School is back in session and everything feels like it is slowly returning to normal in Hangzhou. The barriers in the cafeteria have been taken down, students are not required to wear masks when entering or leaving school, and many of our students who were “locked out” of China are starting to make their way back. My role has changed this year from being a homeroom teacher to working as part of the Student Support Team and we have had a really dynamic start to the year, which has been exciting!
New School Year
A new school year has also meant the start of a new COETAIL course and I took the opportunity to look back over my blog after reading this week’s articles. It was eye-opening, to say the least. I remember throughout courses one and two trying to keep a balance of images and videos which, in my mind, would help create a visual hierarchy of sorts. How wrong I was.
Today I looked at my blog as if I were a reader and it looked like a list. My eyes were not particularly drawn to anything and instead, I felt overwhelmed by a stream of text. Clearly things need to change here and so I began by thinking about what made some of the blogs I use most so approachable.
Looking at other blogs
I started thinking about two of the blogs I look at most often. These are COOKIE + Kate and Smitten Kitchen. I have been using both of these blogs for a few years now to get recipes and inspiration for meals and sometimes the food I cook almost looks like the photographs. Looking at the visual hierarchy of these blogs they have a number of things in common. They both use black text on a white background which makes the blog feel very clean, obviously appropriate for a food blog. This is paired with large photographs of the food they have prepared, drawing in the readers’ eyes. Around the images and text, there is a substantial amount of negative space which, as Alex Bigman mentions in his blog post 6 principles of hierarchy for designers, gives the “content ample room to breathe.“
The changes I want to make to my post then come from inspiration from these blogs alongside Whitney Museum for American Art. I want to try and use more negative space to allow my blog posts room to breathe. I find the visual aesthetic of black and grey text on a white background very attractive so I want to continue using this but think more about how text size can be used to draw in the reader. Finally, I want to try and give more prominence to images I post to help them stand out more, rather than being lost in the text.
After playing around with some new themes and trying to scan as both an F-scanner and a Z-scanner I have come to the conclusion that I need to start including more images to break up paragraphs. My hope is that this will help
A work in progress
After spending far too long with various settings I am yet to find the right aesthetic for me. One issue is that, in the past, I have neglected to include enough images so I am trying to remedy this. I hope that by including more visuals it will help to make my blog stand out more. I would love to be able to play around with the presentation further and start to include elements that would help throw-off particular scanners, however, I feel as though my grasp of graphic design is still very much at the early stages. For the first time, I have started to use the preview button on WordPress to look at what my post will look like before I post it.