45 Excellent Blog Designs

Advertisement

Designing a blog is easy. Whatever engine you are using and whatever style you prefer, you’ll always find a number of templates you can apply to your weblog in seconds. No styling is necessary, no playing with colors is needed and no mind jogging about content presentation is required. However, not every weblog should look like a typical blog. After all, not every blogger wants his or her site to look exactly like hundreds of other ones. In fact, there is a small bunch of creative, outstanding and individually designed from scratch blogs.

In this post we didn’t try to showcase some eye-candy (although sometimes eye-candy is indeed offered); the designs listed below were selected for their attention to small details. Pretty and colourful header-graphics doesn’t make a good blog. The blog needs a solid visual structure, a profound hierarchy of site elements; it also has to be able to build some kind of a bridge between the content and its presentation. To do this, you need to think about precision, minimalism and sound use of illustration. These criteria were the ones we’ve used to select the designs listed below. All these aspects make the designs we’ve selected look… well, not always beautiful, but outstanding, almost excellent in their own kind. Mostly it’s the idea the designers used to make the weblog as usable as possible – not the implementation of this idea – which we’ve been after.

Below you’ll find 45 excellent blog designs which impress with creative approaches and attention to details; hopefully you’ll find new ideas you can develop further in your own designs.

Notice that the screenshots we’ve provided may give you a wrong impression about the whole design of the sites; in doubt you should take a closer look at headers, footers, comment-areas, site structure and further site elements. Please also notice that you can click on screenshots to get to the sites from which the screenshots have been taken.

We’ve missed something? Definitely! Let us know in the comments!

Weblogs powered by Django Link

Ryan Berg (Django)

Screenshot1

Derek Featherstone (Django)

Screenshot2

Jeff Croft (Django)

Screenshot3

Andy Hume (Django)

Screenshot4

Weblogs powered by ExpressionEngine Link

Jesse Bennett-Chamberlain (Expression Engine)
Whitespace in use. The categories and popular entries are listed at the top of the page, not in the sidebar as they usually are.

Screenshot5

Veerle Pieters

An almost “classic”, well-known design, but still incredibly beautiful. Veerle makes use of a dark layout with quite colourful scheme. The result is impressive – and the position of site elements extremely well thought-out.

Screenshot6

Emanuel Blagonic (Expression Engine WordPress)

Screenshot7

Weblogs powered by MovableType Link

Kevin Kornell (Movable Type)
A typical weblog doesn’t look like an illustrated magazine. Kevin Kornell’s blog does. This one makes use of an “oldie”-style.

Screenshot8

Cameron Moll

Screenshot9

Dave Shea (Movable Type)

Screenshot10

Dan Cederholm (Movable Type)

Screenshot11

Weblogs powered by Textpattern Link

Praegnanz.de (Textpattern)
A minimalistic approach with clean web-typography.

Screenshot12

Hicksdesign (Textpattern)

Screenshot13

Geniant (Textpattern)

Screenshot14

Blogs powered by WordPress Link

Circle Six (WordPress)

Screenshot15

Pedro Lamin (WordPress)
Fresh and clean design, lacking almost everything – there is even no navigation in blog categories.

Screenshot16

Design Disease (WordPress)

Screenshot17

Surfgarden (WordPress)

Screenshot18

Dan Rubin (WordPress)

Screenshot19

NorthxEast (WordPress)

Screenshot20

Larissa Meek (WordPress)

Screenshot21

Matt (WordPress)
A Business-Design. Look at the information sections on the left side of the layout.

Screenshot22

Agenturblog (WordPress)

Screenshot23

Ben Gillbanks (WordPress)

Screenshot24

Rik Catlow (WordPress)

Screenshot25

FreelanceSwitch (WordPress)

Screenshot26

John Boardley (WordPress)

Screenshot27

Shaun Inman (WordPress custom PHP-Framework. Thanks, Shaun)

Screenshot28

Mstefan.com (WordPress)

Screenshot29

Screenz (WordPress)

Screenshot30

Screencasting (WordPress)

Screenshot31

Blog.Critical (WordPress)

Screenshot32

Wan Zafran (WordPress)

Screenshot33

Viki (WordPress)
Extensive use of visual elements prevails; it might be a nice idea, but the content should prevail.

Screenshot34

Nick La (WordPress)
Playful design with dozens of swirls, curves and artistic elements.

Screenshot35

Laura Alter (WordPress)

Screenshot36

Markus Zeeh (WordPress)
Playful flower-images and ornaments seem to be trends.

Screenshot37

Sidney Collins (WordPress)

Screenshot38

Roman Leinwather (WordPress)

Screenshot39

Bottled Sky (WordPress)
Probably not the most gorgeous layout ever made, but well-structured. The use of colors communicates the idea of the site.

Screenshot40

Johanna Hallin (WordPress)

Screenshot41
Screenshot42

Cabana (WordPress)
Sometimes it is an interesting approach to use a “thin” layout, although it should rather be an exception.

Screenshot43

Reflections (WordPress)

Screenshot44
Screenshot45

Further Weblogs Link

Abduzeedo (Drupal)
Stylish, readable and clean. The site doesn’t look like blog at all – at least at the first glance.

Screenshot46

Jonathan Snook (CakePHP)

Screenshot47

Even more inspiration! Link

Apart from numerous galleries of CSS-based designs you might find useful the following showcases of weblogs designed on specific plattforms.

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 http://ryanberg.net/blog/
  2. 2 http://ironfeathers.ca
  3. 3 http://www2.jeffcroft.com/blog/2007/aug/09/myth-content-and-presentation-separation/
  4. 4 http://usabletype.com
  5. 5 http://31three.com/weblog
  6. 6 http://veerle.duoh.com
  7. 7 http://www.emanuelblagonic.com/
  8. 8 http://www.bearskinrug.co.uk
  9. 9 http://www.cameronmoll.com
  10. 10 http://www.mezzoblue.com
  11. 11 http://www.simplebits.com
  12. 12 http://www.praegnanz.de
  13. 13 http://www.hicksdesign.co.uk
  14. 14 http://geniantsandbox.com
  15. 15 http://blog.circlesixdesign.com/
  16. 16 http://www.pedrolamin.com.br/
  17. 17 http://wp-themes.designdisease.com/
  18. 18 http://www.surfgarden.de
  19. 19 http://superfluousbanter.org/archives/2007/04/web-20-cultists/
  20. 20 http://www.northxeast.com
  21. 21 http://www.larissameek.com
  22. 22 http://webrevolutionary.com/
  23. 23 http://www.agenturblog.de/
  24. 24 http://www.binarymoon.co.uk/
  25. 25 http://www.rikcat.com/
  26. 26 http://freelanceswitch.com/
  27. 27 http://ilovetypography.com/
  28. 28 http://www.shauninman.com
  29. 29 http://www.mstefan.com
  30. 30 http://www.screenz.de/rubrik/screencasts/
  31. 31 http://www.screencasting.de
  32. 32 http://blog.criticalwebdesign.co.uk/
  33. 33 http://www.wanzafran.com/archives/
  34. 34 http://www.vikiworks.com/2007/08/24/a-nice-pullquote/
  35. 35 http://www.webdesignerwall.com/
  36. 36 http://lauraalter.com/blog
  37. 37 http://www.mein.meerblickzimmer.de/
  38. 38 http://bubblessoc.net/
  39. 39 http://www.lewro.com/
  40. 40 http://bottledsky.com/
  41. 41 http://www.johannahallin.se/
  42. 42 http://www.johannahallin.se/
  43. 43 http://cabanadigital.com/weblog/
  44. 44 http://paulenderson.com/
  45. 45 http://paulenderson.com/
  46. 46 http://www.abduzeedo.com/
  47. 47 http://www.snook.ca
  48. 48 http://txpmag.com/all_sites
  49. 49 http://www.djangosites.org/latest/
  50. 50 http://www.djangoproject.org/
  51. 51 http://expressionengine.com/showcase/websites/

↑ Back to top Tweet itShare on Facebook

Sven is the co-founder and former CEO of Smashing Magazine. He's now writing at his Conterest Blog, where he focuses on blogs, content strategy and publishing — all in German.

Advertisement
  1. 1

    ShaunInman.com runs on WordPress? Really??? I can’t belive that…

    -2
  2. 2

    lol my blog not listed. (kidding) great collections.

    -1
  3. 3

    WOW!!! rly great Designs there…
    if i weren’t a designer, i would chose this one:
    http://www.vikiworks.com/2007/08/24/a-nice-pullquote/

    -2
  4. 4

    Perfect timing… I’m in the midst of designing the blog right now :)

    Thanks!

    -1
  5. 5

    some very cool designs. some “standard” templates for wordpress like Illacrimo are also pretty good. Ours too at http://www.lets-jam.com. ;-)

    0
  6. 6

    Another great compilation but Agenturblog is hardly impressive by any stretch. I always liked these guys who I think you featured among a compilation b4. Green is nice.

    0
  7. 7

    Yeah, great collections! These are good examples of functional and beautiful Designs :)

    3
  8. 8

    There are some inspiring blog designs
    What do you think of my

    1
  9. 10

    Nice list. Do you guys tell people you’re featuring them? Sidney (bubblessoc.net) will be over the moon about being here…

    0
  10. 11

    Nice list as usual! That’s great for inspiration. Thanks!

    0
  11. 12

    Great list. I’ve had a lot of those bookmarked for inspiration.

    -2
  12. 13

    At last, I can have my grave stone completed with the following epithet:

    As Featured in Smashing Magazine

    And what’s more I’m next to Shaun Inman’s blog (much better design than mine). A double honour. Three cheers for the inimitable SM.

    1
  13. 14

    Really made my work much easier, otherwise it gets soooo… confusing at times.

    Vijay

    1
  14. 15

    Russell Heimlich

    August 28, 2007 4:34 am

    This brings up an interesting question I have always had. Do people really browse by category? I know it depends on your content but I’m under the idea of being extremely minimalist for the simple fact that I want people to read my stuff and not be distracted by widgets, and stats, and blogroll links etc.

    What is everyone elses take on this?

    -1
  15. 16

    I think these sites are more popular than excellent.

    1
  16. 17

    Good list, although some of them don’t work in ALL browsers very well.

    1
  17. 18

    Great Collection always…
    Smashing Magazine..U r Ultimate…

    -1
  18. 19

    Wow … talk about a wordpress overload ;) !

    1
  19. 20

    Administradorchicas

    August 28, 2007 5:12 am

    The Surfgarden blog is my favorite design, congrats.

    -1
  20. 21

    Shit, they forgot abaut my blog…. again:p Thats okey, i didnt want to be listed anyway:D

    -1
  21. 22

    No avalonstar love?

    -1
  22. 23

    nice collection :)

    great to see these layed out next to each other, on just this list there are more better wordpress designers… but I say someone needs to start a CMS design competition, wordpress vs expressionengine vs moveable type vs etc…

    -1
  23. 24

    Thank you for presenting me! That is a big honor for me. I am speechless. Thanks again.

    0
  24. 25

    I really love Kineda. I believe they use WordPress.

    0
  25. 26

    nice post people

    0
  26. 27

    I believe freelanceswitch.com is powered by Light CMS, not WordPress. Could be wrong.

    Also, though I love some of the tips and tricks type lists you guys do, it seems that most of these gallery items – all of which I’ve seen on the gallery sites previously – seem to be nothing more than attempts at links to/from recognized names. I’d love to see more content that the rest of us would actually have to dig to find (like the 80 AJAX or 70 CSS lists). That’s the stuff I subscribed for. Keep up the good work, all the same.

    0
  27. 28

    Yay! Thanks a lot for including our blog in such a nice selection! We are very honored :)

    Thanks a lot!

    -2
  28. 29

    Wow – you listed Binary Moon. Thanks a lot :)

    There’s an awful lot of other pretty sites in there too. I’m going to have to check them all out properly.

    0
  29. 30

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    August 28, 2007 4:14 pm

    Andrew Swihart, Textpattern is also featured, scroll down, please.

    0
  30. 31

    How dare you mention MovableType and leave out Txp, lol.

    1
  31. 32

    Wow… some very inspirational work here, inspires me to re-design my own blog.

    0
  32. 33

    Nice collection indeed.
    personally I very much like Nick La layout.Simple yet attractive One column theme,but I like more on left hand sidebar though.

    0
  33. 34

    Hi, here’s another clean blog design, powered by Textpattern: http://www.puredesign.ro

    0
  34. 35

    Great designs. Just when I thought I was almost done with my redesign I see these. Time for some more tweaking haha.

    0
  35. 36

    I’m (not really) sorry, but most of these designs are probably appealing, but they don’t work. Usability tests will fail with yet simple tasks, and this is the real tragedy here. It’s – not only due to current discussion – more appropriate to talk about “excellent blog decorations”, I fear.

    0
  36. 37

    You’ve missed Matt Brett’s blog. He’s definitely got the most beatiful WordPress blog ever imo. [http://mattbrett.com].

    Nice list anyways!

    0
  37. 38

    great! list! but
    alistapart .com ?

    -1
  38. 39

    I always need some inspiration, great! thanks..

    -1
  39. 40

    The new design I’m working on is definitely making the next list. I CANNOT wait to finish and release it!

    -1
  40. 41

    Hi

    We use Serendipity, an open source platform which works qute well. Our blog is v minimalist…its a Zen thing :)

    0
  41. 43

    I thought blogs did not have their own domain names!
    I thought they were something like name.blogspot.com

    Why these blogs have their own domain name?

    Is there a blog engine to be downloaded and uploaded to a separate ftp space?

    0
  42. 44

    Thanks for including my blog in this great selection… I wasn’t expecting… I always use your lists to get inspired by…

    0
  43. 45

    Am lovin’ some of these designs – especially blogonic and freelance switch – once again another great list from SM :)

    KUTGW

    0
  44. 46

    @ alan p: we also use serendipity, but ours looks quite different ;-)

    0
  45. 47

    ilker -=- The Thinking Blog

    August 28, 2007 7:43 pm

    What about blogs powered by Blogger?

    0
  46. 48

    Wow, nice blog designs, some of my favorites are in there too! :)

    0
  47. 49

    Wow! I’m incredibly honoured to be featured guys! SM has long been a daily read for me, and I’ve been inspired by many of your articles – so to be included in one of your famous roundups is amazing! :D

    Thank you so much..! :)

    0
  48. 50

    You know what I like about this list? 2 things: It proves that you can make a beautiful weblog with any of the popular applications out there, and it has a very wide range of blog designs; there’s no one style that dominates this list. You did a great job picking them out, and now I feel like redesigning mine!

    0
  49. 51

    Thanks for putting me on the list. The list is good, the list is life…

    0
  50. 52

    Excellent list of blog designs. A true source of inspiration for sure :)

    0

↑ Back to top