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29/05/2010 / mygirlbetty

Does My Blog Look Big In This?

So, as with any of my entries, one about design is a bit of a fine line. My blog is essentially about the idea of being kind of ok at stuff and in general. But it’s also a blog that I wouldn’t be violently opposed to people reading. So when making the design choices afforded to me by WordPress, I could choose something to go with the “average” vibe of my niche, or I could make my blog all fancy pants so unsuspecting readers are lured by my shiny shiny background and clean, crisp finish.

Cos that’s what comes to mind when we think of a nice looking blog, isn’t it? It is for me, anyway. Clean, neat lines, not too many colours, a kind of readable but ever so slightly personalized font. I guess I have been brainwashed into the Facebook=good looking camp, standing notably opposite the MySpace=hideous camp, with it’s glittery dirt tents and cat graphed port-a-loos.

Veering back ever so slightly to the subject of my blog in particular, the design choices that I have made, I have done so to line up with my niche. Fonts are of course the stationary lovers dream playground, and I did start to think about what font could properly do my particular brand of self indulgent drivel justice. My blog is about being average, so perhaps a font that seems more handwriting-esque would convey the right vibe, conjuring up images of me seated, pen in hand, tongue jutting out the corner of my mouth as I labour to ineffectively chronicle my thoughts. I however found Typekits fairly difficult to use, and then was distracted by my theme.

Originally I dug the idea of a picture across the top of the page, as I think it looks neat, but sort of stylish and individualistic. I love a white background too, I feel it is suggestive of a blog that doesn’t take itself too seriously and relies on its content to make any point it chooses to. But then I was seduced by a Paperpunch, a theme with nice big letters at the top, and an uncomplicated layout. I made the background a slightly apricot colour so it didn’t look too flat with the large white text panels. And I really like the result. Giggle. Deciding not to worry about the font as it’s nice and readable, I have ended up with a sort of normal font, and sort of normal layout, which I feel is sort of appropriate.

So many things are communicated by presentation. I was looking around my room before, and realising just how much crap I have in here.  There’s colours, and postcards and books and huge trashy framed pictures everywhere, and I love it that way because I think it reflects me, and all of my loud, soft, garish and pastel bits. In every part of our lives we make decisions about what we want to represent, and we also make assumptions about everything we see, based on what we see.  This is the way society works, a lot of the time, and people and blogs are not different.

I wish I didn’t judge by appearances, but its so easy and usually partially accurate. If I ever let an errant gaze wander over to a guy I might think is cute, the first thing I do is look at his shoes. Trashy example? Well how about this?

radparty1 by Jonathon Mayhew.

Some might say this is a tacky gathering of tacky pictures to make a larger, tackier picture. Others might say someone was having a laugh. On appearances, and depending on your viewpoint, either of those could be true. It could also be said that this is an artwork put together using old and or discarded pictures that are often considered tacky or kitsch to make something new. This is actually true. While Jonathan Mayhew’s work is not technically dirtstyle,  it does bring to mind the it’s so bad it’s good vibe that dirtstyle represents.

The whole dirtstyle thing can be approached from either the “oh Lord, why would I want a dancing baby/ starry night background/cat anywhere near my blog or the the ones I love?!” point of view or the “I believe dirt style graphics are an ode to where we once were technologically, and also are cool, as all that once was lame, is now excellent” point of view. It’s all about perception.

And so I could create a page full of bits and bobs and colour and flashing stuff (had I the money and the technical know how), to maybe give more of myself as an author away, or to appeal to those that like the dirtstyle asthetic, but I won’t be doing that.

As stated previously, I prefer a “neat” looking page. And neat for me means no dancing anything,

no huge cats,

and totally, definately no glitter.. as I think it looks like crap.

The moral of the story being, whilst dirt style graphics and retro themes are fun for some and a useful method of expression for others, I missed the first wave of the old www, so I don’t really feel the need to be nostalgic and I believe less is more. In relation to my blog, anyways. If you want to see tacky crap, you can come over to my house.

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