Intro

The death of the boring blog post?

Let’s face it: the classic blog post is boring.

Barring the text and images, each one generally has the exact same layout. We see little originality from one post to the next. Of course, consistency and branding are extremely important to consider when designing a website or blog, but what about individuality? Does a blog post about kittens deserve the same layout as one about CSS hacks?

Standard Blogs in Death of the blog post

Too Easy?

Jason1 in Death of the blog post1

Because installing a WordPress theme is so easy, anyone can have a blog up and running in minutes. While this is great, and we now have a wealth of blogs on countless topics, perhaps it’s too easy? Just thinking about the endless hours of effort that a print designer puts into creating the custom layout of a magazine article makes one respect the finished product so much more.

A few individuals out there, though, are really breaking the mold of the blogosphere.

Dustin1 in Death of the blog post2

These guys aren’t using standard WordPress themes or cutting corners to make their lives easier. Rather, they are challenging themselves and producing some fantastic content.

Pushing yourself to create original layouts and designs customized to the content of each post is a fascinating and entertaining way to build a blog.

Greg1 in Death of the blog post3

But why has this trend of melding blog post and magazine article, the “blogazine,” not caught on with the masses?

The <cringe>Trend</cringe> with a difference

Hearing the word “trend” makes us designers shudder because we picture overused glossy buttons, drop-shadows and reflections. But the blogazine trend could be unlike other trends for a few special reasons. Designing a creative layout for each new blog post, based on the content itself, requires skill, patience, dedication to the content and, most of all, effort on the part of the designer!

Let’s now look at three people who exhibit all four qualities:

Pioneers Arrow in Death of the blog post

The Pioneers

Jason Santa Maria4

is one of the early innovators of this style of blogging and has been creating custom blog post designs since June 2008. With a background in print design, Jason had a vision to create a blog more in the style of a magazine, rather than obey the established rules of blog design.

While, yes, this is a redesign of sorts, I consider it much more a rethinking.

~ Jason Santa Maria

Jason Work in Death of the blog post5

Jason’s blog posts are fascinating and cover a wide range of topics, including design, typography, books, photography and film. The differences in the designs are sometimes just subtle changes in background or typography, but each conveys an entirely distinct message that it couldn’t if it was uniform with the rest.

Sometimes the changes are radical, but every one still has an element of “Jason-ness.” The header and footer are usually consistent, but even without them, you can still tell a Jason Santa Maria post from a quick glace.

We’ve made so many advancements in how we publish content that we haven’t looked back to what it is we’re actually creating. Many of us see the clear separation between things like print design and web design, but I’ve really been questioning the reality of why things are this way.

~ Jason Santa Maria

We Web designers don’t want to be regarded as lazy. Do we?

We have some of the

most creative and inspiring designers

in our profession, so why don’t we show our true potential in our blog articles?

Dustin Curtis6

got a lot of publicity with his open letter to American Airlines7, in which he suggests a dramatic redesign and rethinking of its online customer experience. The articles on Dustin’s blog are incredibly fascinating, and this user experience designer has clearly put serious thought into each one.

Dustin Airline in Death of the blog post8

I got the chance to speak with Dustin about his work:

Dustin Brain in Death of the blog post9
What prompted you to create a “blogazine” instead of a traditional blog?

I’m never satisfied with my work. Invariably, two weeks after finishing a design, I feel like I can do better. When I originally tried to design my blog, I kept finishing a design, hating it and starting over. This happened ten or twelve times until I finally gave up. Eventually, I realized that each post could stand on its own and be its own design that fit the content. Despite the holdbacks of HTML and CSS, it has worked much better than I had even anticipated.

Does having a blogazine really boost your creativity when it comes to creating a post?

The blogazine style does seem to boost creativity, and by a huge amount. I feel an intense amount of freedom when I’m not constrained by the box of a pre-formed design. I can open Photoshop and use it as a word processor with design functionality. The design really does complement — and become — the content, because they are built simultaneously, without regard for any of the other stuff on the website.

I feel an intense amount of freedom when I’m not constrained by the box of pre-formed design.

Dustin Twitter in Death of the blog post10

Where do you get your inspiration for your blog articles?

I get inspiration from everywhere. I’m fascinated by medicine and the human brain. So many of my articles center on interesting things that I’ve learned while studying neuroscience. Sometimes I’ll start with a single word, like “sleep,” and develop it into a whole article as I research the fringes of the field. There’s really no set source of inspiration.

Advantages?
Disadvantages?

The main advantage is one I didn’t anticipate. Doing a blogazine article requires a lot more work than a traditional blog post, and that has kept me on my toes; because such a large investment is required, I publish only what I feel are my best articles.

The biggest disadvantage is that CSS and HTML are terrible technologies that weren’t designed for page layout. They were designed for structured content presentation, like for a newspaper, where all the elements throughout the website are the same and are re-used. But I’m trying to make a magazine, where the content and presentation are inextricably mixed and unique. The way presentation CSS is supposed to be decoupled from the content HTML is totally counter to the mission I am trying to accomplish, and it makes coding the articles frustrating, messy and time-consuming.

This seems to keep the quality fairly high. I start four or five articles for every one I publish. If I had a normal blog, that wouldn’t be the case — the other four articles would be published too, even though they wouldn’t be as good as the ones I do end up publishing.

My solution to this problem has basically been to ignore convention and use inline styling for most of the presentation code and extract the website-wide presentation layer into a separate CSS document. This takes forever and is not ideal. To put it lightly, I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with CSS.

What if a print magazine

used the same template for every article?

It would be pretty boring, no?

Gregory Wood11

is a website designer at Erskine Design12 and has created his website as an experiment in art direction. Not allowing himself to use the same old templates, Greg has created a fascinating website, with custom designs for each blog post.

Greg Work in Death of the blog post13

Here’s what Greg had to say when I spoke with him:

Greg Interview in Death of the blog post14
What prompted you to create a blogazine instead of a traditional blog?

Well, I’ve had a blog for ages and have always been bad at keeping it regularly updated, until I custom-designed a few of the posts sometime last year. I generally hate writing about Web-related stuff (I find it all a little boring), and I love designing, so I wrote about what I wanted (music and zombies) and designed each post around the content, although still housed in my old blog layout. The reception to the posts was really nice, and I enjoyed creating them, so for my latest website I set out to cater to that same audience and keep myself happily occupied at the same time.

Does having a blogazine really boost your creativity when it comes to creating a post?

I wouldn’t say it boosts my creativity; the website is more of an outlet for it. Despite spending all week being creative at Erskine Design15, it’s still quite liberating to design whatever you want, however you want, with no external influence.

Because it’s all nicely designed, readers are drawn in and end up reading more than one post.

Where do you get your inspiration for your blog articles?

Usually I think of my best ideas when cycling or sitting on a tram or bus. It’s been a big thing on the Web over the years, where you get your inspiration from, and I’ve never really understood it. I think that looking at other people’s work all the time for inspiration is massively constricting. I find staring out a window for a while usually helps.

Advantages?
Disadvantages?

The obvious advantage is that it looks better. But the content is infinitely more captivating as well. I’m not a great writer, and I probably write a lot of bullshit, but because it’s all nicely designed, readers are drawn in and end up reading more than one post. It’s also very fun to create and helps me grow as a designer.

I guess some would say the time factor is a disadvantage, but if you love doing something, spending a lot of time doing it is justified.

I can’t think of any disadvantages.

The Microblogging Revolution

Twitter16, Posterous17, Flickr18, Facebook19, the iPhone20 and countless other services make it incredibly easy for us to instantly post short musings, photos, video, thoughts and creations, which in turn has created a big gap between the micro post and the macro post.

Time for the macro post to shine

Longer blog posts with valuable content might not get the recognition they deserve, because the 140-character mindset turns people off of reading several pages of text. One way to combat this and make your content more appealing is by creatively altering the layout, using the blogazine technique.

Bridging the gap

We don’t know exactly where the world of blogging is headed in the next few years, but the increase in micro-blogging will definitely be a strong influence. Shorter attention spans call for drastic changes to the length of blog posts. Blogazines could cater to a generation accustomed to the longer articles of newspapers and magazines, becoming a bridge between the traditional article and the TwitPic.

Forces you to think more creatively

Slipping into the habit of typing up your thoughts and clicking “Post,” without thinking about the layout of each article, is easy. By taking a little extra time for the art of blogging, your creativity will increase with your efforts.

Something different and exciting for your readers

If .Net21 or Computer Arts22 printed every article with the same layout, every month, would you still subscribe? Your readers would more likely return for new articles if they anticipate something new and rewarding.

Reduces the number of short simple posts

Your blog posts will have much more weight if you take the time to create a full article, rather than knock of a rushed post.

Makes wordy posts more readable

If all you have is text, text, text, then people will be less likely to read it. Put a little effort into styling the content, and your post will become much more readable.

It takes serious effort

Hand-crafting each blog post won’t be easy, but the rewards will be well worth it.

You need CSS and HTML experience

Anyone can download a WordPress theme and merrily post an article. But building a custom layout requires some experience with CSS and HTML.

Inconsistency

The layout of your blog will change dramatically from post to post and, if not done right, may strike your readers as being awkwardly inconsistent. Just look at Jason Santa Maria’s work. Every post is radically different for a reason, but a consistent vein runs through the posts.

No print layout experience

Because this style borrows many elements from print design, anyone who has worked only in Web design may find it difficult to change their way of thinking. Rules of typography and white space, for example, may throw you off. But practice makes perfect, and an endless supply of inspiration can be found in creative magazines.

Foryou Question in Death of the blog post

Obviously this style isn’t suitable for every website. It wouldn’t be practical for blogs that pump out three or four articles a day, but certain types of websites could benefit from it especially.

Portfolios

We have a habit of following trends very easily, especially in our portfolios. Instead of following the tired old practice of positioning screenshots of your work in a nice grid one after the other, why not use the blogazine technique and design a fresh page for each project according to the subject, client and color scheme?

Online Shops

Many online shops suffer from a certain blandness, following the pattern of: thumbnail grid, name, short description and then pagination.

This layout may be good for usability, but there is a middle ground between scannability and visual appeal.

The design changes do not have to be dramatic. In fact, drastically changing the layout would not be advisable for online stores.

But perhaps even subtle changes to design elements could give your online shop the distinction that makes it more noticeable?

CSS Galleries

A new CSS gallery seems to pop up every day, making it increasingly difficult to distinguish between all of them. While some of the higher-profile examples like SiteInspire23 are fantastic for gaining inspiration, the constant influx of CSS galleries makes the inclusion of your own design in one of them somewhat less of an achievement.

It would be interesting to see a really high-class CSS gallery adopt the blogazine technique, with a custom page made for each worthy website, using large high-quality images instead of the typical screenshots.

The websites in a CSS gallery are not all about the same topic and do not have the same style or same content, so why should they receive the same treatment and same type of screenshot?

Merely for consistency?

Think about a painting that is worthy of being displayed in an art gallery. Should it be given the same treatment, cut to the same size, positioned the same way? Why do we treat gallery-worthy websites this way, then?

Quiet Blogs

Bloggers often lack the motivation to keep their blog running. Many of them feel they have to keep it fresh by updating it every day, and failing to meet their own expectations results in both frustration and a neglected blog.
Updating a blog daily isn’t ideal, and more often than not…

seven half-hearted articles a week does not equal one very polished, interesting article.

RSS readers are jam-packed with articles every day, and chances are, the articles that don’t get your full attention will get lost in the crowd. Keep your short musings and thoughts for Posterous and Twitter, and spend some real time hand-crafting well-thought-out articles. You’ll satisfy both yourself and your readers.

Look at Jason24, Dustin25 and Greg26. They do not blog that often: sometimes once a week, sometimes once a month. But the quality is always stellar.

Conclusion Title in Death of the blog post

You have endless possibilities to be more creative with your blog. Why stay tied down to one theme and one layout when you can experiment with your skills and push your creativity to its limit with a blogazine? With the Internet suffocating with blogs, people have developed incredibly short attention spans, and they probably won’t stop for your content if you have “just another blog.”

Why not throw away the blogging rule book and make your articles stand out from the crowd?

Paddy Donnelly46 is an irish UX designer, blogger47 and interviewer48 living in Belgium. He’s currently working on his own Blogazine49 and you can follow him on Twitter50

Fin in Death of the blog post

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://jasonsantamaria.com
  2. 2 http://dustincurtis.com
  3. 3 http://gregorywood.co.uk
  4. 4 http://jasonsantamaria.com
  5. 5 http://jasonsantamaria.com
  6. 6 http://dustincurtis.com
  7. 7 http://dustincurtis.com/dear_american_airlines.html
  8. 8 http://dustincurtis.com/dear_american_airlines.html
  9. 9 http://dustincurtis.com/a-tour-of-my-brain.html
  10. 10 http://dustincurtis.com/you_should_follow_me_on_twitter.html
  11. 11 http://gregorywood.co.uk
  12. 12 http://erskinedesign.com/
  13. 13 http://gregorywood.co.uk/journal/top-5-amiga-games
  14. 14 http://gregorywood.co.uk/journal/top-5-reasons-to-learn-to-dive
  15. 15 http://erskinedesign.com
  16. 16 http://twitter.com
  17. 17 http://posterous.com
  18. 18 http://flickr.com
  19. 19 http://facebook.com
  20. 20 http://apple.com/iphone
  21. 21 http://www.netmag.co.uk/
  22. 22 http://computerarts.co.uk
  23. 23 http://siteinspire.net
  24. 24 http://jasonsantamaria.com
  25. 25 http://dustincurtis.com
  26. 26 http://gregorywood.co.uk
  27. 27 http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/2168000/
  28. 28 http://answers.polldaddy.com
  29. 29 http://jasonsantamaria.com/articles/a-new-day/
  30. 30 http://jackcheng.com/
  31. 31 http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/art-direction/
  32. 32 http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/art-direction/
  33. 33 http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/art-direction/
  34. 34 http://metalabdesign.com/zappos/
  35. 35 http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-post-styling/
  36. 36 http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-post-styling/
  37. 37 http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-post-styling/
  38. 38 http://dustincurtis.com/about.html
  39. 39 http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-post-styling/
  40. 40 http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-post-styling/
  41. 41 http://github.com/ionfish/designate/
  42. 42 http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-post-styling/
  43. 43 http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-post-styling/
  44. 44 http://vimeo.com/4394152
  45. 45 http://www.flickr.com/photos/shauninman/tags/si10/
  46. 46 http://iampaddy.com
  47. 47 http://blog.iampaddy.com
  48. 48 http://blog.iampaddy.com/interviews/
  49. 49 http://iampaddy.com
  50. 50 http://twitter.com/paddydonnelly
Advertising
  1. 1

    Okay, I get what you’re doing. I’lle cho what’s being said:

    This is not usable. It alienates. It’s TOO different. It’s creative. It’s not thinking about the end user, it’s trying to be as visually appealing, while ignoring accessibility, readability for the masses. This is GREAT for designers. BAD for consistent offerings.

    I agree – e-commerce stores are boring to the point of being cookie-cutter sites, for “usability” and “familiarity.” But reinventing the wheel would do more to turn people AWAY then causing people to go “gee, I no longer know how to use this site, I should figure it out instead of going somewhere else to buy it quickly and easilly!” It’s like making someone solve a rubik’s cube before they can order lunch. Some people will try, most people will skip it *because they are hungry.*

    This creates obstacles and barriers between a user and the site. *This has its place* and I’m really interested in how this grows and gets integrated with the mainstream. I know this article is an extreme example, but I look forward to seeing how people run with the concept in the long run.

    -1
  2. 2

    I personally found this page very confusing and not usable at all…

    0
    • 3

      Mee too. This would even be hard to read in a magazine. But if you found a compromise between this post and the regular posts, I think this could be great! Most of the ideas and design elements are really good, but all of them together in one post is just too much!

      0
      • 4

        Sometimes you need to scroll up – what’s wrong with that? have you never turn the page back while reading a book?

        Great post SM. This is the death of the boring blog post indeed ;)

        0
      • 5

        I didn’t know if I was still on the same blog post. When a blog post ended and a new one started. Ended up it seems this is only 1 blog post.

        0
    • 6

      What are you talking about this article was great, I’d like to see more of this. It makes you read more, not just like a plain article where I was skiping text.

      0
      • 7

        I totally agree. I just kept scrolling, wondering what would come next.

        This is the most interesting, value-packed SmashingMag blogpost I’ve read in a long time! :P

        0
      • 8

        Ditto. Really brilliant stuff. Would love to see more of this stuff :)

        0
      • 9

        I totally agree with you andreeib. For once in a long time online I found myself wanting not skip an article, but rather take it all in…. kinda of like a newspaper… hint hint print media and online newspapers. I think this is so called for when trying to deliver an good experience.

        0
    • 10

      Usable? Who “uses” an article? Just scroll down & read, not much else you need to do ;)

      Good article, but magazines have the advantage that print looks the same everywhere, while html – clearly – does not. Also, separation of style & content raises concern for these types of articles… inline styles all the way?

      0
      • 11

        I’m not sure about inline style. I think it makes it difficult, complicated, to make declinations adapted for other media types, like say, portable devices. I think it breaks the accessibility issues somehow.

        However I really like the idea of having alternate layouts and design for different posts. Good article !

        0
      • 12

        Another advantage a magazine has is your (mostly) captive attention. You pretty much know when you’re not looking at a magazine because the TV, your cat, or an airplane caught your attention. If you happen to (mis)click another tab or window, you might be disoriented when you return to the funky-cool layout.

        In good UX, red means stop and green means go. Don’t redefine instinctive standards, even if they’ve only been instinctual for a few seconds. In contrast, the way Jason Santa Maria alters his posts does not stray very far from the established standards. No matter where you enter his site, you’ll not betray that initial layout knowledge via subsequent clicks.

        As for inline styles, there would be no need. Use the post ID number that is ‘typically’ entered into the body class to create the custom styles.

        0
    • 13

      Cesar Mujica Castro

      November 19, 2009 6:59 am

      I found it very simple and easy to read.

      0
      • 14

        I totally agree here. The typography was large and clear over the site. The styling and positioning read like a great arts magazine from the 90s and it was far more than I expected this morning for my typical Smashing read.

        I understand how many, many sites would suffer from this type of blog post and how many designer/developers would shake with thinking about having to do this for a client all the time. But, I think it is a wonderful idea for designers’ personal sites and anything where passion is the priority, not a paycheck.

        JSM has been an inspiration for a long time, he is highly successful and I hope that many others begin to follow suit.

        Thanks Smashing,
        Andy

        0
      • 15

        I agree. The material is very clear. Something similar to the presentation.

        0
    • 16

      I agree… I’m lost !

      0
    • 17

      Mark Howells-Mead

      November 19, 2009 8:53 am

      Ditto that.

      0
    • 18

      u just jealous.. u can’t made it your self… u’re very naive :P

      0
  3. 19

    Cesar Mujica Castro

    November 19, 2009 6:40 am

    This article ROCKS!!!!!!
    I’m inspired..

    0
  4. 20

    Love SM… But I didn’t like this… Sorry…

    0
    • 21

      Smashing Editorial

      November 19, 2009 7:24 am

      That’s OK, we actually knew that this style is not for everybody. Some parts of the design may indeed be a bit “overdesigned”, but Paddy has done a tremendous work on this post. The main idea of the post was to provide you with an idea of how you can change the way your blog posts look like and present advantages and disadvantages of the technique. We hope that we did at least something right in this post to achieve this goal.

      0
      • 22

        The idea of this post was to get out of the box and create something really unique. Thats why all of us are designers right? To create something unique. Personally i wouldn’t be a web designer if i’d have to create the same layouts over and over again. Great article!

        0
      • 23

        I liked the large type. I was able to lean back and enjoy reading the article. No squinting!

        0
      • 24

        Great article SM…I think you did a great job of explaining the blogazine concept.

        Here’s my take on it:

        I think a trend is starting here that will die out soon once bloggers that try this realize it’s too much work. Dustin’s blog is successful because he has so much to say. Most people aren’t like this.

        Even if you compare his blog to Jason’s and Gregory’s (which have a more sophisticated design), Dustin’s has far more interesting content. Jason and Gregory seem to post content to give them a reason to design. Dustin wants to say something first, but also make it interesting to look at.

        Designers that design because they love being “out of the box” and “unique” will surely jump on this. Designers that design because they love finding simple solutions to complex problems and creating clarity out of clutter — like me :) — will be slower to attempt a blogazine.

        0
      • 25

        I Loved it.
        Feels so good to see people puting their talent to push forward the world of internet communication.
        Congrats!

        0
  5. 26

    sucks!!!!!!!
    This post was boring!!!!!!!!!

    0
    • 27

      I second your opinion

      0
    • 28

      Smashing Editorial

      November 19, 2009 7:25 am

      What exactly did you find boring? The idea, the execution or both? Please be more specific!

      0
      • 29

        Christopher Anderton

        November 19, 2009 9:44 am

        I like to say the opisite. The post rocked. It was fun, it created a “aha! fun!” experience because everything in it broke loose from the normal conventions.

        Creds.

        0
    • 30

      How could you find it boring?

      I’ve found it was awesome at opening up your mind and challenging the everyday working design habits we get into. I found the really article really engaging although to be honest a little intimidating. I’m not sure why, maybe because of the colossal eye opening potential of it or maybe because it’s just a lot more brash then your average article.

      Either way… loved it. This is the kind of article that we come to Smashing Magazine for, and we got a few extra blogs to keep an eye out for in the future too!

      Also: Loved how Dustin Curtis has an awesome main blog, and then what he calls a boring blog for more regular and generic posts. Not abandoned the standard blog format completely!

      0
  6. 31

    Wow, that’s so totally cool! Love the layout, too! Great work, Paddy!

    0
  7. 32

    This is certainly cool, but I found it harder to read as I was constantly distracted by all the different styles.

    I am undecided.

    0
  8. 33

    very inspiring, kinda unusal template. May not usable for a wide spread, ok, but the basic idea is good.

    0
  9. 34

    I’m with Marcello. As someone with less than fantastic eyesight (no peripheral version – tunnel vision) this page was an absolute nightmare to read. I’ll be scrolling down some text and then it would suddenly stop. I’d look for the next paragraph and it’s not where I’d expect it. So I’m then left scanning the page trying to find where I need to be reading from next. Having to do this 20 odd times when trying to read something is frustrating.

    I agree that the technique can be attractive and add something special to a blog. But if anything, I would say this article is a great example of how not to do it! I just found it that hard to read.

    0
  10. 35

    Are you commenters insane?
    This is absolutely AWESOME.

    Aren’t you all tired of the same structure, used over and over again?

    This is sweeter than sweet.

    SM rocks.

    0
    • 36

      I wouldn’t of read this long of an article in SM’s original layout.. All the different colours creating one giant article is awesome!

      I read every paragraph.. This is very inspiring.

      0
  11. 37

    This style of blogging only works for bloggers that post irregularly and, more often than not, short. For longer posts, like this exact one, it just doesn’t work and does the opposite of trying to not be boring.

    0
  12. 38

    The sentiments in the article are sound enough but I found the page itself a total nightmare to read – and that was on a 24″ screen. I dread to think how annoying it would be on a smaller screen or a laptop.

    0
  13. 39

    Wow I love this.
    Because every chunk of text is short and presented in a simple way and because you want to see the next design change, you’re motivated to read on.
    Looks great — even better than real magazines!
    And it helps understanding, too.

    0
  14. 40

    While I see what you were doing with the mag layout on this blog post… it’d take some getting used to. I think there maybe just a bit too much content.. or maybe its the same but all images, copy and headings are bigger. I don’t tend to get too much time to read blog posts bearing in mind I read a lot of different blogs. I like the idea that much more time and effort is spent on a blog post but if the blog is not really bringing in much income then it’s not really worth spending too much time on the theme each time a new blogpost is submitted. Only my opinion. Keep up the good work Smashingmag

    0
  15. 41

    That post just rox! I love it!

    0
  16. 42

    no no no no no…. i didnt read a thing because it was poor design overload, sorry, but i hated this post!

    0
  17. 43

    While those authors do a great job at this, I’m afraid that this post was poorly designed. The different styles made it hard to read. Keep in mind for next time: part of what makes the examples fantastic is that they design the entire page and make it one complete entity.

    0
    • 44

      A bit harsh perhaps – still a good post!

      0
    • 45

      What you have to see here is that it’s *intentionally* designed with various styles for the purposes of inspiration. This article is written for designers, people who would understand the meaning of this different way of thinking.

      I liked the article very much, was already intending to do something like that for my own blog (which does not exist yet).

      0
  18. 46

    I think this post is great!
    Made me want to try it out myself.

    Maybe this post wasn’t the best. But it was absolutely interesting.

    Edit: to clarify, this posts design wasn’t the best. Content wise it was interesting.

    0
  19. 47

    Very interesting read – loved to do it. Loads of useful information. Some parts were hard to get through, but still great to see. Thanks a lot for the effort!

    0
  20. 48

    ^^ Marcello must be old.
    This page is so visual pleasing, the blocks of text were short and too the point. It added richness to this “normal” article.

    I could imagine the older generation not being able to follow this article though, hence why I suggested that Marcello must be old.

    Really though… I think your followers will increase with this new idea of blogazine layouts.

    ez

    0
    • 49

      Is this a serious comment? Your explanation for Marcello finding this design unreadable is that he’s old? That’s a pretty weak assertion.

      0
  21. 50

    I’m not boring of post. The form is the one thing, the content is another. I totally agree, that boring post style can be upgraded, but I’m not sure if this form above is a right direction… It was very hard to follow and read. I totally disagree with the statement “What if a print magazine used the same template for every article? It would be pretty boring, no?” – they ARE using the same template or a little number of various templates. And it’s boring as long as the content is boring…

    0
  22. 51

    fantastic article! leave it to smashingmag to present such innovations. it read like a rather entertaining powerpoint; not distracting at all.

    perhaps we can do a demographic study of who likes this post and not. haha

    0
  23. 52

    GREEEAAAT!!!!!

    0
  24. 53

    I typically find myself trailing off on a normal post layout. This layout, however, was just crazy enough to keep my interest much longer. I still trailed off and started to “quick scroll” to the end but did so much later than normal.

    Great inspiration, though.

    0
  25. 54

    Wow. When I got to this page via Twitterific, I thought SmashingMag had done a redesign and had to check the home page. The different layout and design definitely got my attention. The article, fantastic!

    0
  26. 55

    Please stop using the term ‘blogazine’, it’s ridiculous.

    0
  27. 56

    SM,

    You don’t have to complicate things when designing a website. Always follow the K.I.S.S principle.

    0
  28. 57

    Well it may suck for some of you, but it was interesting atleast. May not be the most reader-friendly layout but it was sort of like a Guy Richie movie trailer.

    Creative? YEEES! Useful (broad sense)? Maybe not!

    0
  29. 58

    Very very cool page but I think blogazine can fit only in some cases and not for all blog.
    The web is fast, very fast, and to do this kind of pages require time and great skills.

    I love it but I think it cannot be a good solution for everyone and absolutely cannot be a standard.

    0
  30. 59

    I’m glad SM took the time and effort to get someone to show this. The quality, work and love put into creating a css stylesheet for individual blog post is not only respectful but amazing to appreciate. Thanks for helping put this up to the masses, congratulations with the post.

    0
  31. 60

    This was a beautiful and inspiring post, and yet that’s only because I read it on my nice glossy desktop screen. Had I been squinting on a netbook, I’d have seen nowt but black, I warrant.

    And there’s the rub. One can create a work of art instead of a Kubrick-themed monstrosity, sure; but is it accessible? Really, are you blogging or are you just.. publishing, if each post takes so long to craft that it’s more a labour of love than a quick projectile vomit across the keyboard?

    Some of the beauty and joy in blogging lies in its impromptu nature. At a conference? Taking notes? Whip out a netbook and put them online on your blog — and suddenly become a superstar. (No, really.) If you’re that kind of blogger — the quick-thought-in-the-morning kind, the I’m-on-a-train-and-wow-this-just-struck-me kind — then blogazines just don’t chime.

    The compromise? Dual-layered content. Editorial with pretty pictures that requires days and Photoshop to get right; verbal diarrhoea with illustrations stolen from Google Images as your bread and butter. I’ll (maybe) be trying that, if I can ever summon the spare time to try a ‘zine-style post. If not, I’m happy being old-school and boring, if it means I can get good content out there fast.

    0
  32. 62

    I love the idea since I found out about Dustin Curtis’ blog/magazine and this article’s layout is very well done, too!

    0
  33. 63

    Incredible article Paddy, truly inspirational. You’ve pointed out some fantastic points, and done a damn good job displaying them. Top marks champ :)

    0
  34. 64

    Smashing Editorial

    November 19, 2009 7:07 am

    Just for the record: we are NOT going to turn Smashing Magazine in a Blogazine now. It would take way too much time and require way too much patience. ;-)

    0
  35. 65

    One of the best articles I’ve read on here in a while. Thanks!

    0
  36. 66

    Now this is what I’m talking about! Great work SM. Great work to those featured too. Thanks again.

    0
  37. 67

    Very great!!!, perhaps this smell next version of blogging

    0
  38. 68

    Oh god,
    I hated the layout of this page with a passion. I just couldn’t read it.
    It seemed to encapsulate every element of design which makes it’s subject incomprehensible.
    I exited the page in a panic to check if the rest of SmashingMag had turned into this, reasured I came back and tried 3 times to read this article – and it still leapt at me like a jumble of words.

    If you are asking why designs like this one have not caught on, answer : because they render the body UNREADABLE!

    0
  39. 69

    Hi Paddy, I really liked the article and I liked the layout too. Maybe it was a little unconventional for reading but it’s really good to see something different. I wrote a short post about this topic and art direction a while ago on Sitepoint. If anyone wants to read it, it’s here – http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2009/07/31/art-direction-taking-web-design-to-the-next-level

    Well done for doing something a bit different.

    0
  40. 70

    “seven half-hearted articles a week does not equal one very polished, interesting article”

    indeed.

    0
  41. 71

    I really like this kind of creative blog post. :) Usual articles are just like a blog post and not that attractive compared to this. This is the beginning of a real magazine style! :)

    0
  42. 72

    Though I was interested in reading the article, and lets remember that “reading” is pretty important I found the layout difficult to follow. Knockout text is distracting as well as using different column spacing. Might be more interesting if it was printed out on a long sheet of paper so you could see it all at once. You gave it the old college try though, so kudos.

    0
  43. 73

    While I think the “blogazine” style is interesting, I think there are quite a few drawbacks to promoting it.

    We have preached “consistency” and “taste” for years now, attempting to get designers all on the same page: Accessibility, content, usability and coherent/maintainable code. This style opens the flood gates for horrible design, and countless unusable pages. There are a LOT more designers who can’t pull this style off, than there are those who can. Unfortunately if the blogazine style were to catch on as a trend, I fear the ones who can’t pull it off would be the ones using it the most.

    Dustin Curtis and Jason Santa Maria do excellent work no doubt. I think what they do works well for what THEY do. However, from an accessibility/readability standpoint, this blog post was a nightmare. I commend the writer for going out on a limb and giving it a shot as a proof of concept/contextual example, but I have to say it wasn’t done as well as say a Dustin Curtis or JSM article, and proves the point that it just isn’t for everyone. I am definitely not knocking the writer/designer…please don’t take it that way, and by all means, do what you want. Freedom and experimentation breeds innovation.

    Thankfully, in my opinion this style is a LOT more work than it is worth. I think the time factor alone will prohibit most bloggers from going this route, not to mention the sheer knowledge and design brilliance it takes to actually make posts like these work. Don’t get me wrong…I love DC, and JSM’s blogs. I read them often, but even their posts can sometimes be quite overwhelming. Design is awesome, but content is still king, and if I can’t see the content for all of the glowing/flashing distractions around it…then the design falls flat.

    0
    • 74

      “accessibility/readability standpoint, this blog post was a nightmare.” Accessibility maybe, but as far as readability this is one of the few times I ever read and entire blog post. I found it very easy to read the visuals made it more interesting. I think this will catch on, perhaps not with blogs that update everyday but for publications that update less often this style may get very popular. One of the things holding back magazines from going full web is that they have to restrict themselves on layout, I think this will help convince them make the transition to full web.

      0
      • 75

        Joe,

        By readability, I wasn’t referring to the blog post being interesting, or fun to look at. It was. I was thinking of people like the commenter referring to his poor vision (tunnel vision) and other readers like him who will suffer from layouts like this. I have perfect 20/20 vision and it was hard for me to follow. Content is all over the place, no flow, type changing size and face every 20 lines. It’s disorienting at best.

        “One of the things holding back magazines from going full web is that they have to restrict themselves on layout, I think this will help convince them make the transition to full web.”

        Maybe, but I don’t think it will. Magazines will not spend this kind of time, money and effort to produce this product. Unless there is a drastic shift in the way we design pages (code) this is still not an option for most magazines.

        I am sure there is some kind of happy medium for all of this. This post however, does not exemplify that in my opinion. I still do commend the author for his time and effort, this just isn’t where I would like to see web design go.

        0
      • 76

        Kevin,

        This particular post is probably not the best example. I’m think the examples on Jason’s site are much better, the layout changes for each article but they are still readable, its obvious he has some print experience.

        I don’t want the web to look exactly like magazines do, but I would love to see us move away from the template look everything has now, its kind of boring. Like you said, we have go to find some kind of medium.

        0
      • 77

        I was just going to post these sentiments – This is the first blog post all week I’ve read start to finish without skimming. So it clearly worked on me. I love this idea.

        0
    • 78

      Design should not be held back by worrying about those who cannot effectively pull the style off, don’t you think?

      0
      • 79

        Mark,

        I can agree with that sentiment, and I am not advocating holding back design. That is just my personal worry.

        At the same time however, I just feel most users will be at a disadvantage trying to find the content in all the flashy trees. Once again, I think this can work fine for example on designers’ blogs and the like. You surely have the freedom to “show off” in this style. However, most blogs are not the appropriate arena for the designer to be showing off in. They are about the information being communicated to the user in the “easiest” way possible. It has been shown, time and time again, that users don’t want to “work” for the information the are looking for.

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  44. 80

    Haha seems either people really liked it or really hated it.

    0
  45. 81

    strange but interesting!

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  46. 82

    Well, I think that styling unique pages for each blog post is a very impressive effort! kudos to the featured artists.

    0
  47. 83

    This post is very inspiring. It made me think of my design. And that’s always a good thing. Thanx SM.

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  48. 84

    I don’t want to scroll 15 screens for a story that can be put on one screen. This page lost my attention. When I’m behind internet there’s e-mail, IM, RSS from my favorite blogs and tweets from my Twitter-friends. A lot of information and I need to decide what I’m going to read. So if I click a link to a blog I want to see quickly if it’s interesting.

    0
  49. 85

    Awesome article! I have been a huge fan of Jason Santa Maria’s and I love his “blogazine” approach. This article is well written, VERY well designed, and inspires me to follow suit. Very cool.

    0
  50. 86

    Very interesting! I wish I had time to do a blogazine but there is no way right now. Great article to read!

    0
  51. 87

    This article is fantastic. I hope this catches on because it’s going to bring some excitement back into web design and maybe finally convince laggard magazines that they can move to being web only and still have kick ass creative. I think the timing is right for this kind of style, web pages are moving away from the PC screen and onto touchscreen phones and tablets, also it is easier then ever to use different fonts.

    Time to go buy some magazines for layout inspiration.

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  52. 88

    Awsome² !

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  53. 89

    I love this post. The naysayers just don’t understand.

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  54. 90

    I haven’t been that engrossed in a blog article for quite some time. Usually I just skim over all the fluff to try and find anything remotely interesting, but this had my buttocks firmly planted to my chair.

    Is this the new bandwagon? I sure hope so. It might make people actually use more than one brain cell before spamming feed readers across the world with crap.

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  55. 91

    Great work Paddy, i love it

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  56. 92

    This kind of pubication give more liberty to layout , perhaps i think that the time spended to create them is so long! But soon i think that someone can create a simple way to post in this way, link wordpress do.

    0
  57. 93

    Blogs are not printed magazines, so they doesn’t have to change their layouts every “issue”. Blog is blog. Magazine is magazine.

    0
  58. 95

    Thank you for a very inspiring article. I’m not too sure yet where this blogazine thrend is going, but it sure is interesting to follow and even try!

    0
  59. 96

    I really liked this post, interesting way to present a post, different and inspirating. I’ll really enjoy a practical guide to make a blogazine.

    0
  60. 97

    Great post. The state of things to come?

    0
  61. 98

    Interesting POV. Amazing job.

    0
  62. 99

    Awesome as always Paddy, feels like a revolutionary article. Very inspiring, something I want to start doing.

    0
  63. 100

    The idea of individually designed posts is great but in this post you used too many and too different styles which makes it hard to read. At least in this example you did not waste 1/3 of the page with a sidebar that nobody is reading – this is what i find the most boring (because predictable) on all these blogs out there: the uniformed parts around the post itself, that do have nothing to do with it – huge (though nice) headers, pubicity, twittermessages, flikr photos, bloglist, latest posts, latest comments, google adds…
    Anyway, I agree with you that it is really time-intense to public individual posts but I think as soon as the twitter-hype is over (where everything is reduced to the max and tweeted and retweeted again), time is definitely right for something more than the message itself.

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  64. 101

    Beautiful, and more importantly encouraged

    me to read
    rather

    than scan.

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  65. 102

    Love the content of this article. I believe the blogazine will be my solution for never being satisfied with my personal website layout. I’ve seriously been trying to get it up and running for a year now! I do agree with some of the users above though, the layout of this article was a little all over the place.

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  66. 103

    good message and content. Hard to read and follow. Pretty though.. but confusing.

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  67. 104

    fantastic, was half expecting this to link through to a normal style post on smashing, really nice job.

    0
  68. 105

    Great article, layout super… not the average blogpost! Compliments…

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  69. 106

    It looks great from a designers perspective, but from a user perspective its a headache to read on screen. Magazines are different from web. I think someone who is an artist could make good usage of this, they have an need to be unique. But are your readers among the normal masses I would advice not to.

    Also I think its way too much work to be profitable. I would prefer not reinvent the wheel everytime, just a waste of time.

    But thanks for showing us a unique blogpost!

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  70. 107

    I love the fact that this post practices what it “preaches”. I was reading it in Google reader and half way in it suddenly occurred to me that i should read this one on the website :).

    However this is one of the problems with this kind of post, you always have to go back to the website to get the full experience.

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    • 108

      Nathaniel 'Flannol' Rosa

      January 23, 2010 3:53 pm

      Is this not a good thing? ‘Forcing’ people to return back to your website, I can see many benefits in that.

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  71. 109

    blogs are for blogging. don’t use a blog system if you want to create a magazine…

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  72. 110

    Paddy-

    Interesting article, but perhaps better sold as “hey this is cool how these designers are blogging” and not the Fox-esque “The Death of the Blog Post” (you can still get milk &coke in bottles remember).

    The reasons are legion but I just want to highlight two:

    1. I presently have open about 30 tabs open, yep, I’m taxing my machine, but I read a lot on the web & I have articles lined up for every spare second I have at work. This is common among most web readers that is the nature & beauty of the web and hyperlinks, which is why even the “cool” design of your post was frustrating, because my computer kept stalling. In the meantime I clicked over to other tabs to read pages that were meant for reading on the web. The only reason I overcame my frustration & tabbed back, was because it was Smashing and they have gained my trust and interest. Had I stumbled on one of the very talented folks you highlighted and encountered the same problem, I wouldn’t have gone back, just not going to fight to read something, if I am not sure it is going to be worth the fight. Seems fair.

    2. Good content, I read articles for Good content and I think Gregory Wood, who you featured said it best himself:

    I’m not a great writer, and I probably write a lot of bullshit, but because it’s all nicely designed, readers are drawn in and end up reading more than one post. It’s also very fun to create and helps me grow as a designer.

    So I would gladly go to his art opening, or even an online gallery of art, but I have a mountain of books I want to read, a pile of work on my desk, and friends to talk/share with, if I’m reading on the internet, it’s not to make my eyes whiter, it’s for good informative content. I think it’s great he is growing as a designer, but if I am to also read his work, then I hope he would grow as writer as well.

    Speaking of, there is a blog on a regular old easy to read blog that is full of other reasons why this form is a flop for content. Don’t worry it’s fast, poignant, won’t stall your machine & easy to read. (and no it is not my post)

    http://j.mp/46NWn9

    Maybe the next Smashing Post should address some of the valid points there or perhaps an ode to our strangely Victorian obsession of pre-mature burials, is that what they teach in Journalism classes these days? Call it Dead before the next guy and you’re a journalist?

    jesse @dmdxd

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  73. 111

    @canha

    “Are you commenters insane?
    This is absolutely AWESOME.”

    – I second that

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  74. 112

    I love it. I’ve recently started digging into wordpress myself, and as my own project I decided to try and emulate the concept behind Jason Santa Maria’s website. It was a great way to learn how to make WordPress bend to my will. Oh, and then I found out about the Art Direction plug-in.

    While I agree that this particular post was a bit all over- it’s because it had to be! When you’re trying to explain a concept to someone, especially when you’re trying to open their eyes to a new way of doing something, you have to exaggerate! C’mon designers, you should be use to doing this :D

    Thank you, SM, for proving to my friends that this format is going to be the next step in web design. I know I’m excited for this change.

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  75. 113

    I personally haven’t read so punctually any post in this week like this one. Everything was about 30 this, 25 that, which are good, because sometimes we need portfolios of things. It saves us the time of search and probing. But in the late times I just scanned the pages, posts. If one image was good, I stopped a little. This post is fantastic, really. It was like a storytelling. The design accompanied the content and showed us what to read. This post is the incarnation of ideas which we talk about every day in the web development and design community. Thank you smashing magazine, now I found out about Dustin’s blog too. Good luck

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  76. 114

    I love how the print aesthetic is coming more and more real online. And when I say print aesthetic, I’m basically talking about real design rather then what you have been talking about. The only flaw or at least the issue people haven’t addressed with these blogs is readability. Jason Santa Maria is an exception. For example, with this post when you list the Advantages and Disadvantages towards the end. With two different column lengths we have to scroll down then scroll back up. What really gets me is when bloggers begin another paragraph in the next column.

    A lot of the other blogs do the same so I’m not trying to pick on you. There is a certain way you read things online then on print, which we all know. Once people fully understand how users read content online, this new trend will become even stronger.

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  77. 115

    IMHO, too much of a good thing.

    To quote the above article, “These guys aren’t using standard WordPress themes or cutting corners to make their lives easier. Rather, they are challenging themselves and producing some fantastic content.”

    Wrong. They are challenging themselves and producing fantastic LAYOUT and graphic designed FRAMING. They are mistaking the container for the content. They are pushing the chrome-trim over the car itself. The web is first and foremost (though not exclusively) a writer’s medium. Graphic design serves to support, emphasize and enhance that message but it is not the message itself!

    Many traditional magazines have a consistent graphic designed *system* that defines the *character* of the magazine. That’s done for a very good reason – it creates a sense of familiarity that builds trust and finally a sense of the content coming from an authoritative source.

    If the character of your blog/webzine is changing all the time (though tailored graphic design for each and every article), that path to connect to your readers is made unclear.

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    • 116

      “Graphic design serves to support, emphasize and enhance that message but it is not the message itself!’

      Agreed. This article is an extreme example and may not be the best. However what it’s suggesting is brilliant. One of the things I have always dreaded about magazines disappearing is that the art of laying out articles will disappear. Not saying each article should be dramatically different, there should definitely be consistent styling across the whole site. Its like you said there should be a system.

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  78. 117

    Interesting article, but truthfully, the amount of ‘work’ required to comfortably read it (read, scroll, read, scroll…) became tiresome rather quickly. I applaud the author for thinking differently, after all that’s what we all try to do, but i find this style to be change for change’s sake.

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  79. 118

    Gee, and here I thought it was all about content.

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  80. 119

    Great article, kept me reading a lot longer than I normally do. I also like the nice typographic features as the callouts and the large body text.

    Guess it’s time to start using InDesign for the web. Coding this in CSS by hand is undoable. :-)

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  81. 120

    I agree with both sides of the argument. When the page first loaded and I scroll-scanned the content it was utterly confusing and disjointed in appearance. However, upon reading the article, it was exceptionally well written with excellent information. It truly has me inspired to a new way of thinking about blog design.

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  82. 121

    It is true, that reading every day a post like this would be very tiresome, but one post like this would be awesome per day. It slowed me. All day we scan very fast many webpages, blog posts, google searches, twitter …. We learnt how to scan for information very very fast. But sometimes it’s good to be slower, like reading a book. Yeah this was like reading a book, where we imagine the things and don’t get quick. This was the last comment :)

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  83. 122

    Waw.
    Great, great idea. Do this again. And again!

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  84. 123

    Yup, interesting for a few tugs on the scroll wheel, but eventually I thought, “Fuck it…” and just gave it a once over scan.

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  85. 124

    I thinks this post might not follow the traditional usability rules, but I felt compelled to read, and even if it was a long scroll, I found that the different styles made it more interesting and easier to scan different posts.
    Absolutely loved it.

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  86. 125

    I love SM as well, but the layout of this article is very difficult to review. I’m all for the change on the front page of SM, but this article’s layout is difficult to consume.

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    • 126

      “Don’t normally comment here… You guys rocked this time.

      I remember there was a time when I visited a designer’s site, I saw personality, I saw soul. Nowadays, every blogger with a templated site is a web designer. Everything looks the same, so commercialized, so boring.

      kudos.”

      +1

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  87. 127

    Don’t normally comment here… You guys rocked this time.

    I remember there was a time when I visited a designer’s site, I saw personality, I saw soul. Nowadays, every blogger with a templated site is a web designer. Everything looks the same, so commercialized, so boring.

    kudos.

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    • 128

      “Everything looks the same, so commercialized, so boring.” So true.

      0
    • 129

      Same here Jin, SM Rocks!

      And finally a great discussion, for the first time at SM I’m actually reading all the comments. Love it.

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    • 130

      “Don’t normally comment here… You guys rocked this time.

      I remember there was a time when I visited a designer’s site, I saw personality, I saw soul. Nowadays, every blogger with a templated site is a web designer. Everything looks the same, so commercialized, so boring.

      kudos.”

      +1

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  88. 131

    This is awesome. I have no issues with the layout. I am a magazine designer, going on 6 years, and think that this truly represents how magazines are portrayed. Maybe add some drop caps, but not a necessary for the web for the complexity of CSS/XHTML. CSS was not made for graphic heavy web sites but pure static text. Over the years I will say that web designers with there talent have used CSS/XHTML in a way that was never thought to be used before, even with the blogs. Just by how graphics and design have been implemented into what was used for the Military, and mono-tone text for colleges. . . aka the internet. (lil’ less profanity.)

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  89. 132

    Mind-blowing.

    I really loved this, I feel properly inspired now.

    My main enemy is time, I can barely find time to upload a picture to my portfolio let alone design a whole page around a piece – but it would be amazing if I could acheive something like that, its definately added to me “Things to find time for” list.

    Thanks SM, this is probably the best thing you’ve posted in ages – and something I read from top to bottom.

    To those saying its hard to follow… You read from left to right, top to bottom no? I found it extremely simple, like a flow diagram.

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  90. 133

    Great article Paddy, obviously alot of work has gone into it. Particularly liked the advantages and disadvantages styling. Shame you can’t see the effort in an RSS reader

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  91. 134

    Man, this is really thought-provoking. When I clicked on this in my reader at first I was like, “What happened to SM’s site?” And then I saw the topic and I realized, “Oh, they’re practicing what they’re preaching”. Congrats on that!

    Personally, I loved it, I think Paddy did a great job with it. But I also see where the others are coming from with complaints about accessibility. And I totally agree with Jen that it removes that fun, impromptu nature from blogging. I suppose it definitely depends on the purpose/audience of the blog, but I know I’ll be considering this with my blog. Somehow I get the feeling this might be like some of those articles on AListApart that we’ll look back on in a few years and see as a turning point. Thanks, and excellent work!

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  92. 135

    Cool, nice to see something different. I think the article makes a good point. Though perhaps a bit over done, everyone always has their own design preferences and I think it definitely shows how spending a little bit of extra time designing your post can add some personality to your blog.

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  93. 136

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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  94. 137

    I must commend you for the hard work on this blog post. I admire your passion and think this post was great. However, I do believe that it was a bit over done and almost too distracting. I would be in the middle of reading and then suddenly find myself staring at something else. I think for such a long post it would have been better to not design it on such a large scale. Great work though!

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  95. 138

    WOW!! I really loved this post.

    I think you guys should do this from time to time.

    Cheers

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  96. 139

    A very interesting post even it has seemed to polarise opinion..

    I liked it, though I think an older target audience, that of a knitting/gardening blog for example, would find it very hard to follow..but for the web to mover forward and evolve, surely we must try these things?

    Great work Paddy!

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  97. 140

    Excellent post, loved the design and very-thought provoking. I especially like the idea of using in-line styles for each post instead of trying to keep all the CSS in one big master file.

    And hopefully the author or someone at Smashing Magazine will read this comment, because the first link the Erskine Design site leads to erskine.com not erskinedesign.com

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    • 141

      “using in-line styles for each post instead of trying to keep all the CSS in one big master file.” Thats the one thing I hated. :-) Why not just use different style sheet for each article.

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  98. 142

    This article misses one main point: “Content precedes design” in other words design for your content, to enhance your content, not solely for the sake of making it look pretty.

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  99. 143

    This idea is fascinating. A possible solution within a WordPress blog is to setup a custom field, “Layout”. Each article/post would have a “Layout” field attached to it, which could then be used to determine which specific layout to use for that particular page.

    The use of the basic themed, magazine style interface, using Brian Gardner’s work as an example, would give a consistent look to the entrance, but then feed down into the customized layouts for each article. This usage will also be helpful for the end user since specific types of articles will maintain a consistent look and feel.

    I really like the idea. I’m not a designer, so mine would really suck, but someone with a good design sense could easily generate a dozen or so layouts and have a really slick online blog magazine

    Mark

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  100. 144

    I’m sorry but this post was not well designed at-all.

    You need to have design bones to do something like this, and whenever a ‘web guy’ ( usually designer/developer hybrid ) gives it a go it’s almost always a laughably feable attempt. I don’t want to offend but you just have it or you don’t. Personally I don’t see it in Dustin Curtis’s articles and neither in this author Paddy’s work.

    – Resonating what others have said, a designer worth his salt ( not a web guy ) will be able to design for the content while making it look impressively good see: JSM. This is just a new fad for web folks to try and beat into the ground.

    P.S. I’m/Everyones a critic.

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  101. 145

    This was a good article, and it does provide food for thought. In the iPhone era, we’re seeing that you can still post content for free online but charge for the experience layer. Think CNN iPhone’s app. Same content, portable, excellent experience.The blogazine format is another way of adding a better experience to the act of consuming 2-D content.

    I have to imagine that’s exactly why the magazine format was invented in the first place: newspaper just became too standardized and predictable and really didn’t allow for hot hancrafted infoporn created with time, energy, and craftsmanship.

    Its a good variation of a medium to explore. I think we might have figured out exactly what a blog can and can’t do just like we know what a newspaper, radio, and traditional television set can and can’t do. There could be hidden value here. As the article states, it’s too easy to set up WordPress these days. You can’t sell a blog CMS to anyone except those also looking to purchase a decent suspension bridge (if you are, call me, btw). But I see a niche market for well-designed blog posts.

    Those bashing the format, especially without explaining themselves (“This post is BORING!”) are short-sighted and narrow-minded. This is standards-based design _coming of age_. This so far beyond rounded corners.

    But I have two critiques of this post. For one, the title is pure sensationalist linkbait. Blog posts are not dying anytime soon. Second, this article is clearly designed for the MacBook Pro crowd. I’m using a MacBook Pro, so I don’t mind. I’d say the right rez to keep in mind for a wider audience comfortable with this design approach is probably 1280 x 800, 13″ MacBook rez. If we want this to catch on, we should probably show how good it can look for the common web news consumer.

    But there’s something here. This article is insightful. It picked up on a meme we all knew was there but didn’t really take the time to dissect. Best content I’ve seen on Smashing in a long time.

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  102. 146

    Maybe someone at SM should have a look at http://abriefmessage.com. And then re-write this article in 400 words so no-one else wastes their morning on it. Also: completely disagree with the portfolio uniqueness suggestion. And can we just say “online magazine” instead of “blogazine?”

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  103. 147

    Finally something different. I’m getting very tired by all the ’50 great patterns for webdesigners’ articles.

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  104. 148

    Giles Van Gruisen

    November 19, 2009 8:08 am

    Yes yes yes, a thousand times YES!!!!! I will be doing stuff like this from now on. Incredible article, truly inspiring!!! :D

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  105. 149

    Design is nice, but it should ACCENT your content.

    Honestly, I didn’t even read the entire post here. I think if an author wants readers to actually READ what they have to say, it should be presented in a visually appealing, but easy to understand way.Maybe you mentioned that. I wouldn’t know because I didn’t read it all. Reading a blog post shouldn’t feel like running a marathon.

    Still love Smashing Magazine though. :)

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  106. 150

    Well, I might come back to this on a computer
    but what hell to read on a mobile phone!! That should be one of the main considerations in designing a “blogozine” these days. I had to move all over the place to try to read this and it was hard to tell what images went with what content.

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  107. 151

    In consideration of how much I love the examples provided here, this is definitely a route I’d be interested in trying for my site. I get the same “redesign syndrome” as mentioned in the article where I’ll want to start all over again just as I’ve finished a site.

    That being said, I believe at the forefront of my mind when making design decisions about posts would be if the page is readable. We can see in the comments here that there is a very fine line with this style between pure awesomeness and pissing people off.

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  108. 152

    Amazing post! I’m a big fan of both JSM and DC and have followed their blog…azines for a long time now. This post is one of those I get inspired from and encourages me to really pay attention to “contextual design”.

    Most of the comments, on the other hand, can be really discouraging. I have a hard time paying attention to comments that imply this is an unusable post or badly designed, coming from people who have no authority on this matter… AT ALL. I want to give the proper kudos to Paddy for this awesome design and recognize the hard work and effort he has put into this. Also, thank SM for letting him post it… ;)

    Good job guys and, even if it’s not possible to turn SM into a “blogazine” (completely understandable), I’d like to see a “featured” or “monthly” article done this way… It could very well be the only article I read (instead of skimming) on your site the whole month… ;)

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  109. 153

    Any EE users out there with ideas of how to make this style work in that system?
    I’m thinking a custom field for the CSS path.

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  110. 154

    Nice try !
    Uniformity, functionalism must be a graphic and conceptual choice, not a mandatory Stantard.
    This article challenges many of formatted use.

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  111. 155

    Awesome. I loved it.
    Quite inspiring but the question is indeed if you
    will be able to find the time to make only such
    great designed posts.

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  112. 156

    Man, this is the Smashing blog post ever! I am very much inspired to create something like this!

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  113. 157

    I’ve always been a fan a plain good writing.

    I enjoyed your post, but it reminds me of when Wired magazine first started publishing. It broke all the rules about layout and color and fonts, and it was kinda cool and interesting. But it was difficult to read. It was like going to a circus where all the acts came out at once and each distracted from the other.

    I enjoyed the creativity. But sometimes I want to read a well-written, informative, entertaining post that doesn’t keep distracting me with color and layout options.

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  114. 158

    Inspiring yet equally headache inducing. Might take a while to get used to. No worries, i’m adaptable.

    Love SM !

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  115. 159

    Wow… I don’t know about anyone else here, but I really like this article lay out. It keeps your eye moving and motivates you to keep scrolling as you read. It was very well thought out and I’m glad that Smashing Magazine is experimenting with alternate article layouts. Well done, guys :)

    Reminds me of The Oatmeal posts.

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  116. 160

    Another blog post that is wholly impractical when applied to real-world design problems encountered by working designers the world over. :x

    Content is king: A blog’s layout and design, while appealing (or not) does not make the blog itself interesting. The purpose of the layout is to help me read the content and navigate the site. The fun and interesting designs featured above smack of print-based design, lacking in meaningful interaction.

    Additionally, unique layouts make automation a practical impossibility. It’s fun to push the envelope in a blog (minor leagues), but that doesn’t apply well to real-world challenges I’ve met regarding publishing regular content for a number of employers.

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    • 161

      I disagree that this style is impractical. I think one of the problems with web design is that we have put to much focus on practicality and have removed some of the art and fun from editorial design. This over focus on automation and practicality makes the whole thing kind of boring, its like we are newspaper designers. I think this style is practical and very welcome for long well researched articles, it works for magazines and it could work for us too as a matter of fact I think its the missing link for moving our profession into the kind of recognition that it deserves. That said, of course this style won’t work for every site but it would be awesome for magazines transitioning to the web.

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    • 162

      If content is king, design FOR content.

      Besides, no one said this style was made for newspaper-style blogs. The idea is called “blogazine” and if you new anything about magazine design, you’d know that style can vary significantly depending on the content of an article. No automation implied.

      Please read the posts before replying, because otherwise you come across kinda weirdly. Thanks.

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  117. 163

    I’d have to say this was one of the most inspiring and interesting articles I have read. It is clearly a matter of opinion whether this style should be used more, based on the comments.

    I personally LOVE it! It was taking a visual journey through the page while reading it. Sort of like telling a story, and using different scenes and design elements as props to help convey the message.
    Bravo!!

    I am a huge fan of this style, and I can’t wait to see more.

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  118. 164

    Wow guys, that was an awesome article. I hope more people start creating more original blogs. Keep it up.

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  119. 165

    I love it but it would take too much effort to build a specific page for every post.

    But this is GREAT !!!!

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  120. 166

    Nothing else is better than Smashing Magazine. This is the smahingest post!

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  121. 167

    So there are alot of folks harping on about how content MUST be first, and the presentation is support, I think that in many cases, and of course depending on the goal of the site/article that the presentation drives the content. What I mean to say is, it´s no good having good content if no-one reads it, If I see a page of black default text on a white background with no styling, I’m probably not going to give it a chance, whereas interestingly presented, it grabs, AND HOLDS my attention until I get to the end and feel happy that someone gives a shit about someting other than “best practice” “conversions” “page impressions” and all that jazz.
    I for one am human.

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  122. 168

    Great job, Paddy.

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  123. 169

    I’d be afraid it would be used if you didn’t really want the reader to pay attention to the writing (I couldn’t finish the article myself). I’m not a great writer, so I could decorate my posts with something like this to keep the clicks coming.

    I suppose this particular post was exaggerated to make the article’s point. “Magazine Style” wouldn’t always be so nutty. The actual dustincurtis site (cited above) is an example of how, when restrained, the idea works. But why would readers of Smashing need an exaggerated example? It’s not like my mother reads this and needs to be convinced. Odd that Smashing though so…

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  124. 170

    I do like their work and this “anti” trend is becoming a new trend already, but you got one thing wrong: DCurtis and Greg (I think) don’t use WordPress at all. These are static HTML pages. And that fact basically answers your question why blog posts all look the same. JSM is an exception (he uses EE), but he only posts once a week or even less frequently.

    With current CMS it’s hard to realise such creativity. And if you are missing ALL the features of a “blog” you really can’t talk about this as a “new” way of designing blogs. ;-)

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  125. 171

    I thought this was really well thought out and executed. Yes, some people won’t like it, but that’s part of being human: we see things in different ways. Bravo for breaking the mould. Now watch for the imitators… ;)

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  126. 172

    Wooow! Awesome post, and nice work! That’s probably the best way to describe “blogazine”. I think design bloggers must think about this new blogging style, because that’s the better way to show your skills. Your blog is your portfolio. Stop writing to describe your design creations, design to describe your post content.

    I’ve already try to make “blogazine-like” posts, but I was tired of spending 7-8-9 hours to create my post. So I’ve stop it. But this post has motivated me to try it again!

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  127. 173

    When I stumbled on Gregory Wood’s post, I think it was the one about diving and how good it was.
    I was taken back by the sheer presentation of it, the detail, the images, typo, etc and thinking to myself how on earth he did that?.

    One thing I disliked about blogs is the churning out of dry templates. Yes you can argue that this breeds consistency and to be honest I originally thought this particular post was missing a style sheet because it appeared to be so different from other smashing magazine posts. But I soon got the hang of it and it was a pleasure to read. The first time I actually thought a post from you guys was worth reading.

    What’s sad is the amount of designers being so negative; its hard to read, it’ll take too much time to do, its not very accessible , etc-I’m sure there’s more examples if carried on reading peoples comments.

    Sometimes, just sometimes you think to yourself fook it! I’m doing what I want and that’s exactly they did. Not for one second do I think these web designers Jason, Greg and Dustin are lose much sleep because people cant view it right on their shitty little IBM ThinkPad or some kid in Africa cant get the same experience on his mobile phone. Yes it’s unfortunate but hey that’s life. I guess the most of you guys and girls who complained still lose sleepless nights supportng IE6.

    The thing is, they had a problem, they didn’t like the template of their blog so they changed it. They wanted to express themselves, and they did. They broke their constraints and guess what….they’ve possibly started something they didn’t mean too…a trend..So come on you sheep, come along and join us, join the heard..

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  128. 174

    Great post, and nice proof of concept. I’ve been considering doing something like this for a while, but polishing up on my CSS skills first. I think its a great way of experimenting with different styles and themes, which for me is one of the main reasons for having a personal site… it’s somewhere to experiment.

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  129. 175

    This is probably one of the best articles on SmashingMagazine. It was so unexpected too see this layout but I am pleasantly surprised! I love Jason Santa Maria’s blog and it is a great inspiration for redesign of my blog.

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  130. 176

    Whooooaaaaaa… if this is where blogs are headed, count me out. Unless I can read it from the safety of my RSS reader…

    I read lots of blogs and I love it (SM included) – but I only return based on the value of the content. I don’t give a rip about looks as long as usability has been thought-through.

    I can see how this could be inspiring for other designers – maybe it’s worth considering for visual-types, but I don’t think it’s worth getting too hot and sweaty over…

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  131. 177

    i like it! i usually dig websites with large fonts and images
    SM is probably the best design-related website on the web

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  132. 178

    The core idea is nice, but I found this article impossible to read. I kept skipping through several sections and had a really hard time reading while scrolling.

    On the other hand, I also hate many magazine layouts as they fuck up readability in the cruelest of ways.

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  133. 179

    “Just thinking about the endless hours of effort that a print designer puts into creating the custom layout of a magazine article makes one respect the finished product so much more.” A singular magazine article. That’s only feature articles. Magazines use stylesheets and a set of basic layouts for the majority of the content though including typography, column widths, placement on the page etc. When pubs don’t have set stylesheets and layouts, they look schizophrenic and amateurish. A unique layout is a wonderful way to treat a special article, but it should still flow with the rest of the publication (online, or off) while being distinct.

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  134. 180

    The web and print are two different mediums. While I admit there are places where we get lazy and could do more layout to make an article more interesting, I’m not sure that you should up change every page drastically for every post.

    This post, for example, made me think the CSS was broken or some of the background images haven’t loaded in because the header didn’t look like previous Smashing articles. You need some markers of similarity at least. A print magazine may standardize where the logo is on the cover and other layouts. The cover of a magazine is similar to the header of a blog.

    Plus navigation of a magazine is pretty standard. You turn pages. You need similar, easy to understand navigational metaphors for your site.

    Also, calling ordinary pages of text boring is kind of unfair. Not everyone is a designer. Sure the audience that reads this blog is, but not everyone on the web is. One of the best things about blogging and the Internet in general is that gives everyone, not just web developers and geeks, a voice. It also reminds us that layout makes content interesting, but the content is really what is important.

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t put more effort into the layout of individual articles, but be aware of changing things that brand your site and navigation and visual ques that your users are familiar with.

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  135. 182

    While the post was “noisy” to say the least, and I was originally slightly bothered by the constant changing I found myself continuing to read and scroll.

    I think this post did a wonderful job on 2 counts. First it highlighted a number of different options that could be used to enhance an otherwise sterile repetition of a traditional blog post. I have a few current projects that will endeavor to incorporate some of the features/options.

    The second piece, it also shows what can happen when a site goes a little overboard. I have clients who consistently want to change font, font size, color and justification ever sentence. This post and the reactions above help show how confusing that can cause a page to be. This post shows a number of different options but each of the options maintains its own consistency of page which is critical for branding and marketing.

    Well done. I suspect the second was a happy accident and not intentional. If it was I once again bow to your thought and design processes.

    Karl

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  136. 183

    Just one word: awesome. I agree with some posts saying that usual posts are boring, just letters you skip trying to find one or two sentences you might find interesting and useful. This one made me continue reading. Thumbs up!

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  137. 184

    One is sure, it can be loved or hated, nothing beatween ;) I like it very much, but this arrows sometimes made me lost, like too many text clouds in comics.. But it’s surely very interesting and have many interesting links. Thanks!

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  138. 185

    I like some of the examples, however this post doesn’t follow the trend very well; in particular notice how most of the examples, whilst not using a regular template do have a clear internal structure. They manage to combine style with legibility, for the most part. This just feels thrown together; the design is obscuring the content, which is still a cardinal sin, no matter how much style you put into your layout.

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  139. 186

    Love the content. Love the design. Love the concept.

    In a noisy world full of time-wasting messages, this makes a connection. In my case, a good one, in other cases (from the comments) maybe not so much, but well designed content that makes an impact, like this, is always great to see.

    Top shelf, really great stuff.

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  140. 187

    It’s rare I comment on SM articles (although I highly value each of them) however I find myself inclined to do so on this one. Paddy, you have done an absolutely outstanding job on this post and I believe you will have opened many people’s minds into just what can be done.

    Several people are mentioning that it would take too much effort to create a different design for every post. This may be true in some cases and it clearly depends on what it is you are blogging about but in the majority of cases, I couldn’t disagree more. If you truly value what it is you are blogging about, then the extra care and attention to create an engaging medium for your post can and will add huge amounts of value to the overall appeal to your content. The 3 people you’ve chosen to highlight are all fantastic cases. Your layout on this post is inspirational, on point, usable and frankly beautiful.

    Thank you, genuinely for putting this sort of effort into a post and thank you Smashing Mag for promoting it – you have a huge audience – the majority of whom call themselves designers, so I hope that soon we will see much more elegance and much less monotony in blog posts (I don’t mean on Smashing, I mean in general). I know I, for one, will be creating different layouts and styles for different blog posts in the future and I hope many follow suit.

    Thank you, genuinely.

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  141. 188

    I am a beginner blogger and just launched my site this weekend. Although I’m excited to provide great content, I was disappointed in the presentation that I had to use because I don’t know anything about CSS or HTML. I felt that waiting to learn it all before I began posting would have probably put me off another 6 months. Of course asking someone else to help can be pricey because a servant is worth its hire.
    I enjoyed your post because I understood what your point was. It was more of an example of what could be, not what should be.
    How does a novice with no knowledge of anything besides downloading WordPress even attempt doing Blogazine, though? Blogazine style would be hot for my site because I want it to have a “fashion magazine” edge to it. http://www.reidklos.com “Tailor Made: God’s Bespoke Tailoring, a blog by Reid Klos”

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  142. 189

    I think the “Idea” is good, but it completely depends of the content you’re publishing,
    I just can’t imagine a Showcase or Coding Tutorials published on this way, I think that the use would be better on an Art Blog or something like that..!!

    But well this was a great post anyway!

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  143. 190

    Martin Bentley Krebs

    November 19, 2009 8:53 am

    If “visual mess” and “design trainwreck” had a child, then beat it senseless, this is what it would look like.

    This is as bad as the “stunning” typography examples that are completely unreadable. Time for a reality check, guys…

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  144. 191

    michal matuska - think-ia

    November 19, 2009 8:54 am

    Hmm, do not think this is a smart way at all. It will be very hard to maintain some brand id. Many clients use blog for its simplicity of adding content. Some even connect blog to MS WORD and publish through that. Most will pay for a blog customization and have a design done and engine integrated and thats it.
    as a user i also want to get used to a heading and what i can expect on next page. If it is a bit odd one considers it a call to action. And relating website to a magazine? There is an obvious remediation of newspaper in early internet, but have we not moved from the days of HTML 2? Last point i have is that most readers, not surfers readers, complain about cluttered layouts, ads etc. If content paramount it needs to be presented clearly. This is distracting to majority and reminds one of cluttered layout of current cheap magazines. over and out.

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  145. 192

    This article makes me want to disabled the stylesheets. I’m here for content. Not show-off-overloaded-heavy graphics. I tried to read this article, but I wasn’t able to do it more than a minute… It’s taking me so much effort to try. I have a big screen resolution and even with that, I found the text too big… too many scroll down… So for me, usability = big zero. I don’t want it super pretty, I want it pretty readable. Or maybe I’m too oldshool?
    Must be an interesting article though….

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  146. 193

    For me, THIS IS the best post of Smashing Magazine.

    For sure it takes a long time to stylish every post, but the result is very original and we take pleasure to read this. You made a nice mix between information and design. Congrats.

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  147. 194

    Hey all,

    Thanks for the constructive comments, both positive and negative. Glad that a lot of you like what we tried to do here. It’s true, there are a lot of limitations to this style of blogging however, as pointed out in the article. It takes an insanely long time to do and it’s certainly not applicable for every blog but there are a number of benefits to trying something adventurous and different.

    Regarding Inline styles – once you start to do a post like this, it’s far too complicated and slow to create a separate CSS file. It’s much much faster to just go through each piece of content one at a time and style it individually. Inline styling is largely looked down upon in modern webdesign, but this is the one occasion where they are quite appropriate. That one particular paragraph is the only one in the whole article which will need that left margin of 413px so using an inline style makes sense.

    The web out there has a tendency to get very ‘samey’ so it’s nice to know you’re going to get something drastically different every time you visit the likes of Jason, Dustin or Greg’s websites and I, for one, feel compelled to read every last detail of their articles.

    Granted, this is a huge article and takes quite a while to go through, but we wanted to fully cover the concept. Hopefully this has provoked you to think about your own blog posts’ appearance, even if it only involves subtle changes such as striking imagery, different typographic styles or slight layout tweaks, then we’re going to get a much richer experience as readers.

    And hey, if all you want is the content then you always have your RSS reader. :)

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  148. 195

    Alexander Polyakov

    November 19, 2009 9:00 am

    This approach rocks! See a great use of it in interview posts. Because, damn, each person is different and each story too. Thank you for inspiration!

    P.S. There must be a length consideration for blogzines too, somewhere near CSS galleries attention started to degrade. But I understand it’s 100% personal. Just interested to see where it happened (if happened) to other readers.

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  149. 196

    “I’m not dead yet” said the Blog.

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  150. 197

    I think the underlying message about pumping a bit of creativity back into an otherwise rigid medium (web publishing systems) is good, however I would agree with previous commenters that the length of the post is just too long for this type of content. There is an art to producing these sorts of long articles in the context of print that makes it easy for the user to continue from one page to the next and I’m not sure this particular example helps with that. The color combinations, styles and placement are inconsistent and all over the place.

    The effort in design is apparent, I just don’t think it works as well as it could. The content is what I’m concerned with first and foremost when I read an article and if the design gets in the way of grokking the content I usually do a lot of skimming.

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  151. 198

    An interesting read and well put together post. Anything that makes people think a bit more about what they do instead of churning out the same as everyone else can only be a good thing IMHO.

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  152. 199

    This is a busy Article, no one will pass it indifferent!

    No comments like: “This article is very useful.”

    I love the discussion and I was choked by the article itself. I thought I was redirected to another site.

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  153. 200

    biggest thing I noticed in my initial view of this page is that you used the full page for the article, a welcome change from partial article views on pages, really do get tired of those

    Al

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  154. 201

    I think it’s a great idea, it brings closer the printed magazine format to a blog, but IMHO, unlike Jason Santa Maria’s ones, I think this blog post fails to do so, it’s kind of inconsistent in it’s design, and I had a really hard time figuring it out.

    Anyway, I think this is an idea worth applying, but one must be very careful, especially if you change from a static width layout to a liquid one or vice-versa, you don’t want to break the post design.

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  155. 202

    BEST Smashing Post ever… well designed, useful, unique… excellent work!

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  156. 203

    I’ve thought about this alot, actually. Trouble was every time I discussed it with anyone it resulted in me being shouted at or lectured about practicality, standards or trying too hard to be different in some aspect for my own good. Now that I’ve reviewed this excellent article I’m almost upset I didn’t try it out.

    Lesson learned I guess ;-)

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  157. 204

    I LOVED this post. (although shockingly it looked perfect in my IE7, but was aligned funny in FireFox2)

    Almost makes me feel like turning back the pages of web design, when we designed pages based on the content rather than branding… or something like that…

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  158. 205

    I’m all for the “blogazine” design – and I’ve tried it before – but like the disadvantages said, it’s tough to keep up. You can just sit and write anymore…you have to write AND design, which unless you’re a fulltime (ie, make money) blogger you’re probably not going to put fourth that much effort.

    Plus…garbage in, garbage out — crappy writing/content will show through even if the page looks wonderful.

    I hate to say the blogazine needs a framework because that might just lead to more homogenization, but if there was one then you’d see people jump all over it and soon everyone would be asking for “basic” blogs.

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  159. 206

    Oh snap, i just read the instructions about no link dropping, sorry SM. Paddy, I really would like you to look at it though and see if you think Blogazine would work or be beneficial, if you could.

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  160. 207

    I skipped over most of that cos it was difficult to read, which goes onto my second point, its what you write what counts, not how it looks.

    Take a spamming blog for instance, no matter how nice the design may seem, if it reads like crap, it generally is.

    Whilst I appreciate that each blog post would be cool if it could have a unique design, this would require a lot of design time and would not be cost effective for most individuals/businesses – with the exception being designers, who are most likely going to be more creative with their design rather than their words.

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  161. 208

    Sorry, this post looks like ransom-note typography on steroids.

    The fact is, even if you’re a good designer, it takes more than a few minutes to devise a good design idea. If you’re using a dozen or more design ideas in your “non-boring” blog post, as this writer does, most of the ideas will be mediocre or worse. That’s a lot of substandard design to put in front of your potential clients.

    Then consider all the crappy designers and non-designers out there. If they get into the act…. God help us.

    There is a graphical approach that works with blog post. They’re called infographics. A good one takes a lot of time to produce – hours, not minutes – but they are sometimes the perfect medium.

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  162. 209

    Interesting and creative layout make this post more interesting to read on… Love it!

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  163. 210

    This post is the best I’ve read in a while.
    Thanks!

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  164. 211

    Back to read on an actual computer and I realize that you are showing versatility and trying to prove a point but, my god! It’s all over the place. There’s a reason for the “boring” blog style—you can READ it, which is the point. It might be an old adage from print but I believe it still holds true in web design—form follows function. Here, form is the king and everything else is getting lost in it.

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  165. 212

    Fantastic article Paddy. Hopefully it will inspire more people to do the same.

    Interesting that you mention online stores as I’ve taken a similar approach to designing a bookable holiday site that is currently in progress. Nothing as drastic as a blogazine but enough to differentiate sections and keep things interesting for the users while still keeping the same overall style.

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  166. 213

    I’ve personally found this style of writing articles to be a load of work. It takes me about six hours to go from idea to rough draft to proofing to final draft to design comp to the actual process of marking up and styling a post. Nevertheless I’ve found it to be a fulfilling part of the month where I can explore new ideas and not worry about budgets and stuff. :)

    Oh, and can someone come up with a better name for this than “blogazine”? Please?
    I see this as writing articles, not “blogging” because the sole purpose of why anyone would do this sort of thing isn’t just to put something quick and pretty online – it’s about the content.

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  167. 214

    Great article and great typography! Very inspiring.

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  168. 215

    this is something different.. but i didn’t know you can use special theme for individual article like this one.. how is it done? any reference? i’m new to wordpress world..kinda ;)

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  169. 216

    If you have to rely on design tricks to attract readers, then your content probably sucks and it won’t work anyway.

    If your content doesn’t suck, you’ll get the readers regardless of the layout…unless you make it so complicated for them that decide to go somewhere else.

    Nevertheless, I think this post is well done and you’ve illustrated your points very nicely.

    (And one of mine, too.)

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  170. 217

    This page might be innovative, but it’s a horror otherwise. Not just because of it’s brutal srcoll lenght. The design uses way too much fonts and schemes without any concept.
    I welcome the braveness, but this is a FAIL.

    I agree, we see things different way. And different tastes we have.
    But this page is out of control, shows some basic misunderstandings of graphic design, typography and web usability. Maybe ‘cool’ is enough for SM.

    Sad, the post is great behind it.

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  171. 218

    This may be the most inspirational post on Smashing Magazine that I have ever read. This changes everything.

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  172. 219

    Great article Paddy, very original

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  173. 220

    I’m not sure this is as practical as it sounds. You want people to design an entirely new site (like Jason does) for every single blog post?!? Are you nuts? Who has that time? Plus, print magazines only ran, what, weekly? Monthly? They had TIME to create different layouts…blog posting happens almost DAILY. Nobody has that much time to design a new layout. Unless they’re anti-social and have no lives. This was a very interesting post and fosters some great creativity, but I don’t think it appeals to the masses.

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    • 221

      I think the issue (and maybe the point) is that yes…”blog posting happens almost DAILY”, but the content in those posts seems lacking luster, repetitive, boring, and a lot of times pointless. Why not take a little time to write a good post weekly or monthly and make both it’s design and content (which should compliment each other anyway) appealing to those reading it?

      On other point…”Nobody has that much time to design a new layout. Unless they’re anti-social and have no lives”. Are you commenting on those that daily create the blogs or those that have time (daily) to read them?

      I’d love to hear Jason Santa Maria’s insight on how long it takes him to complete a new blog design.

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  174. 222

    Even though I didn’t read the whole text this collection and its design is brilliant. Exactly this is what the future of the web should look like – against the mainstream towards new forms of communication and visual representation. This is evolution ;

    thx for this post!

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  175. 223

    Why wouldn’t anyone like this post?

    This was fantastic, a very original and inspiring topic.

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  176. 224

    Post of the year, finally someone said it. Well done Paddy, this is top quality and no doubt took a huuge amount of effort.

    For me, it was worth every second.

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  177. 225

    I feel like nothing… thanks…. AMAZING!

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  178. 226

    I loved reading this post. It gave me lots of great ideas. I am definitely going to start making subtle layout changes on my blog posts. Thanks for all the work you put into it.

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  179. 227

    Absolutely amazing! While I think it could be toned down a little bit, the opportunity this post provided is limitless! I will definitely be thinking of this as I start to put together my own personal blog/site.

    Is all this CSS/HTML even possible within a WordPress? Or would something like Joomla be more ideal?

    Thoughts?

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  180. 228

    Here’s a tutorial on doing this with WordPress and Textpattern:
    http://willworkforart.net/tutorials/designing-individual-blog-posts

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  181. 229

    I thought this was a great post! and a valid point I have never really thought of before. Highlighting the advantages and disadvantages was also a nice touch.

    The only negative think i would say about this approach is I almost found the design was so fun and exciting I was scrolling faster than I could read, to see what was next in design and not the copy itself. Is that really a bad thing(yeah, maybe… I don’t know)?

    Great job! Thanks

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  182. 230

    Well, I´m little in between liking and not liking this style of blogging. I like it because it makes the post more fun and engaging to read. However, I find the post somehow little bit distracting and as you guys said “overdesigned”. It may just be bacause I´m not used to posts like this. One major challange as I see, as someone else already mentioned, is the time needed to create posts like these.

    All in all, thanks for a very interesting and engaging post!

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  183. 231

    fantastic. didn’t read all the comments and forgot my question. but fantastic

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  184. 232

    WOW! loved the article – written words and visual portion. This was a long article and I, most likely, would have skimmed at some point, but blocking sections kept it short and I could easily run to the printer or lunch and easily pick up where i left off.

    I like how soon after i started i realized the post was blogazine-styled. I am thankful for seeing a new direction to “boring” blogs. while reading some of the linked posts, I checked the timeline of each post and saw that they weren’t everyday blogs, but good thought blogs.

    Enjoyed this article very much. Thanks for the read.

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  185. 233

    The reason people use standard layouts for blogs is because they’re easy-to-read and easy-to-use. All this blog article did was confuse my sense a little bit because I didn’t know what to look at first. I’m not saying that it’s a horrible post, because it looks great, I just think we should stick to some sort of standard layout and not go off on a massive tangent.

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  186. 234

    I like this concept – if only there were a series of twitter posts to spoon-feed me this information in little bites… :) It also reminds me that my blog is boring. Which is not good. seriously not good. THANKS for making me think (and read, and read, and read).

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  187. 235

    My question is if HTML wasn’t designed for page layout, CSS wasn’t designed for page layout, tables weren’t designed for page layout…what the hell was designed for page layout???

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  188. 236

    1st rule on the web: Form follows function – it’s better to have a boring layout than a boring content!
    2nd rule: KISS – keep it simple, stupid. And this is much more difficult than it sounds.

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  189. 237

    This article was great!!

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  190. 238

    dont…..
    make…..
    me……………
    think!
    (too much)

    importance to me as a reader by %
    cool non-boring different approach design========= .0023%
    let me scan/read this ASAP & be on my merry way=== 5,000,034,954,175bafillion%

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  191. 239

    My two pennies:
    This post was a lot of fun, and, like most things here, will fit some people/blogs, and not others. MOST telling is that SM itself says it won’t switch to this format…

    Interesting future article might be how to do this (smartly) in WordPress, Drupal, Joomlah, HTML…

    LOVE that not everyone agrees! If they did, then THAT’D be boring.
    At least we all agree that Macs rule, cats are better than dogs, and eating meat is murder.
    HA!

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  192. 240

    Great blog design, boring? heh – far from it. This is the closest experience to reading a book that I’ve found online (never kindled). A sense of Tangibility goes a long way if you can fake it digitally. While reading the post I quickly built flow around my task – which is focusing on the content

    INMHO people who found this boring were not entertained by the content, or their ability to focus on the content was impeded by a feeling of shock (what web page am i on?) After wards my trained reaction being “No worries, relax, be patient, lets hope for change and change for the best”

    What else can I say… other than a blog is as boring as it’s content… new blog designs sound like a fun new trend so I’m jumpin’ on this wagon

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    • 241

      @Joe – I’m not at all against new ideas! But at least in Germany most blogs don’t work not because of the design but of boring content. So let’s hope that those who think and play with their ideas will “rethink” the design in the described way.

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  193. 242

    Sometimes I feel that I’m the only one left in the world to whom words matter. Clear, legible words in simple font, black on white, which let me follow the ideas and arguments being expressed. I’m sick of glaring colours, dark text on dark backgrounds, intrusive videos/animations and other distractions. I will continue to follow blogs which tell me things that are interesting, regardless of whether they do or do not have other bells and whistles.

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  194. 243

    Have to say I love this look, will you be adopting it from now on?
    My blog is also very boring, I must change that.

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  195. 244

    The “content” of the article was good. However, it was not easy to read, seemed to jump around some. That might be due to the fact that typography was everywhere, I was looking up down left right, from right to left and left to right and scrolling but not knowing when or how much to scroll due some large gaps between content.

    However, the idea is FANTASTIC! It just needs to read better, maybe not so extreme? Maybe because it went from a light bg to a dark bg then back to a light one. There has to be some consistency, even magazine articles have some consistency within the article itself?

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  196. 245

    This was your most amazing article ever.

    I clicked on the link to read the story because I do like Jason Santa Maria’s blog. And then, wham! Smashing! This is an in-your-face way to spark discussion on a new trend.

    For all those who didn’t like the design, you have missed the point! The point of the article was to present the IDEA of art-directed posts by doing it in an art-directed article. This was not a time to critique the design of that particular article (“too many typefaces,” “I didn’t like the color,” “too much scrolling,” blah blah blah). Whether you liked that particular design is not the point (and of course not everybody is going to like one single design); the IDEA is the point.

    I can see how this approach may be too much for frequent blog posts, but it made me thing of different designs for various categories. As it happens I am working on a new blog right now and I intend to explore that approach, which seems like a good compromise between having every post look the same and having every post look different.

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    • 246

      Actually, I think those folks have made the point more than missed it, Eric. If you’re trying to present the idea of an art-directed article, presumably to entice people to try it, you probably ought to make sure it does a stellar job of delivering the content. Otherwise, you’re creating an instant argument against the idea, even if the concept is fundamentally sound.

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  197. 247

    This article really inspired me to create my own blog posts like this. It’s such a brilliant, way of blogging ..I’ve never thought of doing something like this before! Brilliant post ..loved it!

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  198. 248

    Well, I think the post important thing about blog posts is the content!
    Layout and design are just a frame.

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  199. 249

    While I can definitely appreciate the time and effort that goes into creating posts like this one, I have to echo the idea that different doesn’t always equate with better. I think it’s great to find inspiration places off the web, but ultimately we have to remember that the internet and print are two very different delivery methods: It makes sense to pull ideas and cues from one to the other, but it’s a slippery slope when you start to lose sight of the fundamentals of what you’re designing for.

    Jason Santa Maria is the ultimate positive example for this sort of design because he doesn’t go overboard, and keeps his page layouts to the basic tenets of design, which makes them pleasing to read, accessible and familiar even when they’re all different. This page, while a valiant effort, is a poor argument for the style: It wouldn’t be a good page layout on or off the web, because it requires too much effort and is too distracting. It comes off as design for design’s sake, which is great for, you know, DESIGN, but not very good for actual, readable content.

    Ultimately, I think the bottom line is always going to be accessibility. The dynamics of reading internet content is vastly different to that of reading a physical magazine. It’s all too easy to click away, and I have to admit that I had to master that impulse several times while reading this article. I think there are ways to make this work, but that as both designers and publishers of content, we have to weigh how many people will be drawn to the snazzy design versus how many people will be clicking away because it wasn’t usable for them.

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  200. 250

    Shane Hudson - Be Motivational

    November 19, 2009 11:30 am

    This is rather annoying. I thought I would be the first blog to do it! I have a very similar thing planned to be release soon.

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  201. 251

    GREAT piece! It almost feels like a manifesto, doesn’t it?

    One thing this article has clearly done is separate out the artists from the computer engineers.

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  202. 252

    One of the most visually striking posts I’ve seen! Incredible article Paddy. Congratulations!

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  203. 253

    Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

    Perhaps I get this because I worked in the print industry until 2003?
    Perhaps I get this because I saw JSM speak about this in detail at An Event Apart last year?

    I dunno. But I’m firming on the side of the idea that the web has a lot to learn from centuries of print design. It was extremely exciting and inspiring to read this article today.

    I also believe that it was the author’s intent, by using so many design motifs within the article to show how varied (and fun!) (and just darn interesting!) individually fashioned posts can be, not that we should use so many in our own. It’s like each section above is it’s own “post” in a way. (SM – correct me if I’m wrong!)

    At any rate, I’ll take looking like NYLON or Domino any day over looking like just-another-apple-inspired-site. I’m up for the challenge!

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  204. 254

    Curious what this looks like across all browsers, especially IE6…

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  205. 255

    Visually captivating and engaging content. If this is the way blogs are headed, I think we’re all in for a real treat.

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  206. 256

    I’m very impressed. I’ve seen Dustin Curtis’ incredibly designed blog posts, I missed lunch in order to browse through all of the designs. My personal blog shares tips about programming and using other programs. I post as often as I need to share a tip; those posts come from experiencing an issue or being apart of some discovery. A structured blog like that, a blog with a pretty narrow focus, I think needs a general design that is consistent across posts, especially when they’re all tiny. None of my content is revolutionary, not like a lot Dustin’s or others.

    If I ran another blog about some topic and posted infrequently, it certainly could be possible to do a blogazine but as a non-designer, I can only accomplish minor tweaks. In short, I think designing a design for each post is incredibly cool and it makes a statement of its own, even if the content isn’t that great, but on the other hand, a majority of bloggers (such as myself) probably could never do it.

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  207. 257

    Content informative. CHECK! Layout… NOT CHECK! A layout like this only works for a site such as Smashing with an article such as this. Was hard to follow at first but after a couple of minutes you figure it out.

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  208. 258

    First, I didn’t have a problem reading the post.

    Second, I don’t think we have to follow it exactly. Think of it more as a concept. Something to think about the next time your writing a blog post.

    You don’t have to go all the way, you could use this concept for featured post. Yeah, I think that’s the best idea. Use it maybe once or twice a month.

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  209. 259

    Nice post and all, I’m sure the desgn took you a while but it seems like the classy thing to do would be not to draw attention to it…?

    Otherwise a good read on an interesting topic.

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  210. 260

    It’s the content; packaging only gets you so far, for so long. Being pretty doesn’t mean you have interesting and insightful things to say. I’d much rather go out with a girl who is both pretty and voluptuous with substance. When I’m reading on the internet, I want the meat of the message. I don’t want to scroll for 5 minutes to reach the bottom of the post, scan the entire page from bottom right corner to upper left corner, et cetera. Hell, moving between Chrome and Firefox, it drives me mad that Firefox doesn’t fill in the URL as I type. I’m required to, gasp, actually select the URL from the drop-down by moving my finger.

    Also, to this point, “I feel an intense amount of freedom when I’m not constrained by the box of pre-formed design,” I feel an intense amount of freedom in being able to easily slap up a templated blog and spread my ideas. I enjoy throwing out the print media/magazine rule book and simply concentrating on the message. Different strokes for different folks.

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  211. 261

    I soooo needed this article RIGHT NOW, thanks a lot! Now I have to go back & scrap 3 blog designs that I’ve been working on and make them better, SMILE!

    The Creativeleague Team
    twitter.com/creativeleague

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  212. 262

    Absolutely AWESOME article — the first time I have read *every word* in a SM article. A wonderfully entertaining, informative and INSPIRING read.

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  213. 263

    regardless of whatever style or programming is good or bad, the content of a blog is THE MOST IMPORTANT. we designers forget that sometimes. In the real world people want to read good stuff and don’t really care what it looks like… Otherwise the thousands of ugly magazines and newspapers around the world would never be in business!

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  214. 264

    How much of this effort is wasted due to the fact that most people read blog posts through RSS feed readers that strip out the bulk of the design? Content is still King. A blog post is nothing without quality content. The rest, though not necessarily bad, is not necessarily an improvement either.

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  215. 265

    Thanks for the info! I have a few other questions. Say I have a WordPress blog, and very little CSS adn HTML experience. What tools, software and plugins will help me get started the easiest? And do I need a specific WordPress version? I have a Mac, if that makes a difference.
    On a separate note from design, you stated that 1 good article is better than 4 so-so articles. I find I agree. Is it important to convey the schedule up-front to readers? Where? How long is too long between articles?
    Thanks!
    Brindey
    @brindey

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  216. 266

    The post layout was a bit crap to be blunt, while getting carried away with these new layouts you have forgotten what actually makes web pages usable.

    Jason Santa Maria is the original pioneer of this type of blog, his are well written, to the point and still usable.

    Some of the other ‘blogazines’ you feature are horrendously bad compared to his.

    Mandy

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  217. 267

    I’ll gladly read a blog post that is black on white and the default for some blogger application – if the content is what I want. Wayyy too much time is spent on what it looks like. At one time nearly every newspaper in the world looked the same, but it wasn’t the “look” that (necessarily) separated the New York Times from the Greenville, Mississippi newspaper — it was the content.

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  218. 268

    I have to say that the growing fad for uniquely designed blog posts isn’t going to break any new ground. The reason is simple, as designers, we must also spare a thought for those outside the field of web design who prefer a fairly ‘normal” reading experience. I enjoyed the post, but this is definitely not a modern progression in terms of blogging. It’s just a group of designers with time in their hands and good visual design skills. Is it really worth the effort? I don’t think so. Now I’m beginning to understand why some people refer to designers as narcissists! :)

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  219. 269

    Hallelujah!
    Eureka!
    Amen!

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  220. 270

    My god I feel like I’m sitting in the front row at the movies, having to turn my head to see the whole post. Can you make this any bigger.

    Its nice that people spend the time to style individual posts but this isn’t going to become a trend, no one has the time. It would be nice to see magazine type sites implement different layouts for their articles but it is not practical for a common blog.

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  221. 271

    The post is obviously a success ’cause neither of us found middle ground. That’s exactly what separates generic from non-generic, in this case as the article explained very well, blog post as a part of a greater system like Smashing Magazine.

    Inline elements make perfect sense here ’cause they are used exclusively on this post.

    Great work, easy to understand and a gliding reading sensation just like in a paper magazine :)

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  222. 272

    I cringe when I hear (or read) “inline styling”, so I really had to stop and think about this, but it makes sense. If all the blog posts are going to be different anyway, there’s no need for a global stylesheet. Of course, this makes it more difficult to account for different media (print vs. screen, for example), but that doesn’t seem like a priority here.

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  223. 273

    Loved this post!! it has already given me a couple ideas that I can run with for some experimentation!

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  224. 274

    The truth is that I would not have ready this article if it was not for the layout. Now after reading it I am glad I did. This was a great article. I think everyone should give Paddy a little more slack, I think this is a great step in the right direction. What is that last thing you did that was completely out of the box, that wasn’t a trend? Keep up the great work Paddy!

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  225. 275

    Paddy,
    you did amazing on this article. I really love this style and its so unique. I really appreciate the amount time it took you to lay out this beast. I screen capped it and saved it in my LittleSnapper “inspiration” base. Cheers.

    I don’t know how many people can say “this was hard to read”. Its such a pain to scroll isn’t it? I mean its one finger… I read it on a laptop & my iPhone and it was fine and didn’t make me cry. Instead I appreciated all the time that was put into this, instead of cramming it all into the WP interface like every other blog, styling it and hitting publish. This means he sat down and thought about his topic very in-depth because he had to setup the architecture and flow of how we as viewers would craft our way through it.

    However, I feel many people are afraid of change and are making a few more scrolls and burning a little extra time to enjoy an article instead of reading and dumping it from their brain. This makes reading more of an experience instead of a useless rant of 6200+ WordPress plugins that you’ve never heard of nor will you find a use for. That’s my 2 cents.

    Cheers to SmashingMag for not being afraid to step outside of the box and cheers for Paddy and the time it took to execute this.

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  226. 276

    OMG! This is definitely huge step far ahead to great visual perception and real magazine-looking design!!! Great job guys!

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  227. 277

    i like this idea, but i agree with a commenter above that said *this* article was poorly designed. there was no consistency at all. each time the design made a drastic change it was very distracting. in magazines – each article follows ONE design. yes, i understand the point of this was to show you the many options – but it went a little bit overboard.

    dustin curtis and jason santamaria’s blogs were very welll designed and easy to read, all at the same time breaking away from blog tradition.

    …they did a great job. and THIS article would have been great – if i would have been able to read it. the designer dropped the ball!

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  228. 278

    This concept is really interesting, and I just might have to use it! :)

    While, I don’t think this blog post is the best-designed, I think you might have over designed just to get the point across about how unique a blog post can look and feel. I’m also intrigued by the fact that this doesn’t look like a blog post at all–is that good or bad, will that confuse the user, is it more difficult on the backend? I like the idea of introducing more magazine-esque stylings (the fact that the articles are all different and feel different but exist within one brand), and am curious if this will catch on in the future. If done will, I hope it will.

    I think the examples from Jason Santa Maria were the most successful in still be clearly a blog post but being unique to the article. It doesn’t appear that he was purposefully over designing just because he could.

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  229. 279

    Personally, I like the originality of this post. Unfortunately for me, I could no sooner produce something at this level of creativity than I could grow a third eye.

    Professionally, from a marketer’s standpoint, we have heard so many positive benefits of user-generated content that it’s difficult to appreciate something that only a limited number of consumers could create. Also, people are likely to come into any page of your site (which makes sense with today’s search capabilities) and it would be difficult to maintain continuity throughout the other pages that they visit if every page is uniquely styled – without continuity, aren’t you making it more difficult for readers to know they’re still on your site/in the right place/going where you want them to go?

    Overall – A+ for originality, but not sure it’s something we’ll see becoming more prominent.

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  230. 280

    I think this type of design fits the certain content, there should be a story behind such layout…so that design would give some extra tints to the read but not complicating it. I myself love blogazine (agree the word is funny btw ;) ) style and would be glad to see some featured SM articles designed this way from time to time

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  231. 281

    you just pissed off every single programmer that read this.

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  232. 282

    Wow, so many ways to respond to this article… I don’t know if it was done as a spoof of creativity or not but I can say I was not really impressed by this one although the topic could definitely be expanded. The design of it was something that I literally read the first bit then just got to a point I was like, ok that’s enough on the eyes, I’m scrolling to the bottom.

    Designing a page layout with creativity is not something that everyone can do which is why you see so many blogs that look the same with their content, regardless what theme they use. If you are a branded business or one that has a design team on staff, then there should be no excuse, your article page should look like some effort was put into it.

    I think if you have something to say in a page, you need to keep the person attached long enough to gain their attention span and if you see just 1000’s of words on a page and no graphical output, you will end up losing that person. Creating something eye catching is very important and in an ideal world of web sites and blogging, it would be nice for everyone to have graphic design and publishing skills.

    Anyway, I can say that themes are simply a wrapper for a website or blog but when it comes to content layout, most blogs and web sites are very boring. On the flip side, creating fancy magazine layouts with well thought out design is definitely something that would create a memorable experience for anyone and would make them come back for more because people are generally visual.

    It also depends on the site as well because not all sites are meant to be all glamorous when the concept is simply to get the news information out. Most blogs are not meant to really be fancy glossy magazines but if that is what it required then you are doing more than a blog.

    What it comes down to is this…if you have the skill and the time, then I’d say go for the creative side and stand out!

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  233. 283

    A truly great article, bravo, I love it!

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  234. 284

    Why on index page display 0 comments for this article?

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    • 285

      I was actually curious about that too with the article on the front intro that it said 0 comments. And here I thought I was going to be the first one to comment! lol…. instead I became #269

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  235. 286

    This has hit a major issue with the blogging community that will eventually kill something big. I thought the article and layout was styled very well. It is very hard to be different these days especially with such easy access to hundreds of blogging themes.

    Thanks again for the write up

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  236. 287

    This is an amazing article. Breath-taking. Way to push things forward.

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  237. 288

    sorry, i found this layout very hard to follow. traditional blog posts will have their place for a long time. remember it is the visitor we need to think about, not the page designer.

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  238. 289

    Static design allows us not to worry about navigating through the site.
    Different design ща pages is beautiful, but the usual design page, we can decorate the message framing.

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  239. 290

    Diets and high fructose corn syrup comments aside,
    What if Coke changed the look of its can every day? How soon before we tired of looking for it?

    I think that’s what turned me off on this article.
    Yes, I did like the creativity…but my usability went through the floor.

    For instance I did notice in my normal scan, “Let’s now look at three people who exhibit all four qualities:”
    After scrolling back up to see the “four qualities” I had apparently over looked (I hadn’t … just didn’t pay attention that there were four of them), I then scanned down looking for the three names.

    I had to scan twice before realizing the names were in a smaller font than the BOLD WIDE font directly above it…and thus was easy to miss.

    While I agree with the comment that magazines would be boring if all articles used the same template, I think holding on to design elements WITHIN those templates is damn necessary.

    On every road we travel…all the billboards are different…but we know what they look like and where they are located and how to use them.

    have fun!
    John

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  240. 291

    Really liked this post, excellent eye-opener! A lot of people have been responding with it being “too big”, but isn’t everything else just too small?

    We’ve been trained to see posts and searching for the important bits. It’s nice to see you showing how things can be different!

    0
  241. 292

    Where will you advertise with a similar design?

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  242. 293

    content counts. nice & outstanding design ist helpful but…
    content content content ist much more important.

    0
  243. 294

    This is amazing!
    Designers are putting a lot of effort and energy in writing excellent posts and actually educating people for free, Tools of trade were a secret of almost every successful person just few decades back. These blogs and magazines are magic tricks of design magicians.
    And designing every post individually is just OFF-THE-HOOK. You can print a book every 6 months! Make money out of it. More people will be reading and enjoying the posts and participating. This is so awful some people say they find this post boring?
    This is THE IDEA. Smashing magazine could just go ahead and start a ‘blogozine’ themselves and make you go “WOW” – SM are THE BEST and all. But they want designers to think creatively about something they love to do.
    I can just design a blog post with the craziest design idea i had in mind but I was unable to execute on any client site or even my own weblog.
    Talking about the disadvantages, The only ones I see are that you’ll end up “Learning more, Designing more, Loving what you do more & Getting Famous”.
    I will start my new blog as a “blogozine” InshAllah (if God wills) starting next year.
    Thanks Paddy & SM.
    One Great Post!

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  244. 295

    I have to say that it was one of the best blog excperiences so far :D

    I deffinitely will try to make use of this in my blog.

    0
  245. 296

    I enjoyed the article, and I think that the strong reactions to the visual presentation serve to perfectly exhibit the disadvantages of this type of design. Jason Santa Maria’s portfolio has been a perfect example: it’s cool, it’s polished, and he always posts top-notch content. However, the inconsistency (for lack of a better word) can be a bit jolting at times. This style is not for everyone, which the article states clearly.

    Having said that … I second, third, and fourth the “online magazine” as opposed to “blogazine” term. Please don’t add another useless Internet meme to the heap.

    0
  246. 297

    Great post!

    Simply genius, the idea, the concept and the execution! Congrats!

    That’s why I really love SMS, always full of surprises! :)

    0
  247. 298

    Excellent article, I would love to see more articles of this quality on Smashing Magazine.

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  248. 299

    I’m inspired by this article. I’d like to try something along these lines. Thanks!

    0
  249. 300

    Cool post, yet simplicity is always nice. For users who want data fast, sticking with a common structure works just fine. Yet I think designers need to wake up, branch out, and try something different, exactly like this post every now and then. Otherwise every site will turn into a run of the mill WordPress template

    0
  250. 301

    Absolutely brilliant. Will clearly try in the future to do something like this. Not as a blogazine necessarily but as something new and inspiring. Indeed, the death of the blog post! Keep it up Smashing, can you go even further with making us go “WOW !!! ” ?

    0
  251. 302

    You can see that you created sth. really unique and creative if the envy-badgers come out of their holes, flaming at your comment section.

    THUMBS UP!

    0
    • 303

      WOW, this really has made me seriously think. @ Jognnie, DEFINITELY a thumbs up. But along with the creative thing…I mean what if you have the typical 2 column (main left column – right sidebar) layout…isn’t it just a tad hard to do something like that? And if you’re on wordpress…then wouldn’t it be even harder? Idk, just wondering. But I REALLLY like this post though :) I definitely plan to try to implement something like this soon.

      0
  252. 304

    I found this very inspirational. Thanks for the take on convention vs. innovation.

    0
    • 305

      Because my creativity doesn’t extend far past drawing stick-people, these blogs are awe-inspiring. I like SM’s “tribute” post. Well done.

      If I tried emulating such creativity, I’d publish twice, maybe thrice a year.

      There’s got to be a middle ground; somewhere between template repetition adnausium and singular unique creativity. Damning stick figures, we’ve been trying to find it since 2004, on our randsco website.

      However, my hat is off to this talented trio!

      0
  253. 306

    What a load of crap.

    0
    • 307

      @max: Let’s see your site, douche.

      0
    • 309

      Not only are you apparently behind the times, but you love to clearly show off why. Hope you can catch up to the rest of us soon enough! Or then again that archaic thinking of yours might have already done you in!

      0
    • 310

      Wait, what? Is a different opinion considered as being behind?

      0
    • 311

      I don’t agree with this choice of words, but do agree with the message.

      I found this article so incredibly hard to read that I actually skipped to the end when I reached half way. It’s horrible to have to get used to a new formatting every three paragraphs and it totally missed the point. You’d think that formatting should complement the content, not distract from it.

      Like people remark in other comments (below), this is only useful if you publish for people with an interest in alternative web design, not for people who have other interests. And to be honest, I’d say that even the regular SM reader isn’t sointerested in this ‘alternative web design’ that it is worth your trouble to design an article like this, and not worth our trouble to wrestle through the paragraphs.

      I suggest not doing this ever again, or providing an option to read the same content in the regular formatting depending on the reader’s preferences.

      By the way, I am under the impression that the three designers you mention get the idea of ‘blogazines’ a lot better than you do, as their layouts are a lot easier on the eyes and actually complement the content. In this manner I am all for individually styled blog posts; please don’t style individual paragraphs of the same blog post though!

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      • 312

        Wilbur Like Smith

        November 25, 2009 9:57 am

        Totally agree with Ohcyt above

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      • 313

        > I suggest not doing this ever again, or providing an option to read the same content in the regular formatting depending on the reader’s preferences.
        Disable css…

        0
      • 314

        I agree with Ohcyt completely!! What ever happened to content is king? This was just distracting, and all about design… In essence, you made me think too much… It should be a balance of not just design, but content aswell! And I stopped reading here….

        –>What if a print magazine used the same template for every article?
        It would be pretty boring, no?–

        This statement is true, yes, but it’s print… I’m pretty sure everyone knows print and web are two different things. I say stick to what works, but still find your creativity within what works!

        0
      • 315

        I say this is a very nice post.

        “…but still find your creativity within what works!”

        @ Jarvis88: very well said.

        0
      • 316

        I have to agree with Ohcyt and this camp. Blogs are distinctly different beasts than print magazines and articles. And while new and fresh designs can be wondrous treats when well-designed and relevant, this post unfortunately seems to serve as a less shining example of the practice as… well, a new trend. That’s not to say that I don’t think people should push the boundaries of traditional design and expectations. But rather, when you take a chance and break the ‘rules,’ you just as often risk making things worse. Of course, traditionally designed ‘templated’ blogs and sites can be poorly designed as well, but back to the the issue of trends, just because it’s new and different, doesn’t necessarily make it better.

        *All the same, while I don’t think this page layout quite ‘works,’ kudos to the author/designer for taking a stab at this.

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  254. 317

    This was an extremely interesting article. I honestly had never considered using print layout in a web setting as my mind had set the two apart. Perhaps from the culture of web design or simply my lack of print experience. This has given me many ideas about the direction of the blog I intend to create.

    Great work.

    0
    • 318

      I completely agree, and I think this is one of the points of the articles. Print design is very different to web design. You don’t have the limitations of browser ‘quirks’, font availability, screen resolution, etc and so you find a freedom is opened up to you.

      That being said, print design doesn’t necessarily work well in a web environment, but I feel there are enough examples of excellent layout techniques around that it is worthy of being tried, if nothing more as a challenge to your normal day to day posts. Love it or hate it, I think the Apple website uses a strong print layout design to showcase their products, and it works really well! Will that work for blogging? I don’t see why not.

      @Ohcyt mentioned that SM readers are generally here for the content, and that the ‘alternate design’ is not what they are so interested in. I would like to disagree, I think SM is about making us aware, as a community, about whats out there, what the trends are, inspire us to bigger and better things, and give us the tools and teaching to be able to achieve that. So I think this sort of post is exactly why I check in regularly to see what’s going on.

      Everyone should take on the challenge. Don’t let the mediocre design, browser ‘quirks’ and client preconceptions dictate what we are each capable of achieving, if only we tried something different once in a while. Push the boundaries, try something new, and deliver that knock-out blow to the competition that makes you stand out from the rest, just like SM does.

      Keep up the great work all!

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  255. 319

    Hideous. The point of blogging is to design for your reader, not for your own crazy designing pleasure. If a normal (non designer) were to read this, they would puke.

    0
    • 320

      Nope. Not a designer. Loved it. Could not stop reading.

      We aren’t talking about scientific papers here, but something that’s supposed to be interesting and keep your attention.

      Perhaps the simple minded (such as yourself) can’t get behind it. That’s ok. Carry on with your stock wordpress template.

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    • 321

      I think the idea is great for designers that like to experiment, but it tends to be “too much” for web designers used to think in structure and consistency.

      Whereas the “normal” reader will love this. If there is one thing we know from the terrible old gif-mania, myspace and the hideous stuff that tends to happen to everything when you let people with no design experience a lot of freedom designing stuff, then that is:
      The regular reader and internet surfer likes overly customized stuff, and doesn’t give half as much a crap on consistency like a designer does. So yes, this is a great idea, and it is certainly appealing to people.

      There is only one big question to ask: is it worth the work? A print magazine can afford spending time on the design of one article, because every single copy is going to be sold to the reader. Not putting up this effort would not justify selling it.
      If you’re blog has a big audience, if you are trend-setting or mind-setting in your industry, this effort might pay off. But a blog with ~200 readers won’t generally take benefit from putting so much work into customized presentation, as the writing itself might already take more time than you’d like to invest and cost you a lot of dedication.

      So maybe the world is still waiting for a solid CMS that makes use of the great user interface technologies in a smart way, to help people achieve more customized designs? ‘Cause a print magazine wouldn’t probably be so interesting and well designed if the designers had to code it, and wouldn’t be able to drag stuff around and put it together as they like?

      -1
      • 322

        I understand the point, but also have a question: don’t you think that the reason for having only 200 readers could exactly be the fact that there’s not enough work on it. If you leverage your work by middle standards, you will never get more them… middle numbers. And this works not only for blog design!

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      • 323

        I totally agree with you on the fact that it might not be worth it to invest a lot of time and energy in designing a blog if you are not a major trendsetter or ambitious leading designer, as the writing itself maybe consumes a lot of resources already. And then you get to the question what is better: publish the content without the custom design or do not publish it at all?

        0
      • 324

        Meh, if you plan well, only the first post would take so much time to design this way. Since you do want some consistency, what you’d do is build a library of reusable styles, and so each subsequent post would benefit from the previous posts’ CSS classes, and the process would get faster and faster.

        Having said that, sure, if you’re doing custom illustrations, that takes time.

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    • 325

      Well, the same happens with the print industry: newspapers, and especially magazines, are designed for their readers. But this doesn’t mean that its content has to be displayed in a dull way. There are lots of magazines, books, and even newspapers designed in such a creative way that doesn’t affect the readability of its content. In fact, it provides a much better experience to the reader and gives a new life to its content.

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    • 326

      I tend to agree with you, I started reading the post got to the half of it and felt my stomach screaming.
      More than that, on such large posts white text on black background is bad for the eyes.

      He is very talented, I agree, but a blog post is a blog post. You read the post to get information not to be distracted by all kinds of different artworks playing with the writing.

      0
    • 327

      God this is the first time i read such a long blog post. why ? because not only the content was interesting, but the styling for each paragraph is awesome i couldn’t stop reading till finish !!
      Can’t wait to make one of my own ..

      thanks SM for publishing such a GREAT article ! one of the best i read at SM !

      0
    • 328

      @Alex
      > If a normal (non designer) were to read this, they would puke.

      Dizziness, lol

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  256. 329

    I found this post to be very interesting. It seems to me this would be a new and engaging way to deliver content to users.

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  257. 330

    WOW I’d love to know how long it took to do the CSS for this…while this is a very awesome layout…it’s not practical for people with…jobs. I barely have time to publish my once daily blog posts that I spend at least an hour everyday. How am I supposed to spend 4-5 hours mocking up and coding something like this AND get work done?

    0
    • 331

      I think this looks great, but I am with Amber. Even if I knew how to code at this level, the time wouldn’t be there. Nevertheless, in certain situations as you mention, this approach would work fantastic.

      0
    • 332

      Read the article again, this technique is clearly not for daily bloggers.

      0
  258. 333

    …Simply delicious !

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  259. 334

    This is just amazing……. I don’t even know how we can try to stand out from the rest doing all the same kind of blogs and websites.

    0
  260. 336

    This is a great topic and I will definitely give this a second look next time I write a blog post.

    0
  261. 337

    Besides making your eyes jump horizontally, which is more an annoyance than a break from usability, the biggest web typography crime this article committed was making non-links look like links. Dustin Curtis has done the same thing too. It’s annoying at best and infuriating at worst.

    If some text is special, make it bold or italic. If you do either of those, then heck, switch up the color (but not to blue!). Enough sites eschew underlines for their hyperlinks in favor of differently-color text of the same weight (or bold I suppose). The flow of the article suffered for me because I was hovering over text that looked link-like and being disappointed so much.

    Neat idea and almost well-done. I agree that it’s impractical — content is king, and people read blog content in their RSS readers. This works for JSM and other designers because their audience is designers. On a non-design-blog site, the ROI would be awful for custom-designed articles and there would be a huge risk of diluting their brand and destroying their site’s usability. Like all design gimmicks, use this sparingly.

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  262. 338

    I am simply astounded by how often the word BORING shows up. If you find yourself bored all the time, here’s a clue: grow up and stop expecting the world to entertain you.

    Sayyyyy, maybe YOU are the boring one?!?

    0
  263. 339

    Great post…love the thinking. Reminds me of a book i have on my coffee table called The Art of Looking Sideways.

    0
  264. 340

    This is a terrible idea. No branding, no consistency. This promotes nothing but confusion.

    0
    • 341

      Provocative post–inspiring many comments! Some interesting ideas and layout options, but in this post, there was too much. I agree @LA, it was distracting and made the piece seem like many pieces stitched together badly.

      I like innovation and change. Still, I wonder if the blog post is boring. Newspaper articles looked the same for decades. Are we now in need of change every two years?

      Also, I’d like to scroll right on a piece like this one–instead of down–maybe a new scroll wheel on my mouse would help? Scroll ?

      0
  265. 342

    ok, amazing post…!!!
    well done sm !

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  266. 343

    Mmmm….tasty. This has me pondering and salivating all at the same time…

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  267. 344

    I did not enjoy reading this post and never finished it.
    Why? The layout was terrible, it was all over the place, I couldn’t even do a quick skim through. I have a large 23″ wide screen and the fonts in this post were just way too large and the text was all over the place; not to mention how some images were larger than the screen – could never see some of the images “whole” – in one screen, I had to keep scrolling up and down to view some of the images.

    0
    • 345

      Dude you´re tripping , I see it fine on a 17″ monitor.

      0
    • 346

      Word. While I think there are interesting points, this article was just simply impossible to read. :(

      0
    • 347

      I read this on a 13 inch Macbook while laying on the sofa AND I’m not wearing my contacts which makes it obvious that this post was awesomely readable. Sure go ahead and hate all you want, but don’t say images are too big and text was unreadable when it’s obviously and utterly false. To add insult to injury my Safari tab is not even maximized and I can see ALL the images and read ALL the text super easily even without glasses.

      0
      • 348

        A huge part of the problem doing something like this is that you are ALL right.

        Not only are you all using different devices, like everyone else who accesses the internet from whatever part of the world, your browser is set up the way you want want (or the way the techie who sets up your browser for you wants). Because of this, your clearly defined fonts, say, or text sizes, or background colours or whatever, is set to your chosen default, when the web design imposes their idea it can create conflicts, and cause divergences.

        So although Paddy Donnelly has put together a nice article to present an interesting idea, he has come up against the essential problem encountered with all web design: you can be wildly creative and break the mold every time, but if you do that you are going to sacrifice accessibility.

        Because if you want everyone who comes to your page to actually be able to access your content, you will have to spend hours testing it out on every browser and screen size available– from the tiniest cel phone to the widest of the widescreens.

        My screen is 1680pixels wide, and it is lovely to look at this blog post. It’s nice to see all of my screen real estate put to use. But.

        Paddy’s not bothered to make his wondrous beastie flexible at all. He has not elected to use either an elastic or flexible layout. I know this by employing the absolutely most basic test– shrinking my browser window to an 800 pixels width — whereupon the layout breaks badly. 800 pixel wide used to be standard screen size, and is probably still most common world wide.

        This tells me that Mr. Donnelly’s only satisfied audience are those with the same screen size as his. Anyone employing an 800 pixel wide screen could conceivably be driven mad trying to read a post of this length. With an 800 pixel screen width the reader is forced to pop back and forth across the screen like a ping pong ball.

        I despair of all the incredibly talented designers who create websites and blogs without any care for accessibility. It is not impossible, but It is hard to do, but you first need to master the tools and the theory. And then you have to do twice as much work and a lot of testing.

        Which of course explains why shortcuts like themes are employed. For myself, I’m perfectly happy redesigning someone else’s template (or “theme”) to function the way I need it to function, until I’ve the time to learn how to make my own. But I really see no benefit to doing the design and then the endless hours of testing in order to make the layout unique every time.

        But then, I’m old fashioned, because I want people to actually read my blog.

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  268. 349

    SUPER DUPER COOL!
    Very inspiring idea!
    I’d like to try my own blogazine
    soon after I finish my CSS and HTML lesson.

    0
  269. 350

    Great read. A lot of debate possible on both sides… Websites don’t have the tactile existence to a user that a mag has. The brand, per say stands to get lost if you scroll down to far and don’t design with that in mind.

    The CSS thing could be a pain. WordPress could adapt to this with a stylesheet field right under the heading.

    Otherwise, as another designer who started in editorial newsprint… I love to see this and needed a push in that direction.

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  270. 351

    Great article, congrats

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  271. 352

    this is the worlds best post.

    0
    • 353

      ABSOLUTELY! I couldn’t agree more!

      I would like to know, if he has a customfield for a new css-file for every post. Do anyone know about how this is done, technologically-wise?

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  272. 354

    I appreciate the vision but RSS was created for a reason.

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  273. 355

    It really depends…

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  274. 356

    Well – that certainly came out of the blue, and I certainly agree that ‘top 10 lists’ or similar posts are perhaps a little easy. I’ve been guilty of writing such posts myself.

    The individuality of posts like Jason Santa Maria’s are very interesting and often inspiring.

    Let’s not forget that the content is king; if the writing is of poor quality, then I won’t be reading, just looking.

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  275. 357

    I agree with harris…

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  276. 358

    Wow, so many comments in such a short time! Anyway Paddy, awesome work. Love the out-of-the-box approach.

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  277. 359

    The content of the article was sound, the execution was terrible. I have not seen so many information hierarchy rules broken on one page in my life. Poor form SM

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  278. 360

    Interesting thing – to use blogazine approach, we already have a bunch of tools like, say iWeb (simple, but you can combine easyiness of layout manipulation with power of custom themes and less HTML/CSS nightmares, especially, if you are not professional designer), or others – there are variants for different platforms.

    You can even made a good post about using blogazine approach for unprofessional designers by using such kind of software :-)

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  279. 361

    Awesome! This was the best post I’ve read on here, and I’m a huge fan of the site. The article kept my attention the WHOLE way through, where everything else I read online I skim and scan down. Way to get your point across!

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  280. 362

    This is brilliant stuff, and although I’m sort of scared about the extra work I feel this is where blogs will go in the future. There’ll surely be plenty that stick with the current format, and they’ll still succeed for sure, but it does seem sort of silly in hindsight that blogs, one of the most dynamic forms of media on the most dynamic platform in the world (the internet) have totally identical page layouts.

    I won’t be making the switch just yet, I’m not incredibly capable with CSS and XHTML, and should probably research print design, but this’ll really help push towards my dream of being less frequent with my writing, but packing a bigger punch with each post.

    0
  281. 363

    So what you are advocating is a return to the efforts we used to make with personal sites 10 years ago.

    0
    • 364

      Bingo. Kelake hit the nail on the head. I suppose the next SM post will be attempting to bring back the blink tag and news tickers?

      0
      • 365

        You guys need to read the post again. Look for the part where Paddy recommends that every blogger should be doing this. I couldn’t find it.

        For design-conscience bloggers that feel restricted by the lack of variety though, this is gold! Awesome post SM, this has got me salivating as well.

        My take on this would probably be to start with custom stylings for the different categories on my site, and once I’m satisfied it’s working out move to an individual styling for each post.

        Also, a good idea could be to provide an alternative CSS style (which would be your standard blog layout) with a link: “Click here to see this post in our standard formatting” or something similar, at the top of the post. Those users with no tolerance for anything different than Times New Roman at 12 points with blue hyperlinks will be satisfied, and those users who appreciate effort and quality can get their kicks too.

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  282. 366

    Outstanding. There’s nothing else to say.

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  283. 367

    By incorporating design to visually convey information and ideas, you increase the possibility that your reader will understand what you’re trying to say. It’s also an exercise in improving your own understanding of a topic.

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  284. 368

    Very, very informative article. I wrote an article on the Design Informer a couple of weeks ago about Unique Blog posts, and you can check it out on the blog. Sorry, but I can’t post links here.

    You can see other great sites besides Jason’s, Dustin’, and Gregory.

    I myself am planning to use this style for my redesign of my personal blog.

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  285. 369

    Jason Santa Maria makes us want to be better designers.
    Keep doing that man!

    0
  286. 370

    this article rocks!
    great job!
    thanks for sharing

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  287. 371

    It strikes me that this trend takes us back to the golden oldies when every page was hand-coded html (before css). Many pages then were designed individually. Certainly not as well as today, but there was a lot more variation internally on a site.

    All this dynamically generated stuff has led to a monotony in style. I say hail the blogazine.

    0
  288. 372

    One of the best posts I’ve read in a loooooong time long long long long time.
    I’m done.

    Long

    0
  289. 373

    I loved the layout of this blog post – no better way to get your point across than to DO IT YOURSELF.

    Good job SM!

    0
  290. 374

    Best article I’ve read on SM in awhile

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  291. 375

    Definitely interesting. Like some people said above me, this isn’t for the “daily blogger” or those that have jobs. I think readers will have a love hate relationship with these. Readers are used to the “norm”, and when a designer decides to “push the envelope”, some readers will love it, others will hate it. In addition, there will always be people who don’t necessarily take a side… they’ll just appreciate it for what it’s worth. Just look at Picasso! His crazy thinking with the cubism movement definitely shook things up in the art world. People either loved it, or hated it! And then there those that appreciate his work simply because they understand the purpose of it.

    I think I fall in line with the “appreciative” crowd. I’m not all that impressed with this, only because as a CSS lover myself, the amount of time involved just doesn’t seem worth it to “wow” your readers. However, I think it’s a step in the right direction when attempting to shorten the gap between web design and print design. I just don’t dig pages that require and immense amount of scrolling (ie, one page portfolio blogs… yuck!).

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  292. 376

    Interest ideas. The first thing that popped into my head as I was reading your article (not really a blog in my mind) is how long did it take you to do this? Adding graphics, layout, typography and copy makes the process of putting this together a full-time job. This is what you guys get paid to do…so cool. For the average blogger in a business this is not going to happen.

    I would also add that I read tons of blogs that I find super valuable and interesting and they don’t use this blogazine format. It really comes down to the content and the readers who add insightful comments in my opinion.

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  293. 377

    Quite controversial post…

    I read it with delight, wow what a pleasure I had in scolling and discovering the next part of the article… Actually the layout, as a demonstration, got to be very convincing. If only I were a designer and not a coder, I’d be starting up.

    Of course it can be impractical. Yet, the idea is just great. I’m confident many designers will achieve a personal equilibrium between the quest of innovation and their tight schedule.

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  294. 378

    That is just the best blog post i ever seen. Very impressive! It brakes a lot of pre-concepts!

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  295. 379

    So inspiring! I LOVED this post! It’s amazing and has forever changed the way that I will look at blog design. THANK YOU for taking the time to put together this truly amazing piece of art!

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  296. 380

    i totally agree. when i currently red a article about the 10 donts of web site making…. i just wrote down … isnt it boring doing the same blog style like you do and other 100 million people do, with the same theme just with other colors and background picture.

    when i started as web designer it was allways the same thing going on in 1999. left the navigation, on top a picture and right down the content. now after 10 years the same thing is coming up. now it calls blogging you have a more advanced cms behind and the side changed. today you have a picture on top, navigation left and the content area under the top picture.

    wow. blogging often informative but it theached one bad behavior. to have no sense for design and beeing kept in this cheap cage of wordpress.

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  297. 381

    It amazes me how hard some people are on smashing magazine writers. Do you not think perhaps Paddy Donnelly was just trying to present the idea by executing it?

    Good read, thank you.

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  298. 382

    sorry i ment.
    today you have a picture on top, navigation right and the content area under the top picture.

    someone just reflect it and thougth. wow thats totally new.

    people will allways be different and want to show something unique. either in fashion or web design, even in blog design. thank god something will change

    0
  299. 383

    Which leads to the question: How the hell did you customize the lay out of this blog post?!

    0
  300. 384

    Wowzers. The best Smashing Magazine post ever.

    0
  301. 385

    This is a magnificent post.

    This has inspired me to go off and do better things now.

    I thank you.

    0
  302. 386

    Very interesting how different are the reactions about this post. I’m pretty sure it’s also a fight between veteran designers and younger ones. You should definitely add a required entry in that poll that says “please enter your age”.

    0
  303. 387

    Well, a big point of “similar” layouts or themes is giving readers a uniformed standard to read blogs in order to avoid confusion. Make it your own, of course, but don’t go as far as to make a reader re-learn how to read or navigate your blog.
    People get use to the “way things are”, don’t confuse them.

    0
  304. 388

    Case in point for myself.. this post. I read maybe a quarter of the way through it then scrolled to the bottom to leave this comment.

    0
  305. 389

    Aweesome technique , will use implement soon .

    0
  306. 390

    Hello Kitty Junkie

    November 19, 2009 6:34 pm

    Waaay inspirational! Thank you for that! n_n

    0
  307. 391

    This post is just amazing and very informative. I loved how it is described to be unique from other blogs. I would give this a try but definitely need enough time for this after 9-6 job :)…. Also showing portfolio according to client or project type is excellent idea. Should implement this and see how it works.
    In last bookmarked this for reading it again and getting to know more while implementing.

    0
  308. 392

    Also I noticed that on homepage of smashingmagazine.com for this this post excerpt, the comments are shown as “0 comments”

    0
  309. 393

    Excellent post and some challenging ideas presented here which have me thinking and reassessing how my blog posts are presented.

    I get the sense that within all of this heavy design and visual eye candy lies the heart of a deconstructionist (dare I say Situationist). The disjointed but flowing forms used individually (or just two) would allow for the content to come out but the mélange here is fairly hard to follow on my laptop screen, I shudder to think what it looks like on an iPhone.

    When I view this on a 24″ or a 16×9 panel it looks fantastic. As someone previously mentioned, the post would look fantastic in print and would be manageable to the eye – I wonder if using a two page at a time ‘magazine’ presentation rather than the vertical format would be beneficial here.

    My own posts tend toward the DIY simplicity of print the versions of Fanzines such as Maximum Rock n Roll or (even more so) The Big TakeOver. Stylized elements which threaten to intrude into the text but rarely overlap it, creating a gritty backdrop that does not overpower the content.

    Again, thanks for the ideas, provoking presentation and dialog.

    0
    • 394

      I’m reading the post on iPhone – I do not see the whole picture, but I truly enjoyed exploring the post even on a small touch screen. I was zooming in and out, moving not only from top to bottom, but also from left to right. I actually like the way how I “touched” the post, not just scrolling it down

      For me, it was a new experience, somehow similar to reading a printed magazine. I agree with both sides – but – if we eventually will one day face the death of print newspapers and magazines, this could help

      0
  310. 395

    Amazing yet controversial post. Now I’m torn between usability and creativity. I’d like to have both though.

    0
    • 396

      I agree with you. Creativity, it is nice. Usuability and readability, not so good.
      I myself like to be able to jump to a blog post and skim through it easily before I decide to read it word for word. This technique is not good for readablity, in my opinion.

      0
  311. 397

    LOVE this! You guys ‘smashed’ it out of the park. What a great read!

    0
  312. 398

    Great Job Patty.

    It’s disgusting that half these negative comments are from “designe-um- ers?” I’m sure the other half brainwashed web standards whores,and finally the last lot just learning an IE Hack and should be writing their latest critique on rottentomatoes.com or trying to impress that girl on facebook who thinks your an idiot, and the macbook is not getting you laid either.

    Rules really?

    The only rules should be something serves it’s purpose and bit of common sense when it comes to coding and design. With out further ado way to think inside the box, inside the box, inside the box that innovative people have thrown out and you crawled in.

    You should delete any design software you may have because imitators are not needed any more
    then a bad case of VD.

    And do you think the common user really gives a damn about our “rules” have some sense and realize most people live by “it just works” and some users like something refreshing and I can go into that more
    but you might have a stroke.

    It’s simple If they like what they are reading they will continue if not they will scroll and leave some thoughtless comment because everyone wants to be right.

    I do like this post and I do Like the direction it can lead more blogs in and it will weed out the weak in the long run by setting up a higher standard and more authentic experience.

    …Or we can can stick to same thing because nobody wants to *Gasp* ….

    I hope you enjoyed all the bad typos and more I am trying to enjoy my smoke.

    0
    • 399

      I don’t think it really has to do with what or who is wrong or right. ‘Til a true case study is done to see how something like this works for various readers and markets (IMHO) I think the general blog post “standard” should be followed.

      I personaly think it looks awesome, but don’t think it really leaves the focus where it should be. Which is on the content. As for design blogs like this, I think this could work well eventually. Allthough (IMHO), blogs should always focus on the textual content.

      0
  313. 400

    Thank you for the wonderful post I was beginning to thing that the world of blogging was going to suffer from the all the nettuts/themeforest look alikes. this is taking the idea of blogging back a few years with remeniscence of css zen garden (web), and even further back with David Carson (print). Now that css technology is starting to catch up I think we as web designers need to step our game up. Experiment break a few rules, make a few mistakes, create happy accidents. This is not print we are not risking printing budgets… Do it… What’s the worst thing that could happen?

    Well done, great article.

    0
  314. 401

    Tejendra Shandilya

    November 19, 2009 7:43 pm

    you’re ROCK

    0
  315. 402

    Very interesting and well executed post. What definitely calls more my attention is the controversy generated around it….for me it looks like a London 2012 syndrome :P … Anyway it seems to be the natural cause of this end of a decade and the evolution of information and how we present it, the search for individuality in a globalist era, etc.. … will work/like for some and not for others… thanks SM

    0
  316. 403

    well, this is quite a fresh change in blogging. In think it has given a shake in our way of blogging. Sometimes we don’t realise how boring we are getting until something like this shows up. In my point of view there are some points that can be applied, specifically the new look for each post. This could be done with a little balance…all in all, most of bloggers out there don’t know much about html and css stuff.
    Very innovating . Congrats !

    0
  317. 404

    I would really like to see an article that explain how to do that with a WordPress blog for example. How can you achieve to have every articles to look so different?

    0
    • 405

      I don’t know about WordPress, but this would be pretty simple with Textpattern. One would just override the standard article form on a per-article basis.

      0
  318. 406

    Personally, I think it’s a great idea to design for web in the print style. I have been wanting to do this with my own stuff, but I just never seem to have the time. I am a print designer turned web, meaning I always want to incorporate those elements, but never seem to be able to time-wise.

    I am still just using some theme I found on WordPress. My goal though, is to take the proper time and redesign my website so that is functioning properly. After that I hope to design in the blogazine style, but not to the point where it’s unreadable. This way I’ll be able to show my creativity in a stronger light and can improve my css skills as well.

    0
  319. 407

    Even if the idea is nice, by the time I reached to the bottom of the article I had a headache! It is too long, even if it is good content and design et al. Jumping from black to white background makes a horrible impact on peoples’ minds.

    0
  320. 408

    now this seems to b a trend setter/breaker :D .. quite an interesting article .. n the layout: iLikes ;)

    0
  321. 409

    I stumbled onto Dustin Curtis a few months ago and was impressed. The quality of the articles is what I like most, and I will actually go to his site from my rss feed to see it. Thanks for all the info, I’ll have to check out the other sites that are doing this.

    0
  322. 410

    @That Guy John

    I am on the fence about that reading through various magazines as others half brought up they range in style perhaps some may have issues with the text changed color it must be a link…WTF not a link… Color is also used for emphasis but to a point I agree with you, certain guidelines for links and such should be consistent but bending the rules per project should be a given other wise you are no longer designing but replicating and I think this article raises that point.

    Case studies IMO are never accurate unless you poll every single reader old or brand new and don’t forget about the 90% who won’t bother taking part regardless.

    0
  323. 411

    This is FANTASTIC :) :)

    Thank you very much Smashing!!

    0
  324. 412

    This is a great concept. Well written, and thankyou for putting it out there. I think the example sites he talks about (Jason, Greg) are slightly better executed than this post. But this post illustrates the point well.

    Clearly this is not practical for a daily blog, but surely we have enough average daily blogs to keep us happy between a few good ones who take this on board and give us something weekly.

    Lets hope this sparks a new movement with our online creatives! Lets differentiate ourselves from the template masses. Make the most of your ability to be different.

    0
  325. 413

    Great article. I’m happy to see someone not spouting rubbish. The web is for whatever you want it to be about. If a blog reads like a magazine reason follows that it will have a similar style of following. Many of the objectors are undoubtedly SEM/SEO drones spitting out formula results and not considering real results which are making meaningful, trusted, and lasting relationships with your audience. Use whatever tools are at your disposal to achieve that and you are going to be successful at what you do. I’m tired of crap with no appeal. Brand association… c’mon! If you can’t remember the company whose site you are visiting by the time you’ve scrolled to the point you can’t see the header, you’ve already failed by being another useless and poorly planned presence on the web. Kudos Smashing magazine. You’ve earned my respect over the past year. Great content, great team of writers and contributors. You’re helping to make the web a better place.

    0
  326. 414

    Jan Kenneth Regala

    November 19, 2009 9:47 pm

    Incredible article! I loved it! I want to start a blog (but for now, my liberties fail me so I might just keep on postponing until the right time comes knocking on my doorstep) and this article pretty much answers the question “how do you make your blog a cut above the rest?”

    Innovation nowadays is pretty much the driving force behind every successful project. If you fail to become innovative, then your project might just as well fall into oblivion.

    The emergence of this “blogazine” thing however concerns me. What if there would be a time when people would actually prefer digital over print content? Would that spell the doom of the billion-dollar print magazine industry?

    0
  327. 415

    Wonderful post!

    I’ve read Smashing a long time now and have never commented before. I was sort of astounded to see the number of posts against it. Its not as many who like it but still, its rather surprising. It led me to finally post my support of an article.

    I’ve worked in webdesign for a while now and its upsetting and frustrating when the client undervalues the intelligence of his users. It seems the common law of business is to assume everyone is an idiot and incapable of basic motor functions. I try my best to sneak in changes and try to push things in a new direction, but all too often they will ask me to make something more conservative. Its especially terrible in the corporate environment. I had to get out of there fast!

    Nothing worse than getting about 4-5 links of the same layout and asking for a mimic with different colors. Why hire a designer at that point? Why BE a designer at that point? What are you designing?

    Well this is long winded enough. I just wanted to say thanks for a wonderful and inspirational post. I loved it and am definitely going to use this as inspiration.

    For everyone having issues incorporating this into wordpress.. its time to learn some coding. You have to make your designs FUNCTION. If you control the function, then you can control the form, and thats the key to breaking out of the box. WordPress is fully capable of allowing this sort of thing.

    0
  328. 416

    Interesting read.

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  329. 417
  330. 418

    Wow, I enjoyed this post thanks Paddy.

    I definitely think that this method of blogging has merit – and although many disagree with it, they can at least incorporate some of the techniques above on a small level, because you can have a consistent template for your site and tweak your posts to vary a little bit from each other.

    I am also in the process of deciding what design direction I want to take my blog and am definitely considering drawing inspiration from the article.

    Nice work!

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  331. 419

    The idea is very entertaining, and the idea for this exact post is great :)

    Oh, but why don’t we just post layouts’ pictures (better png, I guess) and let the code rest in peace? It certainly is a coding challenge every time and I think it’s only appropriate for well-branded bloggers-by-profession whose blogging takes about half of working time. I’d rather spend extra time for polishing the content, I even agree to design a new layout every time, but coding it just isn’t worth it.

    Well maybe that’s my point of view since I’m a designer only, not a developer.

    0
  332. 420

    Impressive work, but I felt kind of strange about this idea … like a developer who has just comprehended the idea of rewriting his framework for every single page on the web site….

    0
  333. 421

    As much as I love the layout of this post, it dosen’t allow the reader to easily ‘scan’ the post for information… it wins because it’s different, but fails on function. Designing like this is really just for the sake of design.

    0
  334. 422

    Never wanted so much to read on as with this article. Small chunks of information in an ever changing presentation – I think it’s the first time I really had a ‘wonderful user experience’. Exciting!

    0
  335. 423

    fantastic – thank you for sharing.

    0
  336. 424

    @Leon Poole

    Scanning a post? thats what title headings & excerpts are for…if your not going to read the whole thing don’t bother…

    Scanning makes sense in basic information sites, buy my shit sites things of that nature. Blogs are for reading not scanning so I disagree.

    Scanning a post is like skipping chapters in a book.

    On another note on layout why not set up a custom css “wrapper of sorts”
    we have a template system for a reason and we don’t have to adhere to the
    generic WordPress way thats why we have templatepath? can’t think of the name right now…Just a thought.

    Sometimes I prefer to keep my css Section out of includes when necessary to
    do things of this sort granted for very large sites not practical but then again with some foresight very easy to do yet not conventional. Another option would be compress the living hell out of a extrastyles.css and gzip it.

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  337. 425

    Wow. That’s great. Thanks a lot!

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  338. 426

    Although the article mentions that anyone can install WordPress, I’d like to point out that the designers above aren’t all using WordPress (JSM uses Expression Engine) so whatever point you’re trying to make is irrelevant. Unless that point is not all of us are design and tech savvy to pull it off, which many of us already know.

    0
    • 427

      The point is completely relevant… He’s not trying to tell you that you can or can’t do this with wordpress, expression engine, drupal or whatever… He’s trying to say that having a blog is now a thing of clicking a link in your cheapo hosting that will auto install everything for you in 5 minutes.

      Basically, the point which you failed to comprehend is that now the field is not limited to people with the capacity and desire to either make or buy a design and code to get their site online. Now your mom, my aunt, and everyones’ chihuahua can have a blog in 10 minutes, which makes having one a lot less glamorous and the competition fierce, but filled with filler websites and content.

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  339. 428

    Inspiration comes in many forms. Thanks for this piece!

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  340. 429

    I think variety is good in posts, but lets not forget that people read blogs for the information. There’s a fine line between being too creative that it over powers the information. I disliked the layout of this post because it required me to constantly scroll to read a small block of text, then scroll again, than the background changed which left me wondering is this the end of that post and another post has all of a sudden appeared. The sites featured do what this article is about really well. This post however misses the mark when putting it into practise.

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  341. 430

    wow it’s an incredible power post example…very compliments and sorry for my bad english too…:D

    0
  342. 431

    This is great for people who browse from their mobile devices. Not.

    0
  343. 432

    Revolutionary!

    0
  344. 433

    Content comes first.

    0
    • 434

      Yep, Content always comes first. This article was innovative and correct in many aspects, but probably appealing mostly to a small clique of designers perceiving themselves as edgy and progressive.
      Smashing Magazine has, apart from this article, always had the same layout for all articles, and since Smashing Magazine is mindbogglingly fantabolous, why should that be a bad thing?

      0
      • 435

        I don’t think it’s edgy and advanced at all. It’s a webdesign equivalent of a throwback to times of photoshop filters and faux japanese techno flyers.

        0
  345. 436

    Fascinating and inspiring. Thank you!

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  346. 437

    not to mention that smashingmagazine is earning enough from this blog that they can invest so much of time, but think about the days when you were just get started… i will assume this that BIG fishes are trying to eat up the small once… and i still see OLD time posts in SM these days too…

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  347. 438

    Personally, I found this a very interesting article, and I definately like the idea of giving an article the lay-out is deserves, but I understand both sides of the argument.

    This is a style that, when executed properly, will draw you in to the content. It could do so to the point where an article could be complete nonsense, but I’d read it because of the lay-out. Call it exploring if you will. It’s definately refreshing, and it gave me ideas for my own site I’m working on. I have a personal background as a desktop-publisher, so I’ll always have a soft spot for print-style design.

    However, this style of designing is very situational. While some print-techniques can be executed in most blogs (whitespace, large quotes, …) to make everything more interesting, using it to this extent is something you must be careful with, because at some point you have to make a decision: do you wanna be informative, or do you want to create some art? You can mix the two up a bit, but if you really want to tell something, people like Lee Theobald, who don’t see as good as others, won’t read your articles, or at the very least they won’t enjoy it as much as they could.

    By all means, I’d love to see people use this style, but there’s a time and place for everything. I do hope people think before they start going all out on design.

    My only tiny complaint about this article is the same thing Brad Czerniak said earlier: especially at the part starting at “The Microblogging Revolution”, some of the colored text looked like a link, and I tried clicking them a couple of time. This is something that should be avoided at all costs.

    I do hope this was somewhat constructive, looking forward to more interesting articles.

    Jonas

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  348. 439

    Amazing stuff!!!
    SM you broke the rules and took this post to a new level.
    It looks more like a pdf than a blog post!

    That made my day :) Awesome !!!

    Its important to do new things, and this is just wouw :))) i was stunned by the layout, i will read the content later :DD

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  349. 440

    I was before JSM to adopt this technique :))

    But i must say, it takes so much effort that i have just switched from my custom engine to wordpress clear theme. Before that i tried to make full page posts from scratch since early 2008 at least!! :))

    0
  350. 441

    I go to smashingmagazine.com and read an article. Man, that was really great. I’d like to comment and ask the author a question. I scroll down…410 comments. Ugh. Screw this.

    0
  351. 442

    that’s fantastic!
    I love the new perspective on that topic!

    0
  352. 443

    The article title is controversial – I assume it’s supposed to be.

    Consistently good blogs earn RSS subscriptions; RSS readers transform meticuluous layouts such as this into a wall of text. (The reason I opened this URL is because I wanted to read the comments)

    However, I think the magazine-style layout of this article is brilliant and I would like to see it used more frequently – for non-RSS content.

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  353. 444

    oh. my. god. this is the most beautifully inspiring blog posts i have seen. influential- makes me want to roll up my sleeves and work.

    one issue- designers have the means to do this moreso than a content focused blogger. but i love the concept this is definitely best suited for designers or multi-author blogs.

    0
  354. 445

    I don’t know about you guys but I enjoy when rules are broken.
    The content was readable and enjoyable to read so what is the fuss?

    Do I think everyone should do it? No way, but it works for these blogs.

    So in all, this was a very cool blog post.

    0
  355. 446

    HOLY COW!!! What a great post this is. Probably the coolest post on Smashingmagazine yet, and I’ve been following this blog for years now. :3

    0
  356. 447

    This is terrible. Dificult to read, no brand, no information architecture, i can’t read it !! 30 seconds and i left this blog. A blog post it’s made with a reading purpose… i have a big monitor with a big resolution… what about the legibility in a 800×600 monitor? or 1024? I understand that it’s funny, but it’s inconsistent… (sorry for my english..)

    0
  357. 448

    mind blowing!

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  358. 449

    I do not find myself too often feeling a need to comment on an article, yet this post caught me totally off guard. I honoustly think this is a very innovative, renewing way to present one’s thoughts, and I like to nominate this post for ‘post of the year’ — might there be such a thing on Smashing Magazine.

    0
  359. 450

    a great suprise when I clicked through and a great post. I’d love to see more of this on smashing magazine.

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  360. 451

    the dude playin' the dude, disguised as another dude

    November 20, 2009 3:08 am

    Interesting and very beautiful, but too time consuming I think. Not only must one write a good blogpost, one has to make different templates for each blogpost as well.

    0
  361. 452

    woww this post was amazing :) I would like to have time to customize my own posts too.

    0
  362. 453

    SM: You got it!

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  363. 454

    virtualchaitra.com

    November 20, 2009 3:54 am

    the page design looks good…

    0
  364. 455

    I would also nominate Danny Garcia in this category. Although he hasn’t been so productive yet, I really like his first steps of theming his blog.

    http://danny-garcia.com/articles/

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  365. 456

    hummm… is someone understand the big problem which is unsolvable for this kind of website presentation?
    i see all of comments tell that its good and nothing else… for me i think about the lambda user.
    How a simply user of web react when he open the next page or other….
    under the technical style which is simpatic i think that you loose all user and loose a lot of reader.

    You can use this kind of style but for me its only for some event and not for all article and pages.

    as you wish i made my opinion

    0
  366. 457

    wow, amazing article !!!

    0
  367. 458
  368. 459

    Couldn’t agree more, and have been struggling with how to tackle this point myself for a while…. because i am a writer… and although i have experience at designing as an art director… I am not a web designer, and have limited knowledge of using online programmes. I would like to learn more, so that i can do my writing justice through good design. I will certainly look up some of the reading materials suggested here, and check out the plug ins.

    BUT question for everyone: Is it right that we all feel we must be both writers and designers now? Surely collaboration between us still gives the best looking and reading material?

    0
  369. 460

    Top article, great job, thanks for sharing. I’d never heard of blogazines before – and surprised this hasn’t become popular – it’d be a good thing if it did.

    0
  370. 461

    Great post and I agree with all the points raised. I do have one concern regarding the ‘blogazine’ style post — I find that it’s difficult to differeniate between blogs/sites as each post has its own theme. I have been on both Jason’s and Dustin’s site and have wanted to go back to a particular post and forgotten which blog it was on so maybe that’s something to take into consideration? Or maybe that’s just me…

    0
  371. 462

    ps….. any clues on HOW TO RATE this article?? i can’t see any stars to click etc. I’d click 5stars if I could see them! thanks.

    0
  372. 463

    Bloody love it, reading an article this way was a pleasure, thank you!

    0
  373. 464

    Wow! That really made me rethink my old designing concepts.
    Thank you!

    0
  374. 465

    This article was difficult to read. Not because of the content, but because of the haphazard art direction.

    0
  375. 466

    My 2 cents…

    This was one of the best posts I’ve read at Smashing Magazine and I believe it is perfect for some very specific scenarios… However, if we publish 7 posts a week, every single one with a different scheme it would completely break out the general site layout…

    This is interesting for once in a time posts (like this one), but working in a daily basis it would be very tiring, for both publishers and readers!

    Just compare magazines to newspapers… Magazines (weekly, monthly) have the freedom to make some changes and to create more “strange” articles. However, newspapers cannot do this, they must keep the same design and scheme every single day in order to gather a large reader base!

    Keep up the good work and give us more posts like this! (but not all of them, please!)

    0
  376. 467

    What is a “blogazine”, a blog that got popular and turned into a magazine? Web developer style blogs are allowed to be minimal in design and quite similar in appearance as they are just sharing information are they not? Obviously design subject blogs need to be a bit more aesthetically pleasing though! I am a web developer based in Leicester, UK and my blog, I would say is minimal and not over designed because it does not need to be..I am a developer afterall, not a web designer!

    0
  377. 468

    Some interesting designers were featured, but in general this article is missing the point:
    a) Magazines DO use the same layout every month to present content, with only a small section that is custom designed (usually a main feature). The same with newspapers. And they’re not boring most of the time. Its just not efficient to redesign the layout every single time you publish something (as most of your interviewees confirm).

    That same rule applies for blogs and magazines online. Sure, the layout of this article is nice, because it breaks the mould of SM, but if this becomes the standard it’ll become tired and boring all the same. Remember, people primarily read blogs, magazines, and newspapers because of their content.

    And lastly, you forgot the vast amount of people who subscribe to blogs and read everything through RSS readers, which strip out all design and just present you with content.

    0
  378. 469

    amazing… blow my mind..
    One of the best post that i have seen in smashingmagazine..

    0
  379. 470

    Outstanding post. – Thank you for inspiration!

    0
  380. 471

    This is a good read. I was always wondering, how does one separate one’s blog from the crowd, and differentiating a blog from a website? With endless new themes being churned out day in and day out, blogazine- themed layouts are more and more common, but still for some blogs, I believe that the common, and simple theme works best.

    0
  381. 472

    Mmmh, never noticed that blogs have design, because I just read them through RSS… What is this post about?

    0
  382. 473

    Daryl Koopersmith’s great/very promising new’Elastic Theme Framework and WYSIWYG Child Theme Generator for WordPress’ (http://code.google.com/p/elastictheme/) may be just the tool for designers who want to pursue the magazine blog post layout. As demo-ed at the SF and NY WordCamps, Daryl’s theme allows for drag drop layout creation of new template pages, with CSS created on the fly for background colors, etc.

    I’d link to a video of the demo, but I haven’t found one yet. It’s definitely worth a download to your dev server to play with…

    0
    • 474

      Daryl Koopersmith

      December 5, 2009 5:24 pm

      Thanks dandam! You’ve really hit the nail on the head—one of the long term goals for Elastic is to make magazine layouts more accessible. We’re definitely a while from getting there, but someday!

      For anyone that’s interested, you can find more info (including that demo) at http://elastictheme.org/

      0
  383. 475

    Good post , it’s very good work on the futur of the blog’s trend , it inspired me to create a blogzine about the media . Thx

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  384. 476

    I certainly hope this doesn’t become too big a trend. Even with CSS disabled, I had a tough time working through this post (never mind skimming it to see if it’s worth reading). It felt like the author was trying really hard to slow down my reading.

    I say, nice for coffee table blogs, for wowing the CSS n00bs, or for the attention-impaired — but counterproductive for anyone who’s serious about readability.

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  385. 477

    I have to ask what is worth more…a *creative* layout or something worth saying? If you can do both then great, but I don’t think many have the potential and/or time to articulate both.

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  386. 478

    I think you should spend more time worrying about shipping our book instead of writing long long posts. Are you sitting down having fun and getting money on your Paypal account in Germany while our book is being stolen by pirates in Somalia or went fishing on Singapore? Totally dissapointing., wondering how you are making a lot of money with your site being that irresponsible and disastrous. First and last buy on Smashing Magazine – newbies – BEWARE!!!

    0
    • 479

      I think you’ve just made a good point. Despite that I like the design of the article above I’m really frustrated about Smashing Book. It was supposed to be in my hands in September and now you say, Smashing Magazine, you will start sending it on 5th of Dec. Really annoying.
      I’m just wondering what will be you excuse on 3rd of December. Terrorists? Bad gnomes?

      0
  387. 480

    Quite brilliant, thanks!

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  388. 481

    Un mot: Merci*

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  389. 482

    The 90s called. They want their misguided ideas about the internet back.

    BTW, this isn’t “creativity”, quite the opposite. It’s the utter lack of it. It’s boring. It’s reactionary. It reeks of fear. It does for design what Rupert Murdoch does for newspapers.

    Looks pretty though. Like a nice wallpaper.

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  390. 484

    I’m currently designing a blog and this has helped loads, thanks!!!

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  391. 485

    I’ve been doing this on my websites for more than a year now, it’s important to point out that for those that don’t blog, this too can be applied to simple websites by changing the layout in every section, there’s that website with the whale (hmm I guess their name is not too memorable) that does that. It’s so much fun to do this, and very useful because it lets you adapt to the specific content of your section and add any cross selling elements/content and still look nice. Also you can have your home page look more like a magazine/book cover!
    This technique proves that there is still plenty of room for innovation on the internet. It’s a matter of taking the time to think and the guts to execute.

    0
  392. 486

    It’s as if you used the same key, instruments, tempo and structure for every song you wrote. Just put some different lyrics in it and time-stamp it so you know the difference! Haha.

    0
  393. 487

    While this post was awesome (and beautiful), I did not enjoy reading. The multitude of content sporadically placed about (and superfluous amounts of spacing) made it very hard for me to skim this post, which is very important if you want to get people to read your posts in the first place. If I can’t find a few pieces of information I’m looking for by skimming, I’m not going to waste my time on the entire post.

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  394. 488

    This is cool for designers but for a general audience not really. For example, I found this article really interesting to read but when I got through the first example I just scrolled down to the comments because in a vertical scrolling website it is just way too fragmented. I want all the content right there and easy to read. This here flows and looks nice but readability is lacking in my opinion.

    The audience you appeal to on the web is VASTLY different than the audience reading a magazine. On the web, people expect their content to be delivered to them quick and in small bite sized pieces. If it isn’t they won’t spend the time bothering with it just like I did with this article, skipped right through it because it was so long. There needs to be a point where you draw the line between design and general readability.

    When reading a magazine, you have more freedom because you are looking at it in your hands, a physical object. You can clearly see the flow of the entire page and all the content laid out. You can also get away with smaller type thus giving more space to create effective design.

    This is my problem with this. I would love to see more design elements incorporated into blog posts so they weren’t so cookie cutter but this here to me is overkill.

    I really like the look of this and I think in some instances this particular practice could be really appealing but I wouldn’t recommend it as a common practice.

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  395. 489

    Great Stuff… for the first time i read the entire article….. amazing technique but to design a article like to would be time consuming.. I think

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  396. 490

    I would like to know how long this took from concept to publishing.

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  397. 491

    This is the best article I’ve ever read on your blog. And the design, along with the content, held my ADD attention.

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  398. 492

    I have to warning SM that on the front page this post has 0 comments

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  399. 493

    Yeah, I’ve noticed that too. Does the “non-boring blog post” mean breaking functionality? :-)

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  400. 494

    I like this idea as much as every designer likes logo books, but please don’t apply it to SM. This concept works great for a personal site where the designer’s ego is more important than all of its visitors. Usability-wise it sucks. I do like the variation on print magazine, but imo, this concept doesn’t translate well on web. If I had the time I’d definitely try it on my personal site though. Thanks for the great article.

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  401. 495

    Good read Thanks.
    I really love the idea of having a different design that does justice for your new blog post but I think we need to streamline it a bit more and designers like jason santa maria are already on the right track.
    Web and print are two different mediums, you can change the magazines look and feel completely and ppl still easily be able to read it where as in print it gives your client a bit of frustration if not done correct.
    A magazine is on piece of paper not more than a size of letter or A4, a blog post on the other hand is a page on screen in pixels scrolling from top to down and displayed on huge wide lcd or monitor.
    If I remember correctly jason also talked about this in an article stating that we should embrace design patterns rather than trying to bridge print and web and I think this is the reason why his blog post designs are different and yet better than anyone else.

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    • 496

      Correction: you can change the magazines look and feel completely and ppl still easily be able to read it where as in print web it gives your client a bit of frustration if not done correct.

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  402. 497

    very, very inspiring … thank you

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  403. 498

    I think I get your point. But from a purely visual perspective, the example you’ve presented looks more like the work of an amateur turned loose with some design software rather than a display of inspiration.

    Kind of reminds me of all the excesses of the 70’s. That was back when one of the big things for the ‘artsy’ crowd was to make a movie. The discussion usually ran something like this:

    “Hey man! What say we get all our friends together and make this movie. It won’t have a script or anything. We’ll just shoot a bunch of scenes of each other goofin’ around and doing stuff. That way everybody can decide for themselves what it all means. We’ll call it an un-movie or something! It’ll be totally not like any other movie. Like saying ‘Power to the People’ and ‘Off The Man’ – except it’ll be on film. Maybe we can even make copies and get it into a festival…”

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  404. 499

    I loved this. It was not only informative, but also visually captivating. As a reader, I didn’t want to just quickly glance over it and find the highlights (as I do with most posts), but actually follow along as if it were a story unfolding. Excellent work!

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  405. 500

    Thanks for posting this article … I was starting to think that blog design could only be boring, standardized design really enjoyed your examples. Sadly I think that for all but a few, blogs will continue to be canned, uninspiring products (and that includes the writing as well as the visuals!).

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  406. 501

    I read this on my iPhone and found it completely readable and engaging. I don’t understand the hate or the feeling that this messes with readability or even branding. What’s in a blog post (text and images) is content. What’s outside that should be consistent across the blog, yes, but I think it’s a benefit if the visual style of the posts are unique.

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  407. 502

    Great topic, great post! I was so suprised when I clicked through from my feed reader and discovered that you actually implemented the blogazine format in this entry. Granted, the idea isn’t suited to all blogs (or even most blogs), but it’s refreshing to see a custom designed post from time to time. :)

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  408. 503

    You get the idea that everyone who attacked this post runs a boring blog!

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  409. 504

    Seriously in awe. I’ve tried blogging a couple of times, but never got into it for very long… I’m designer at heart but have to code by profession. I got bored with it. If/when I start another blog, I definitely will start trying this more. It might actually keep my interest.

    I think this would be a great thing to start doing once/twice a month for those blogs who spit out articles once+ per day. It’d be a nice little easter egg to find an article in my feeds that’s been beautified a bit more. And, I might actually look forward to reading them more, too!

    Thanks for taking the time to writ- I mean ‘design’ this article!

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  410. 505

    I found this post inspirational and informative. Thanks for the links to resources. Regarding the layout’s design and readability, I didn’t have trouble following the article and it kept my interest longer than most blog posts are capable of. Thinking of it like a graphic novel/comic strip… where you don’t know what’s coming next and just enjoying what’s happening at each point on the page… is where the grounding was for me.

    // Thanks again

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  411. 506

    I think this post is the best I have ever read on smashingmagazine.com

    Thanks a lot for sharing this priceless information.

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  412. 507

    Okay, this is my second comment on this post. Let’s talk facts and figures. Internet speed world wide differs from country to country as we know. This alignment and post design is very impressive, but

    1. 300+ http requests
    2. 3.44 MB – 29 background images, avatars, etc.
    3. About 4 seconds to load with hi speed internet
    4. 3414 DOM elements on the page

    Well, this is very complex method for writing blog posts. Impressive but complex.
    If you have 10 000 requests for the page in one second (I believe when you post it fresh and shiny you do).

    So the mathematics speaks:
    300 x 10 000 = 3 000 000+ http requests for a second
    3.44 x 10 000 = 34 400 MB ~ 33.5 GB traffic

    This approach for blogging will increase bandwidth costs. More expensive servers will be needed.

    Nevertheless hugely impressive way for presenting information.

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  413. 508

    What an article. This is one of the best article I have read so far in this blog. Very innovative and interesting.

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  414. 509

    I love the idea, I really do. But the time that goes into to this, is way too much, if you post on a regular basis. I could see myself doing this for a couple of times a year perhaps for special posts maybe.

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  415. 510

    Seems like there is a subtle pull that is taking us full-circle.

    Back in the mid-late 90’s we didn’t have blogging tools, so those of us who posted content had to know html and several coding tricks (spacer images to indent paragraphs, etc.). No one “blogged” daily and only those who had something to say published because of the energy it took to post a page. For the most part, whatever approach we took was venturing into new ground, and only later did certain approaches become best practices.

    My approach was to publish a crafted article about once a month and then keep a journal that was updated at least once a week — sometimes more frequently. (“blog” had yet to be coined then, and no blogging tools existed.) Each article was styled with its own formatting — after all, that’s the example we had from magazines. And my journal was a vertical and narrow column of bordered text with photos attached along side the text it illustrated. The journal (“blog”) was rather standard in format and its content was either time-sensitive or quick thoughts that deserved airing (but nothing more). Only the more thought-out articles were indexed for visitors to browse by title/topic. (It took time to organize and code such an index, so only valuable content got that much attention.)

    I still like that approach — distinguishing between articles and what we’ve come to expect as traditional blog postings. And the value of those dictates how I invest my limited time: article first, periodic updates through blogging next, and nothing left for microblogging.

    An article that is one-of-a-kind and not one-of-many deserves a one-of-a-kind display.

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  416. 511

    really really nice. but i think smahing have to much posts to realize this.

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  417. 512

    Although I think this idea is brilliant, I actually think it’s a bit over the top. This article seemed “overdesigned” to me. If you look at a magazine, they interweave the graphics and interest in a seamless way. I found this article actually very difficult to read, and felt it didn’t have much flow.

    I applaud the idea and innovation however, as I am also bored with the typical blog post.

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  418. 513

    I think this is perfect for unique, high-quality content. What conveys the quality of content better than taking the time to create a unique design with it as well?

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  419. 514

    Brilliant!

    I really don’t know what to say, by far the best article I have read in 2009!!!

    Thank a ton man.

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  420. 515

    I think this magazine style is quite a mess. Between the seemingly random sized text and weird positioning, I found it hard for my eye to follow the text.

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  421. 516

    Depends on what you mean by blog (e.g. is it WordPress et al) or does it includes all CMSs?
    Or everything in between.

    I think these will appeal to ‘web designer’ types and people who think black is retro/cool or a statement.

    It’s not.

    Black is the ultimate me-to color!

    I appreciate clean user interfaces, e.g. http://www.chrisbrogan.com.

    Simply and easy to use.

    Most of these are anything but.

    Ivan,

    Beijing, China

    http://www.ivanwalsh.com
    Ivan Walsh, Web Writer

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  422. 517

    Financial Samurai

    November 22, 2009 5:37 am

    Gotta say, this was one hard blog post to read ha!

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  423. 518

    I think it’s a great idea, though, if you look at this post you can see that – probably – a lot of people have a hard time finding the thin line between chaos and just a really nice and readable post/blog. If you can only create a chaotic blogazine than just stay with the old-fashioned way of blogging.
    Really great post and i’ll see how this works out for me.

    PS. This comment is referring to the nice attempt but kind off chaotic attempt above..

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  424. 519

    oh god, thats “great” post style… :)
    i have the one : http://bit.ly/8Pcwc7
    i change the list post style with other style css, just really simple example.

    remember, just change the style of important point. do not change all layout (include background image, etc) that can use huge bandwidth.

    wah sepurane rek nek boso inggrisku elek.

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  425. 520

    Giles Van Gruisen

    November 22, 2009 8:26 pm

    While I hate the term “blogazine,” I am thoroughly inspired by the article. Thanks, SM team!

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  426. 521

    Interesting read. I might considering getting a “Blogazine” myself. Thanks for this beautiful article!

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  427. 522

    What’s funny is that as I read this for the second time, the CSS is completely broken. 14:09 GMT + 1, Monday 23/11/2009.

    While I think this is a worthy pursuit for a designer with his own website/blog (as the examples given would suggest), the message seems a little more world-conquering than what is realistic.

    Like others in this thread, I agree there’s a wide gap between zillions of boring WP blogs and the show pieces of top designers. But telling the world to build show pieces is silly. A more realistic target is the middle ground, and there’s still lots and lots of opportunity there.

    What’s middle ground? A site that focuses on content first but is enhanced by design for a true pleasant reading experience (not a shake up like this article). What’s a good example? A List Apart magazine continues to be the epitome of fine web publishing and design. That should be a lot more attainable by a lot more people, and pleasing a lot more site visitors in return. And what do you know, Santa Maria is behind that design too.

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  428. 523

    I think someone lost the CSS for this post, it came up nice with a black background before, now the layout is totally messed up.

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  429. 524

    Great & interesting post with lots of unique ideas. I think the main reason a lot of designers/developers have a blog is to increase there SEO and bring more folks in to look at their work. A lot of the reasons for leaving the magazine blog style up to the magazines is simply because those types of posts, amazing and all, take a lot more time to create. Trying to design for a blog, write content, network, market, and design for your actual clients can be quite a lot to juggle. I think this phenomenon/trend will really weed out a lot of bloggers who are simply just regurgitating posts and information just to get folks to look at their work and not actually blog because they do in fact have something of value to share. The bar is raising, once again.

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  430. 525

    This is possibly my favorite Smashing magazine article ever, I have read Dustin Curtis’ blog and was amazed at the diversity of each post layout, unfortunately my downfall is finding the time to work on new and exiting blog layouts whilst trying to work on new and exiting designs for clients… Must .. try …harder!!!!

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  431. 526

    First, I like the idea. The three sites you showcase are great, and very inspiring. That said…

    This post read a lot better once the CSS loaded, but the major problems are that it’s (a) unnecessarily condescending, (b)unimpressive writing (which is what people read blogs for, right?), and (c)not at all usable.

    c) I didn’t read all 500 comments, but I did read enough to see someone ridicule the idea that usability is important…”who uses an article?” But this is a website, and when there are multiple 150-200px gaps between blocks of text, it’s a ridiculous chore to read, and stops being cohesive. Magazines don’t do that. Neither do good “blogazines” (BT-dub: is there any chance we could rename this before it catches on with “the masses”?).

    b) “We [members of the web design profession] have some of the most creative and inspiring designers in our profession…” This sentence basically says the same as, “The United States has some of the highest mountains in the country!” There are more like this. Not good.

    Also, there is a good reason this <smirk class=”sarcasm”>trend</smirk> hasn’t “caught on with the masses”: its hard, time consuming, and requires a high level of skill, experience and taste. The masses don’t have what it takes. And that’s okay, because they can serve their content (what’s actually important) in visually appealing ways, and keep it interesting with basic text design principles (like headings).

    I agree with a lot of the principles you mention, but your comparisons to print design are illogical and not really helpful. No, most magazines don’t use the same layout for every article, because that would be ridiculous! But a blog isn’t like a magazine…you don’t usually sit and click through 50+ pages on the same blog over a few hours, or even a couple of days. You probably take 3-6 minutes, not even daily.

    Second, magazines do use the same templates for sections of each issue. Think of Newsweek: the single page commentary articles are all in the same layout, several on consecutive pages, every month. The same is true for the international stories and letters.

    a) If by “exact same layout” you mean that they have a single column of text with a sidebar or two, then sure, you’re right. And designers have been working hard for years to get there. It’s a good thing.

    Three things really matter on a blog: that the content is good, that you can read it, and that you can find what you’re looking for. Most people don’t know their heads from a shower curtain when it comes to UX and readability, and they shouldn’t have to worry about it. They have to worry about the content, which is hard enough. They don’t need people chastising them for using what works – which is also, coincidentally, what we told them to use.

    And what’s wrong with a blog post about kittens?

    pos51.org

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    • 527

      Totally agree with the points that Charles makes.

      That said, I do think there’s a place in the world for sites like Dustin Curtis’s. It think it would be useful to distinguish between blogs and blogazines (and personally, I’m not bothered by the term “blogazine”).

      Blogs are not magazines. Blogs are composed of regular entries usually ordered in reverse-chronological order. The content expands over time, the content is not delivered all at once, the content is often interrelated, and the content itself tends to be different from magazines. Magazines in contrast are delivered sequentially, the content is delivered all at once, and the content itself if very often dramatically different from blogs.

      Blogazines, in my opinion, are situations in which each blogazine post is intended to act as its own magazine. The content itself is different from blog posts in that they are intended to be consumed completely differently (as a self-contained unit). This is why Dustin Curtis’s site is so successful: each article is almost entirely independent of each other and is intended to be consumed as its own magazine, in essence. The blogazine post becomes an integrated experience in which the design and text together form the entirety of the content, which is greater than the information contained in the text alone.

      Contrast this with blog posts, in which the design is intended to facilitate the easy creation, distribution, consumption, and discussion of the information contained in the text.

      Personally, I think that’s one of the reasons that the design of this actual blog entry fails where sites like Curtis’s succeed. This is actually a blog post, and trying to shoehorn it into a blogazine post format obscures the relevant information instead of enhancing it.

      As Paddy says, blogazines are not for everybody. I would go a step further and say that MOST blog content is not appropriate for the blogazine format. Blogazines are even more challenging due to the high quality of design capabilities needed to deliver quality blogazines (again, even Smashing Magazine had a hard time pulling off design for a blogazine format).

      Personally, I look forward to seeing more excellent blogazines out there, but I’m terrified of legions of bloggers attempting to wear the hat of blogazine editor. So don’t go crazy, people: Most blogs shouldn’t be blogazines, and there’s nothing wrong with running an excellent blog!

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  432. 528

    I you lost me after the first few paragraphs as the content was aligned off my phone screen.

    Intriguing topic nevertheless, need to give it a moment to brew in. :)

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  433. 529

    I find it rather ironic that I read this post using a style-less RSS reader and saw the design only when I came in to share it

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  434. 530

    Impressive post, thank’s for it !

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  435. 531

    amazing! so much closer to print design than normal blog posts. Love the way it’s getting out of what we’re all used to. And that could a reason why so much people dont agree with this post.

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  436. 532

    Don’t forget the vast majority of bloggers are writers not designers.

    I’d hate to think that some people would stop writing just because they can’t afford unique art direction for everything they write.

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  437. 533

    I don’t particulary think the statement is right.

    It totally depends. I think the blog post is not yet dead. As why books aren’t. It’s depending on the audience and subject. You can have a blog on quick facts where visuals matter less, the readers may not be caring. But on another blog can be the a primary goal to communicate through visuals.

    Sometimes you want things clean. I do agree that many/every blogs shouldn’t look the same. But there’s more then just the looks.

    As I stated, it’s depending on the audience and the subject.

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  438. 534

    Fantastic post, like the idea of making the page feel more like print. Brought the content to life, love it!

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  439. 535

    Content is king. Always will be. There are some great ideas bounced around in this blog, and the general points made are valid, but the visual design of it is really not something to emulate. I’m more concerned with being a better writer.

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  440. 536

    I’m sold. I haven’t read an article like this in a long time. Normally I just skim, but this I read.

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  441. 537

    All in favour of this, but why is it being presented as though it’s some new kind of thing? Go back and look at some old Fray issues from the mid 90’s onward… http://bit.ly/5jYDjT …isn’t this pretty much what the article describes but from well over 10 years ago? Isn’t this the way we used to do things before the term ‘blog’ cropped up…? Or did I miss something?

    T.

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  442. 538

    Brings me back to the David Carson (raygun magazine) debate in the 90’s about readability vs communication.

    Communication can happen on many levels, not only through the written word.

    Maybe people who have a hard time here aren’t visually literate enough, maybe they’ll never see that visual design and layout can also communicate on different levels. Maybe the content is beyond them.

    Main thing to remember is appropriateness… and that some people can only think literally.

    Bring it on…. template design is for data.

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  443. 539

    Great post but ‘death’ would be exaggerated. I’ve seen A LOT of blogs using the generic-boring template and are much ‘alive’ and ‘kicking.’ This one falls into the ‘you-can-never-please-everyone’ category which is always true to every blog that every blog has it’s own audience. Not everyone will like it.

    I personally like it and would like to try it in the near future but probably not over-emphasizing on design. I believe a stand-out blog would require a great deal of balance of template design, typography and content. Having a stand-out template would glue in readers for more of the art side. A good content would keep them coming back for more epiphanies.

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  444. 540

    Nicholas