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The Smashing Book #5

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Showcase Of Elegant And Original Blog Designs

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When visiting a blog for the first time, you get an instant and strong impression from the design and layout. Cluttered and confusing blog layouts can be an instant turn-off, while sleek and elegant designs immediately captivate the audience.

The 35 blog designs featured in this showcase engage visitors with a memorable layout, elegant design and good usability. They have no need to shout; they attract attention through sheer elegance and beauty. Through careful planning and judicious placement of elements, each of these layouts brings something unique and truly special to the Web.

Designers can take inspiration from these featured designs to create their own brand of magic.

You might also enjoy this previous article:

Elegant And Original Blog Designs Link

Istok Pavlovic2
An elegant watercolor design with close attention to details. Notice the navigation menu, RSS button and headings in the sidebar. The footer is incredible, too!

Screenshot3

Chris Guillebeau4
The attention to detail in this blog design is incredible.

Screenshot5

Hicks Design6
This blog design features a stationary menu interface with scrollable content. The muted colors are set off with bold tangerine accents that pull the whole design together.

Screenshot7

Ma.tt8
Beautiful graphic design is the highlight of this blog design. Dream-like images fill the screen, while the simple navigation bar waits to take the reader on a journey inside.

Screenshot9

Newtoyork.com10
An original blog layout with white space and an unusual design for the comments area.

Screenshot11

Ayakaito12
Muted colors, reminiscent of days gone by, give this design a comfortable vintage feel. The beautiful graphic in the header and simple navigation in the sidebar below set this blog design apart.

Screenshot13

Alpha Aesthetica14
An elegant grid-based design with incredible typography.

Screenshot15

Hugs for Monsters16
The author’s own artwork was used to create this stunning design. The layout is simple and tidy, yet a work of art at the same time. As an added bonus, humor is used to entertain readers as they enjoy the view.

Screenshot17

Outlaw Design Blog18
The bold use of color and heavy reliance of graphics work well together in this stunning blog design. The warmth of the color scheme and background create an inviting atmosphere.

Screenshot19

Le Bloe20
Shades of blue and gray with a splash of color make this blog design a work of art. The content is neatly presented and visually stunning.

Screenshot21

Typographica22
A celebration of typography awaits. Intelligent organization and simple navigation allow readers to immerse themselves in the simplicity of beautiful text.

Screenshot23

Agami Creative24
Watercolor at its best: a beautiful design in which each color is carefully chosen and skillfully used.

Screenshot25

retinart26
Grungy design with beautiful typography and unique distorted design elements.

Screenshot27

Belvoir George28
A visually impressive blog with awesome typography. This design makes perfect use of an appealing and striking background image.

Screenshot29

Stephen Caver30
This layout is an example of excellence in simplicity. The main navigation is the focus, and there are absolutely no distractions.

Screenshot31

Amour Chaleur32
Beautiful, original illustrations, and the one-column layout is creativity at its best.

Screenshot33

Neural Net Effect34
Very subtle design with an interesting structure, excellent use of imagery and nice typography. Simple, clean and elegant are the reasons this one is in this showcase.

Screenshot35

Bert Timmermans36
Clean and compact, this blog’s design organizes content like a book. The navigation is housed in the bookmark-shaped tabs, which smoothly glide into view as the mouse rolls over them.

Screenshot37

Good Little Wee Blog38
Simple shapes and cartoonish graphics make this blog design memorable. Content is organized simply and logically, making navigation extremely easy.

Screenshot39

Forgetfoo
Simple, clean, minimalistic and beautiful.

Screenshot40

Web Science Man41
Color and graphics dominate, but don’t overwhelm, this design. Elegant navigation sits at the top for ease of use, making this blog design both fun and highly functional.

Screenshot42

Talking of Design43
One look at this blog design is enough to see that the designer is also an artist. The judicious use of animation draws interest without adding clutter.

Screenshot44

Kris Colvin45
This well-organized blog design has a slightly grunge feel. Interesting graphics in the header attract attention, and the content begins right away, leaving no room for boredom.

Screenshot46

Lyrical Media47
The easy navigation in this bold and simple blog design offers a quick snapshot of the content. Although usually difficult to pull off using an image this large and dominant in an elegant design, this layout seems to do it with ease.

Screenshot48

The Design Superhero49
Bold color combined with simple blocks of content displayed in a straightforward way are the highlights of this blog design. The content is neatly organized, with no clutter to distract readers.

Screenshot50

Visual Nightmare51
A unique blog design with grunge elements and a simple yet distinctive blog structure.

Screenshot52

Kimberly Coles53
A three-color blog theme, with hand-drawn design elements and a watercolor background.

Screenshot54

Chengis.me55
Bold, bright and beautiful, this blog design focuses on complete simplicity. Menus smoothly appear when the mouse rolls over the images, giving the visitor plenty of tasty choices.

Screenshot56

David Torondel57
A blog with a “traditional” two-column layout, many illustrations and a really cute design.

Screenshot58

Escaping the Word Cage59
Chain-link fencing has never been more beautiful. The unusual blend of hard and soft make this design unusually beautiful.

Screenshot60

Fubiz61
Color contrast and exceptional organization in this blog design gives visitors not only a visual treat but also easy navigation. Content is neatly displayed in concise blocks, making it simple for users to find their way around.

Screenshot62

Bjørn Friese63
Bold color and contrast and exceptionally good use of typography allow this blog design to work beautifully without images. It comes as no surprise that the author states in his bio that he loves both color and typography.

Screenshot64

Blogless
Minimal design meets great typography and a one-column layout. The result is simple and elegant.

Screenshot

Bonus Link

Pixelpretation.com65
The footer in this one is really hard to forget.

Screenshot66

Northern Classics67
… and so is this one.

Screenshot68

Further Resources Link

(al)

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/23/50-beautiful-blog-designs/
  2. 2 http://www.istokpavlovic.com/blog/
  3. 3 http://www.istokpavlovic.com/blog/
  4. 4 http://chrisguillebeau.com
  5. 5 http://chrisguillebeau.com
  6. 6 http://hicksdesign.co.uk/journal/
  7. 7 http://hicksdesign.co.uk/journal/
  8. 8 http://ma.tt/
  9. 9 http://ma.tt/
  10. 10 http://www.newtoyork.com/
  11. 11 http://www.newtoyork.com/
  12. 12 http://ayakaito.com/log/
  13. 13 http://ayakaito.com/log/
  14. 14 http://weblog.cynosura.eu/
  15. 15 http://weblog.cynosura.eu/
  16. 16 http://blog.hugsformonsters.com/
  17. 17 http://blog.hugsformonsters.com/
  18. 18 http://www.outlawdesignblog.com/
  19. 19 http://www.outlawdesignblog.com/
  20. 20 http://www.lebloe.com/?page_id=145
  21. 21 http://www.lebloe.com/?page_id=145
  22. 22 http://new.typographica.org/
  23. 23 http://new.typographica.org/
  24. 24 http://www.agamicreative.com/blog/
  25. 25 http://www.agamicreative.com/blog/
  26. 26 http://retinart.net/
  27. 27 http://retinart.net/
  28. 28 http://blog.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk/
  29. 29 http://blog.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk/
  30. 30 http://stephencaver.com/
  31. 31 http://stephencaver.com/
  32. 32 http://amourchaleur.com/
  33. 33 http://amourchaleur.com/
  34. 34 http://www.neuralneteffect.org/
  35. 35 http://www.neuralneteffect.org/
  36. 36 http://www.berttimmermans.com/
  37. 37 http://www.berttimmermans.com/
  38. 38 http://goodlittlecompany.com/index.php/weeblog/all_posts/
  39. 39 http://goodlittlecompany.com/index.php/weeblog/all_posts/
  40. 40 http://www.forgetfoo.com//
  41. 41 http://www.webscienceman.com/
  42. 42 http://www.webscienceman.com/
  43. 43 http://www.kevadamson.com/talking-of-design
  44. 44 http://www.kevadamson.com/talking-of-design
  45. 45 http://kriscolvin.com/
  46. 46 http://kriscolvin.com/
  47. 47 http://www.lyricalmedia.com/
  48. 48 http://www.lyricalmedia.com/
  49. 49 http://thedesignsuperhero.com/
  50. 50 http://thedesignsuperhero.com/
  51. 51 http://visual-nightmare.com/
  52. 52 http://visual-nightmare.com/
  53. 53 http://www.imwithsully.com/blog/
  54. 54 http://www.imwithsully.com/blog/
  55. 55 http://chengis.me/
  56. 56 http://chengis.me/
  57. 57 http://blog.torondel.net/
  58. 58 http://blog.torondel.net/
  59. 59 http://escapingthewordcage.com/
  60. 60 http://escapingthewordcage.com/
  61. 61 http://www.fubiz.net/
  62. 62 http://www.fubiz.net/
  63. 63 http://frieze.dk/
  64. 64 http://frieze.dk/
  65. 65 http://pixelpretation.com/
  66. 66 http://pixelpretation.com/
  67. 67 http://www.northern-classics.de/
  68. 68 http://www.northern-classics.de/
  69. 69 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/08/28/45-excellent-blog-designs/
  70. 70 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/11/22/30-more-excellent-blog-designs/
  71. 71 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/02/20/45-more-excellent-blog-designs/
  72. 72 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/05/08/now-more-than-ever-50-more-excellent-blog-designs/
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Gerri Elder is a content producer and social media strategist who has worked full-time on Internet development and marketing since 1997. Her current projects include ChicagoNow, GreenBiz and ProspectMX. Gerri can be reached on Facebook or Twitter and is often found on the Web under the username "absolutelytrue".

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  1. 1

    Very cool

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  2. 2
  3. 3

    really inspiring for me…I have planned to make a unique blog too

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  4. 4

    wow… AMAZING…

    really inspired

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  5. 5

    Not sure about the ‘elegant’, but sure a lot of them are original…

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  6. 6

    Great list of inspirations..i liked Le Bloe’s blog…

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  7. 7

    coooooool

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  8. 8

    Floris Fiedeldij Dop

    April 28, 2009 8:49 pm

    I think the word elegant was misused here.

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  9. 9

    Some of these are really pretty sweet…some are kinda… well… really not so sweet…
    i would like to take a moment to petition any designers out there to please stop using the Bleeding Cowboys font…(as in Outlaw Design Blog) its starting to become another PAPYRUS eeek! (i’m sorry i know i shouldn’t have said the “P” word… haha)

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  10. 10

    Le Bloe’s blog is WooTheme’s free ‘Irresistable’ theme with a few new images.

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  11. 11

    Great examples of blog design. Though sometimes I wonder if all those great designers do not feel restricted by the blog design itself. I mean, is there something beyond blog design? Maybe something where the layout follows the individual content and not that everything from text, to photos, to illustrations, videos etc. is put into the same long container list? Something that is not so predictable like flickr photos and twitter tweets in the sidebar? Something more individual than always the same concept? … I don’t have an answer (and also use wordpress for my projects) and this is not to say that blogs are bad. I just wonder if there is more than the current blog design to present (especially visual) content.

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  12. 12

    AT LAST some new designs for us hungry designers. Great list post with NEW items on it and designs we haven’t already seen dozens of times. Keep up the good work!

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  13. 13

    Nice list, and thank you very much for the inclusion! made my day

    Alpha Aesthetica is such a beautiful design, isn’t it? I’ve returned to it a few times just to have a good look at the layout.. I also quite liked the textures of lebloe too

    Matthais – I know exactly what you mean, but it stems from a couple of things i think – there are a lot of resources floating around of what to put into your sidebar, what to have in your header, your menu, etc etc.. and they’re all very similiar tips, because its just what work at the moment. It’ll change as time goes on and blogging as a platform/design grows..

    and plus, it’s way more work to have something unique.. a lot of people don’t want to put that effort in.. they have a thought, a design that looks good and want to put their thought thought into that design to get it out quickly and easily.. its what’s appealing about blogs :)

    But there are those who break away from this (Jason Santa Maria for example)

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  14. 14

    So many blogs here are not developing for content, but develop content to support the design. Not long ago this was the wrong thing to do, but more and more people seem to forget or suppress this, but what for? Even more specialized blogs?

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  15. 15

    Thank you very much for having chosen my blog. Considering the quality of the others, i am honored !
    I particularly appreciate Newtoyork and Ayakaito.

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  16. 16

    Well doesnt really get me off my chair

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  17. 17

    The Stephen Caver site is a bad example, imho. I was clicking and nothing happened, until I found out that the navigation took up all of my browser space and the content was below the fold. To say that there’s no distraction….one huge distraction: the navigation (and logo). Looks: good. Usability: not so good….

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  18. 18

    Some nice inspirations. Thanks.

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  19. 19

    Does the Lyrical Media guy read .Net magazine (or Practical Web Design in the US) by any chance? Not really sure how they got away with that one.

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  20. 20

    Does the Lyrical Media guy read .Net magazine (or Practical Web Design in the US) by any chance? Not really sure how they got away with that one.

    If you check out the post on his blog about the redesign you’ll see he explains exactly where the inspiration came from and why it looks so similar to a magazine.

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  21. 21

    Istok Pavlovic and Hugs for Monsters are the two most original designs I’ve seen for a long time, absolutely fantastic work.

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  22. 22

    wow, makes me realise just how mediocre I am….

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  23. 23

    Excellent round up.

    I feel bad about my new blog design now!

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  24. 24

    Very well done, nice roundup of designs.

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  25. 25

    Hmm most of these blog designs is a grunge style, and no doubt that most of them are beautiful… But I think it’s wrong to call these (alot of these) ‘ORIGINAL’, they are really not. In that way it’s obvious that the Author of this, has a love for the grunge (/ cut/paste) web style, but it does not represent originality.

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  26. 26

    is it just me or is the new trend using big pictures to make up for the fact that content isn’t important anymore? most of the examples above look like they are not made with the intention that the reader actually reads a blog but browses it.
    i mean not all of them are bad, but some are and en plus blog design looks so predictable: take the standard wordpress theme, add some graphics and voilà there you go.

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  27. 27

    Nice list but I agree with some comments above. The grungy style is becoming the ‘easy’ way. Just plaster some textures and the content will go in the holes…

    Also a shame that only about 5% of those sites have valid html code…But that’s another topic.

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  28. 28

    egal:
    See my comment, it’s number 16.

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  29. 29
  30. 30

    Edmund Blackadder

    April 29, 2009 3:23 am

    Papyrus? Eek! Whatever you do, don’t mention Comic Sans… Oh, bugger!

    0

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