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

    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.

    0
  2. 202

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

    0
  3. 403

    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!

    0
  4. 604

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

    0
  5. 805

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

    0
  6. 1006

    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.

    0
  7. 1207

    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.

    0
  8. 1408

    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.

    0
  9. 1609

    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.

    0
  10. 1810

    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.

    0
  11. 2011

    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

    0
  12. 2212

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

    0
  13. 2413

    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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  14. 2614

    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.

    0
  15. 2815

    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

    0
  16. 3016

    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

    0
  17. 3217

    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.

    0
  18. 3418

    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! :)

    0
  19. 3619

    Hallelujah!
    Eureka!
    Amen!

    0
  20. 3820

    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.

    0
  21. 4021

    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 :)

    0
  22. 4222

    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.

    0
  23. 4423

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

    0
  24. 4624

    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!

    0
  25. 4825

    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.

    0
  26. 5026

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

    0
  27. 5227

    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!

    0
  28. 5428

    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.

    0
  29. 5629

    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.

    0
  30. 5830

    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

    0
  31. 6031

    you just pissed off every single programmer that read this.

    0
  32. 6232

    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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  33. 6433

    A truly great article, bravo, I love it!

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  34. 6634

    Why on index page display 0 comments for this article?

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    • 6835

      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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  35. 7036

    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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  36. 7237

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

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  37. 7438

    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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  38. 7639

    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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  39. 7840

    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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  40. 8041

    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!

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  41. 8242

    Where will you advertise with a similar design?

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  42. 8443

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

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  43. 8644

    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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  44. 8845

    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.

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  45. 9046

    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.

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  46. 9247

    Great post!

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

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

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  47. 9448

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

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  48. 9649

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

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  49. 9850

    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

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  50. 10051

    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 !!! ” ?

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