"What did you do on your summer vacation?"
This famous question is ringing 'round the world as kiddos head back to start another school year. For me, besides spending time with my family, my big project was giving my logo and blog each a face lift. As of today, I have finally put all the finishing touches on them and am ready to roll them out!
When I first started my TpT store and blog, I was pretty proud of my homemade logo:
Thanks to the backgrounds, clip art, and fonts of talented artists who put their work on the web for free use, I was able to put together what I thought was a pretty unique look for my logo. If anything, I just liked how it looked aesthetically. It wasn't too "cute," and it was simple with a little bit of whimsy.
However, the more time I spent blogging and building my store, the more I wanted a logo that reflected what I want people to know about me as a teacher and blogger.
- I wanted to incorporate my language arts and social studies background as well as all the colorful and rich experiences possible with learning (not to mention my trusty old wise and studious owl).
- I still wanted a little bit of whimsy but nothing too "cute." I like it elsewhere, but it's just not me, my style, or my message.
- I also wanted a design that appeals to upper elementary and middle school educators and the learning experiences of their students.
Here's the result:
|Be sure to "grab" my new button!|
I really admire graphic designers' ability to turn ideas into images. I had so many different thoughts that I wanted to incorporate, and I think he really captured them in this new logo.
The next step of the project was to refresh my blog design. My original background and header was courtesy of The Cutest Blog on the Block, which has some very eye-catching designs...free of charge!
Here's my original header that I customized with my blog name and tag line:
While this design was very pleasing to the eye and fit the bill of being a bit more mature in look, I wanted something unique to Aspire to Inspire that would fit my brand and message. After pouring over hundreds of images from Dreamstime.com, I narrowed down my choices for header images. My favorites all shared a common theme, which I would describe as "trees of knowledge." I ended up picking a very cool tree of knowledge, which showed a boy reaching up to grab an apple from the tree. I thought this was such a great picture of what I want from my students as well as one of the messages I want to share in the content of my blog, which is to encourage students to be active in and responsible for their own learning.
We came up with this:
After several weeks of playing with the background to the blog, which never quite fit the header like we'd hoped, I opted to create my own background on a fun (and free) site, http://bgpatterns.com. I found a similar tree shape to the ones in my header and was able to create a background with the same colors as the header. Super simple, and I think it fits really well.
I opted to keep the actual layout of the blog as it had been originally. However, I did make a few changes. I ended up changing some of the fonts for titles and headings. I also changed the colors within the blog to match those in the new header and logo. On my original blog layout, I used the Pantone Tangerine set of social media icons courtesy of Craftiments. They were simple with a touch of razzle-dazzle, and the color was gorgeous.
I really liked the shades of those Pantone colors so I went back to Craftiments and picked another version of the icons, this time in Rhapsody.
Using some detective skills and Google, I was able to find the exact hexidecimal and RGB (i.e. color) codes of Rhapsody so I could add it to my color options on my blog and then tied it into my Tabs background as well as several other spaces. (PS If you ever find a color that you'd love to have in a blog or a document but don't know the color's code so you can add it, try this Web site.) I ended up making my own BlogLovin' badge in Rhapsody as well as a TpT badge to match. To finish things up, I toyed around with darker shades of purple for titles and headings until I found what I liked. In the end, my blog design really confirmed my favorite color choices: purple, green, and blue!
You can find a complete list of credits for my blog design on the About page of my blog.
The Before and After
Here is a screenshot of the "before":
Here's the after: (Although, you could probably just look around the screen to see it!)
What I appreciated most about this experience was finally being able to express my message in a unique and personalized way. I have A LOT of ideas so the most challenging part of this project was identifying those and narrowing them down. Now that the new design is finished, I'm excited to cross that goal off my list and get back to creating more content that will "aspire to inspire"!
It'd be great to hear from you! What are the main messages you try to get across through your blog design? How did you come up with the design of your blog? Leave me a comment.