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The Smashing Book #5

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Now More Than Ever: 50 More Excellent Blog Designs


Designing blogs is easy. Designing blogs in a unique way is hard. Whatever blog engine you are using, there are literally thousands of templates available which you can apply directly, without any significant code modifications. That’s efficient, but it’s not creative, because using a default blog-template you risk to end up with some wide-spread look which has actually nothing to do with you. To convey your personality effectively, you need a design which reflects who you are and what you are doing. That’s why important is not just what you post, but also how you post it.

In fact, beyond the template-design-culture exists a field of creative, individual and impressive blog designs. And the good thing about it is that this field has been rapidly growing over the last years. To celebrate the creativity of blog designers we regularly present reviews of excellent blog designs we have stumbled upon recently. This post is no exception. Below you’ll find 50 further examples of excellent, unique and impressive blog designs.

Apart from “usual” minimal designs, one can observe more rather complex graphic works. If earlier only blog headers had striking visual elements, now whole web-layouts seem to have become more vibrant: paper clips, mp3-players, coffee cups and further objects are used extensively. Apparently, they are used as metaphors for the environment of site designers. Such designs are just impossible to copy and they unite the visual design with the author’s content in a unique and very personal layout.

You can also have a look at our previous showcases:

Excellent Blog Designs Link

Perfect integration of visual elements in a standard 2-column blog structure. Artwork.

Blog Showcase - Narfstuff5

Viget Labs6
A pretty, clean, light and fresh blog design.

Blog Showcase -  Viget Labs7

Informal yet looking professional, with moderate use of white space and light colors.

Blog Showcase - Dollarshort9

The sixth version of Damien du Toit’s blog. Grid in use.

Blog Showcase - blog - coda.coza11

Brad Frost’s Blog12
A truly creative blog design. This blog contains “words that would otherwise be coming out of designer’s mouth”. Literally.

Blog Showcase - Brad Frost's Blog13

Trendy stripes gone wild. The colors just fit together.

Blog Showcase - Blog | Missy

Beautiful visual composition which includes date stamps with a bird, search box with a bird and a navigation with birds. The RSS-bird is orange, of course.

Blog Showcase - Popstalin15

Wood, coffee, ear phones. This blog reflects the habits of its owner.

Blog Showcase - tehCpeng.net17

A blog with a very intuitive structure; nothing can really confuse a visitor and the date stamps are pretty sweet!

Blog Showcase - Nzrn19

Lucy Blackmore20
An artistic blog design for a blogger-artist.

Blog Showcase - Lucy Blackmore21

Design Reviver22
A magazine style blog with its own way of presenting the overview of recent articles.

Blog Showcase - Design Reviver23

Blog design meets vintage style. If you will ever need to design a blog in the vintage style, here is how you could do it.

Blog Showcase - Clemente25

Viget Labs26
Sometimes background image is everything you really need for a distinctive design. However, this blog offers more. Notice how well design elements are executed — e.g. article headings.

Blog Showcase - Viget Labs27

Achieving an intuitive design in complex layout isn’t easy. Ewald Natter manages to get it right. Although the layout isn’t simple, it manages to remain scannable and readable.

Blog Showcase - Freelenz ~ Grafikdesign und Webentwicklung29

Bits and Pixels30
Vivid colors on dark background look sexy. Can you find a space invader?

Blog Showcase - Bits and Pixels31

creative briefing32
Simplicity at its best. This design emphasizes the importance of typography. Visual elements aren’t really necessary.

Blog Showcase - creative briefing | marketing, design and entrepreneurship blog33

Ollie Kavanagh34
Here the content seems to “hang” in the air which is unusual and attractive. The design is remarkable.

Blog Showcase - olliekav.com35

The Superest36
A blog doesn’t have to contain posts. Kevin Cornell and Matthew Sutter present their illustrations in their blog.

Blog Showcase - The Superest: Who is the superest hero of them all?37

“Thin” blog design. The navigation menu at the top is pretty funky.

Blog Showcase -  Blog  Mancub39

Antonio Lupetti impresses with a very clean design and keen attention to details. Calm, clean and very user-friendly.

Blog Showcase - woork41

Four Labs42
A 3-column-based blog design which is really distinctive from usual blog designs.

Blog Showcase - Four Labs43

Interesting combination of illustrations and navigation in a blog design.

Blog Showcase - Sketchblog45

Internet Zillionaire46
Creative blog design in the old-magazine-look.

Blog Showcase - Internet Zillionaire47

davor peic.gavran48
A blog design in which everything perfectly fits together. Don’t miss the nice Flash-based language switcher at the top of the page.

Blog Showcase - davor peic.gavran {new media designer}49

Kristin Ascoop50
A blog design with feminine touch from Holland.

Blog Showcase - Kristin Ascoop | Freelance vertalen, tolken, lessen Zweeds en Nederlands51

Kohette Design Web52
Quite unusual, rather experimental solution. The RSS-feed-icon at the top of the site is animated.

Blog Showcase - Kohette Design Web53

Light and fresh design. The calendar seems to serve as the primary navigation.

Blog Showcase - Guifx Blog55

Home Design Find56
Photos, rulers and paper clips in use.

Blog Showcase - Home Design Find57

yo vivo en vigo58
This header is really hard to forget.

Blog Showcase - yo vivo en Vigo59

GlassHills – Web Design by Jackson Howell60
A blog design with many curves, swirls, clouds, sun and a rising RSS-feed-icon.

Blog Showcase - GlassHills - Web Design by Jackson Howell61

Caty’s Blog62
Apparently, Caty likes cats and small colorful illustrations.

Blog Showcase - Caty's Blog63

Simplicity meets white space meets fresh colors.

Blog Showcase - Vectips65

Maybe, there is a little bit too much noise on the page, but the way blog posts are presented is quite unusual.

Blog Showcase - revota67

A vertical navigation menu in use.

Blog Showcase - SUSAY.de69

Instead of displaying excerpts of the latest posts, this blog first presents the titles of the posts and the latest forum posts.

Blog Showcase - Neweracaptalk - Online fitted hat community71

Lisa Bettany72
What does Lisa like? Right, photography and music. And where does she come from? Right, Canada. You see it immediately. That’s an effective use of visuals.

Blog Showcase - Lisa Bettany. Canada's Sexy Geek Blog73

Moderno Prometeo
Similar ideas as in the previous design.

Blog Showcase - Moderno Prometeo, escrito por Rolando Hernandez74

Pop Culture Tees75
A t-shirt-blog in a pop-art-style.

Blog Showcase - Pop Culture Tees76

Phil’s Proof
Ok, that’s probably too many details at once. But Phil doesn’t care. A really different blog design.

Blog Showcase - Phil's Proof

Alyssa Tucker
Summer colors for the summer mood. Can you find the swimming duck in the layout?

Blog Showcase - Alyssa Tucker

Catalyst Studios77
A group-weblog with dozens of hand-drawn elements.

Blog Showcase - Catalyst Studios v.378

Dandelion Path79
Sweet site navigation and sections labeling. All sections of the site are visible at one glance.

Blog Showcase - Dandelion Path80

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

  1. 1

    Alejandro Urrutia

    May 8, 2008 8:48 am

    Thanks to Smashing Magazine for considering yovivoenvigo as an excellent blog design!

    Maybe you can take a look to my other blog: Asian Trip… I miss China a lot :'(

  2. 2

    Joseph Maguire

    May 8, 2008 6:05 am

    I like the site and Mostly lisa i was familiar with. She’s pretty damned ballsy and a funny person to chat with too. I am mixed on a few of the more complicated ones. Some are too hard to read and too busy, but overall nice stuff.

  3. 3
  4. 4

    i love the Superest. i like the simpler ones, less colours, better.

  5. 5

    Hmmm … claims to be published by TextPattern … Need we check all ?

    As for the rest : I know taste is very personal, but I find most of these heavy on design & low on substance. Is there a relation between the two ?

  6. 6

    nice list

  7. 7

    Marcelo F. S.

    May 8, 2008 6:38 am

    Awesome tips! One of the best lists from Smashing!

  8. 8

    now more than ever, blog design posts on smashingmagazine

  9. 9

    Thank you very much for featuring my site!
    It’s great to feel appreciated and I feel honored to be along side some fantastic designs.

    Jack (GlassHills)

  10. 10

    Santiago Martinez

    May 8, 2008 7:59 am

    I believe that our blog can belong to the list, what do you thinks?


  11. 11

    sad ..mine not in the list …

  12. 12

    Drupal Museum

    May 8, 2008 8:30 am

    Beautiful designs! I really like Kristin Ascoop. I added it to Drupal Museum.

  13. 13

    Wow, really fascinating! Inspiration en mass. Thank you for this!

  14. 14

    Great Post….. Excellent

  15. 15

    André Gärtner

    May 8, 2008 9:56 am

    Great designs, maybe my blog is on this site soon, too ;-)

  16. 16

    I’m thrilled to see you’ve finally included a couple of Blogger powered designs in this showcase :)

    Woork is excellent, but I was amazed to notice that Sketchblog is powered by Blogger! This is truly the best Blogger powered design I’ve ever seen (and I do go hunting for them!).

    Thank you guys (and please include some more in your next showcase to inspire those of us who do host with Blogspot!).

  17. 17

    I think I’m already sick of the table top grunge look…

  18. 18

    Very good selection!! some of the blogs are very very good designed with awesome content!!

    thanx for including me!


  19. 19

    Sam Valiquette

    May 8, 2008 11:54 am

    Very interesting! Perhaps The Big Noob should be included?

    much love,

  20. 20

    Inspire me to think out of the box again. Some of them are really cool!

  21. 21

    Ollie Kavanagh

    May 8, 2008 2:08 pm

    Just wanted to say thanks for the addition and being mentioned amongst all those great designs is an honor. I understand people’s opinion on ‘grunge’ being the in thing (or outdated already). I didn’t design it with grunge in mind, just a personal interest in graffiti and street art stemming from my print work.

    Great post.

  22. 22

    Amazing list as usual, my favorite personal is

  23. 23

    Im so sick of that played out “sky and grass header then dirt for the body” ive seen so many sites like that its not funny.

    otherwise some cool designs but there are some awful ones…

  24. 24

    Basically the majority of the designs shown are complete crap. They are unreadable, don’t support accessibility standards and break all the rules of good design. They might make good static art printed and hung on the wall, if thats the way your aesthetics go, but as designs for websites the majority of them suck.

    Most of them waste far too much space at the top of the page with static art and non-useful text and graphics, and also waste all the space round the edges. I’d be willing to bet that the majority of them are also poorly and inefficiently implemented, though that’s a whole other gripe.

    And many are not very original. Four Labs, for instance is only a minor modification to the default Drupal scheme.

    Whats the betting most of those sites were produced by the sponsors you list on this page, annoyingly taking up most of the width of it? I can tell you i’m very unlike to commission any of those sponsors in case they are responsible for this rubbish

  25. 25

    Wow, honored to be included in the list!

  26. 26

    While all of the sites are visually attractive, in the end, most of them are hard to read. Style over substance.

  27. 27

    Thanks for featuring Pop Culture Tees! Thrilled to be included next to some really great designs.

    But also surprised at the level of lash-back against some pretty outstanding designs. If these were business sites then I could understand it, but the majority of these are personal, non-commercial ventures. Where else can you experiment and really push the boundaries of the status quo? I didn’t find too many of them hard to read, or unusable. And some of the best advances in web design have come from breaking old rules.

  28. 28

    Dez Blanchfield

    May 8, 2008 7:07 pm

    It is just me or are 99% of these designs so busy they break every fundamental design rule of what is essentially a print media? I’m all for snazzy design, but seriously, not one of these falls into what I’d call “readable” content or design. I feel a head ache coming on just looking at them, and I’ve had a decade or more of reading insanity like WIRED magazine!

    Honestly, can we go back to the basics of print design and create readable content that doesn’t make me feel like I need to jump up and run screaming for the hills for fear my cranium is about to explode? Ten points on all fronts for nifty graphical design, no question there, but print / content design, bzzzt.. nadda!



    Dez Blanchfield

  29. 29 is amazing. Very attractive.

  30. 30

    Uh-huh, 3 Viget blogs were listed.


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