Monday, June 11, 2012

A blog history through headers

When I was re-designing my blog last week, I went deep into my archives to revisit old photos and headers to get some inspiration for the new look. I thought it'd be fun to share the old headers here, and show how the aesthetics of this blog have changed since I began blogging in 2009. And away we go:

june 2012 - present: 
This is the newest iteration that you see above. When I was re-designing this site, I really reflected on the name, 'Sidewalk Chic,' and how I wanted my tagline to reflect my three main themes: personal style, photography (not just landscape anymore), and a deep love for my town. I used a photo from downtown Athens that I took for another project, and converted it to a paint style in Photoshop. The header has had a trickle-down effect on the rest of the blog, as its color scheme is reflected in links and headlines. I used Futura Condensed Medium as my font, which has been a favorite for years because of its bold, neat minimalism. I may tinker with the layout a bit more on this one: while I like the tagline "personal style & the great outdoors," I'm not sure about the placement of outdoors just yet. I did construct the tagline to look like a band name on a flyer.

february 2012 - june 2012:
This header is the first one where I used both Photoshop and InDesign to create it. As you can see, Futura is represented here for the first time (and it probably won't be the last). A photo of one of the parks I visit is represented in the font's background and in the swirls. I used blue and green in the fonts to match the landscape photo, but I didn't think the color scheme was bold enough for me, since they didn't match the many saturated tones I often wear.

february 2011 - january 2012:
This header is the longest one that's been on the blog because I thought it captured what this blog was about: personal style and the outdoors. This was a very basic design -- in fact, the font used was from the free photo program Picnik. I eventually got tired of seeing my face at the top of my site everyday, hence the change.

november 2011 - january 2012:
Before this blog was re-branded and renamed as "Sidewalk Chic" to better reflect my interests, it was known as "Sidewalk Chalk." My sister and I began it in October 2009 to share our daily outfits and things we loved from childhood. In early 2010, the blog was under my sole control so I played around with its design as I tried to figure out what I  wanted to blog about. This is the first header since I made the name change; I really liked the fall leaves. 

october 2010:
Here is the last header before the name change. I really felt my header needed to reflect this site's photography, and so much of it was based around showing me in a landscape setting. I wasn't completely sold on it because it was too large and I felt I was too prominently displayed in the header. Notice the free picnik fonts again. Picnik is the main program used for the early headers' designs.

may 2010 - september 2010: 
This is the first header that was used after my sister stopped blogging to focus on her other interests, so I felt it really needed to reflect my sole authorship and style. The photo was taken at the farm park near my old home in Gwinnett, and it's the first time a landscape is prominently featured. Jeremiah took the photo, back when I actually had him take my photos (I started doing self-photography in June 2010). 

december 2009 - april 2010: 

 Ahh, feet photos -- so ubiquitous in fashion blogging! This is a photo of my sister Nikki (right) and me (left) because we wanted to show that our beloved "Sidewalk Chalk" was about our personal styles (and was not related to art supplies -- a common problem we ran into in search engines). We were still neophytes at fashion blogging and photography -- look at that camera strap visible on the right! I couldn't find a copy of our header with the font we used, but I believe it was a chalk-looking design on the sidewalk.

october 2009 - november 2009:
And here we come to the end -- or in this case, the very beginning of this blog. My sister actually designed this header through Picnik with a photo she took herself at a park. It was designed with a Polaroid border, which was a popular Picnik feature at the time. I will always be grateful to my sister for starting this site and for getting me into blogging in the first place.

Finally, just to further demonstrate how this blog has changed over time, I thought I'd share these word clouds! With Wordle, I was able to capture and showcase the most-used words.

Here's one from June 2010 made by my friend Val:

And here's one from June 2012:

And there you have it -- a history of my blog's design. I believe it's all an ongoing process and I'm sure that I'll have more to share of these headers in the future. 

Have you ever re-designed your site, and why? What kinds of layouts and techniques did you use?

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