So... I've done a little redecorating. I mean, I'm sure you noticed on your own, but like any girl who has just had her highlights done spectacularly well, I'm too excited to wait for anyone to say something first. While we're talking about changes, I also redesigned my author website, choosing a new template, colors, etc.
This isn't my first redesign of Change the Word or the author site. If you've been following the blog for much of the past four years, then you'll know we've had a lot of looks. Like this:
Most recently this:
All paired with a busy background of some sort. That's not even to mention a series of other barely customized blogger displays, which I never kept on record.
But now that I'm published and wanting to take myself a little more seriously as a writer, I decided I should take a more serious approach to my branding as an author.
It wasn't until I started working on a consistent, but still unique, look for the blog and my author website that I realized I'd already done this a bit. I've been super consistent with fonts and style on the promotional materials I put together for Hard Hats and Doormats. The bookmarks, postcards and posters use the same font (Century Gothic). It has a nice range of bold and italics, and I just like how clean it looks.
(I'm still not thrilled with how pale that poster printed! Alas, perfection is something I must constantly try to reach!)
For the color scheme, I visited Design Seeds, one of my favorite websites, to look for inspiration. I stumbled upon on this gem, called Surf Hues, when I was actually looking at hues for another project:
I chose this, because this photo made me happy. And I liked the options available with this palette: purple, blues, pinks and brown. I felt like this was something I could play with for a while.
Using my limited graphic design skills I made the book and pen in Adobe Illustrator, paired it with the fonts in InDesign and there you have it. Two new looks for one hopefully more cohesive brand.
For the actual layouts, I use customized templates on the Blogger and WordPress platforms, and toyed around with the fonts to see what looked best on screen. There was nothing very scientific about this at all. I'm still making some changes to the menu options and sidebars on both websites, but those are elements I consider to be almost as living/breathing/susceptible to change as the content itself.
Some things haven't changed. I'm not going to go back and edit the logos I created for past series to better align with the new look. With hundreds of posts in my history, I don't have the patience to tackle such a major undertaking. Plus, it's kind of part of this blog's history. I'm also going to keep using lower cases for the headlines. This was a style I used from the beginning (Why? I can't remember.), and it's part of the charm. Or something like that.
One thing I'll admit -- this is supposed to be on a white background, but for whatever reason, whenever I upload these new designs to blogger it comes up with a gray tint. This didn't happen with my other logos, but instead of fighting it, I decided to embrace it and changed the backgrounds accordingly. Otherwise, I'd originally planned to have an all white background to make the look more crisp and clean like laurachapmanbooks.com.
I'm sure I still have room to grow on developing my brand (God, I feel pretentious whenever I talk about "my brand"), but I'm happy with where this landed for now.
Here's a question for my fellow bloggers/authors/people interested in this sort of thing: What role does branding play in what you do? Any tips or lessons learned?
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