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
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  1. 1

    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.

    0
  2. 152

    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.

    0
  3. 303

    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

    0
  4. 454

    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.

    0
  5. 605

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

    0
  6. 756

    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 ;-)

    0
  7. 907

    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…

    0
  8. 1058

    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.

    0
  9. 1209

    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.

    0
  10. 1360

    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.

    0
  11. 1511

    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.

    0
  12. 1662

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

    0
  13. 1813

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

    0
  14. 1964

    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.

    0
  15. 2115

    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.

    0
  16. 2266

    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.

    0
  17. 2417

    Great article and great typography! Very inspiring.

    0
  18. 2568

    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 ;)

    0
  19. 2719

    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.)

    0
  20. 2870

    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.

    0
  21. 3021

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

    0
  22. 3172

    Great article Paddy, very original

    0
  23. 3323

    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.

    0
    • 3474

      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.

      0
  24. 3625

    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!

    0
  25. 3776

    Why wouldn’t anyone like this post?

    This was fantastic, a very original and inspiring topic.

    0
  26. 3927

    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.

    0
  27. 4078

    I feel like nothing… thanks…. AMAZING!

    0
  28. 4229

    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.

    0
  29. 4380

    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?

    0
  30. 4531

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

    0
  31. 4682

    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

    0
  32. 4833

    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!

    0
  33. 4984

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

    0
  34. 5135

    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.

    0
  35. 5286

    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.

    0
  36. 5437

    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).

    0
  37. 5588

    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???

    0
  38. 5739

    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.

    0
  39. 5890

    This article was great!!

    0
  40. 6041

    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%

    0
  41. 6192

    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!

    0
  42. 6343

    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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    • 6494

      @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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  43. 6645

    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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  44. 6796

    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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  45. 6947

    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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  46. 7098

    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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    • 7249

      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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  47. 7400

    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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  48. 7551

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

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  49. 7702

    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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  50. 7853

    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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