It is difficult to come to terms with the fact it has been almost a year since this blog’s creation and the first ever post an introduction, where, I very briefly touched on how the concepts of time and space have changed due to Internet’s powerful impact. However, we all came a long way since then and we covered way more ground than when we first started – discussing things from different points of view and stepping out of our comfort zones to explore perhaps a bit more sensitive topics we wouldn’t initially choose as our primary focus.
Seeing as I previously studied for Associate of Arts in English for Professional Communication (AAEPC), I haven’t had the richest experience with design and tech aspect that would certainly be of great benefit later on. The biggest initial challenge for me was to pick a blog layout that would best represent my style and the overall ‘tone’ of my character, as well as my style of writing.
Overall Blog Design
As far as blog design iterations go, I have gone through quite a few blog designs before finally settling down with ‘Snaps’ theme, that, despite being recommended for aspiring photographers and designers, (of which I am neither) shown a lot of potential in terms of what I looked for. Considering my previous academic background, I am more eager to write than express myself in other ways; so this theme has been my choice ever since.
The color palette with which the blog theme came were already quite dark with a dark header image and crisp white font for the main title and still, I wanted to tweak it additionally to my liking.
Not being a fan of colors in general, I stuck to black, white, and gray as my go-tos with some minor changes in the header image. This specific photo I chose is of a famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, known for her intricate costumes, passionate style, and vibrant ballet performances. Perhaps without thinking, I chose her as I consider my writing tone to be somehow intricate and passionate provided that I write about what interests me.
It was important for me to stick to the black & white theme due to my own style somehow resembling this layout, but also because the tone of my writing isn’t very conversational and ‘laid-back’ as much as I would like it to be. Searching is quite difficult on this particular blog as posts are simply chronologically divided instead of being sorted in appropriate categories and there is an undeniable lack of personal touch overall, which I attribute to my lack of knowledge on integrating my own design aesthetic within a blog that needs to maintain an academic tone.
Tone of Photography
Other than the photo of Anna Pavlova I used in my header, I haven’t felt the need to add anything more to it seeing that this is, after all, an academic blog. And while I only have respect and appreciation for our University’s encouragement of our individuality through our blog style, I honestly couldn’t think of any additional imagery that would better express my style and introduce the tone of my writing.
The only other convenient location for my photos can be found in my posts where I used photography to simply extend the message I was trying to convey. For instance, in my post describing my aunt’s TV memories, I used corresponding photography that captures the written content well enough or acts as a small amplifier for the overall ‘tone’ of my post. It is my understanding that appropriately chosen photography can only be an asset to a well-written post.
While I am aware that I lack detailed knowledge of a graphic designer, I am also very prone to endorsing simplicity of the design and therefore tend to leave most things as they are unless I feel that it doesn’t match my ideal blog aesthetic. Original title font seemed a little too bulky for my taste so I changed it to a more subtle, ‘Oswald’ font while main text remained ‘Alegreya’.
I felt this to be the ideal combination of fonts, as Serif and Sans Serif normally look quite appealing if they are coordinated well enough. Normally when adding in-text citations, I would use ‘Oswald’ font yet again, because of its bold and elegant design. Considering the tone of my blog is more academic, and therefore serious and may come across as dry to an audience that expects more exciting content, I felt that these two fonts perfectly complement my style of writing.
Obstacles in the process
I found it very difficult, if not almost slightly frustrating, to choose between serious, academic tone and relaxed and more personal tone of writing. Had this been my personal blog, with no strings attaching it to my academic experience, the overall tone and appearance would have been much more detailed.
From my perspective, another obstacle I encountered could be due to each theme’s unique disposition in terms of functional elements. That means that adding sections, changing certain parts of the color palette, as well as adding widgets and integrating social media within the blog, certainly doesn’t work the same on all blog themes that are offered – or at least not in my experience so far. Social media icons appear to be functional but only to an extent where they lead to a homepage rather than my own profile on those pages.
I attempted integrating my Twitter feed, obviously with no success yet and whether it is due to an internal technical error or my own lack of familiarity with WordPress mechanics, I fully intend to change that eventually – if not for the sake of my academic writing, then for my future written content. The same issue occurred when I attempted adding different sections to my homepage, where visitors could browse my posts by visiting the section where posts belong to, i.e. post for the course DIGC202 being in the #DIGC202 category.
Overall experience with this blog remains highly educational, however, which I believe will only benefit me in my future attempts with creating any form of written or illustrated product on WordPress and I remain optimistic even in a situation where it is clear there is lots of room for improvement.