you up :)


  1. Hi! I just wanted to come over to your blog and let you know I read your guest post on "Before the I do's" and really appreciated it! It was great advice and although I'm not a mom, I liked the part about "me time." Just getting to be ok with taking time for me. Just started following your blog.. excited for the journey!

  2. your new look is awesome! i never thought to print screen while you're making changes. when i decide to make changes, i go through a million changes until i land on something i like best. print screen would really help me with that.


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