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Good Looking Website:

The DIY To Pro Evolution Of My Online Branding

People ask all the time… How do I get my website to look as beautiful as yours?

I agree.

It does look fabulous - and this is all thanks to Amber and Imy at Bloom & Brave Creative.

The design of my website was the first thing I outsourced, and I am so happy I did, because it is definitely not my strongest skill.

So I haven’t attempted to create this blog post solo - it’s been co-written with Amber and Imy - to reflect how I got started plus their suggestions for anyone who needs/wants to DIY their branding.

1. Find up to five colours that you like that go together

Consider using colours that go with the keywords and feelings of your brand. Start by picking one or two main colours, then up to three lighter colours that compliment them, and sometimes an extra contrasting colour for accents.

You don’t need to use your own judgement to discern which colours look good together, you can cheat by:

a) Using a photo of nature where the colours please you - My brand colours are based on a photo of a sunset at my local beach

b) Browsing the many palettes at colourlovers.com, using a palette generator such as coolers.co or playing around with Canva’s colour tools

c) Picking out the colours that are already in your headshots (if you have them)

Advanced Tip:

If you want to get really deep into colours… you can pick a type of colour palette to use:

Analogous

Colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel (either all cool or all warm colours. Relaxed, visually pleasing palette).

Monochromatic

Same colour, different shades (soft, subtle, understated).

Complementary

Colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel (includes warm AND cool colours. Contrast, balance, interesting).

Bonus tip if you're finding it tricky to pick your colours

You know how it’s easier to choose the curtains and then match the wall paint so it complements the pattern, than if you fall in love with a paint colour, then have to find furnishings to match?

It might be easier to find some graphics you want to use on your website and social media (like my doodles and stickers), and then create your colour palette by using the colour picker tool to find the ‘hex’ codes of the colours used.

2. Find imagery you want to use

Creative Market is my favourite place to browse patterns and illustrations (affiliate link*). You can also get fonts, photos, videos and even logos from Creative Market. Prepare to fall down a rabbit hole of beautiful things!

Pinterest is great for collecting inspiration on how you want your brand to look. And this doesn’t have to just be brands and websites, this could be photos of anything, like a moodboard to collect together the overall look and feel.

Canva is a brilliant tool for creating and sourcing graphics for your website. It’s perfect for things like blog post or podcast graphics where they’ll follow a similar template each time.

For photos, use websites like Envato, Unsplash and Pexels. Canva does include stock photos but there’s often licensing restrictions on these if you’re using them as a standalone photo and not within a graphic, like only using them at a specific size.

And don’t forget you can take your own photos too. You don’t need to invest in a photoshoot straight away. If you’re the face of your business, show your face and connect with people!

NOTE:

Graphics are great for things like icons and illustrations that complement your written content, but try to avoid creating graphics where the text is displayed on the image. Screenreaders can’t read text that’s technically an image, so it’s not very accessible and the text won’t resize for different devices.

If you do display text on an image, it should be something that doesn’t affect the reader’s understanding of the website if it was taken out completely, for example blog post graphics often include the title of the blog on them, but the title is usually shown in text as well.

You don’t need to spend money right away - just gather items into collections so you can start building up your look.

3. Find fonts that you like and can actually use

This is from bitter experience… it sure is fun to go shopping around for different font pairings.

And then you find out that your chosen font doesn’t work on Google docs, or you have to buy it and import it onto Canva, and you don’t really know how, and it’s not compatible with your website builder tool thingy anyway.

If you’re doing a whole lot of DIY when it comes to website building, PDF-making, and content creation, may I gently suggest that you:

  • Make a list of the tools you’ll be using and check what fonts are available across those tools
  • Pick a font for headings and subheadings (make sure it’s clear to read)
  • Pick a font for the body text (something very easy and comfortable to read)
  • You can add in one additional font that can be something fancier for highlights, accents and finishing touches, sticking to 2-3 fonts overall
  • To find fonts that work well together, you can use a font pairing tool (googling ‘font that goes with [name of font you already like]’ is a strong start)

If you do buy a font from somewhere like Creative Market (affiliate link*), check you’re buying the right license. It should be a web-use or commercial-use font to use on your business website and in your branding. Also be mindful of choosing fonts from Canva, as some fonts are available to use within Canva but you’ll need a license to use them elsewhere.

Google Fonts are perfect as they’re easily downloadable, compatible across multiple tools and are built into Google Docs. They’re also available for personal and commercial use, so you can use them on your website.

Serif

Each letter has ‘feet’ - little lines on the end of the letters!

Keywords - serious, traditional, formal, classic

Sans-Serif

‘Sans-serif’ translates to ‘without serif’ or without feet!

Keywords - modern, simple, clean

Script

These are handwriting style fonts including calligraphy style fonts.

Keywords - elegant, playful, feminine

Decorative

These are quirky, attention-grabbing fonts.

Keywords - quirky, novelty, eye-catching, unique

If you do want to hire an expert…

If you’d like help with setting up your website or creating your branding, get in touch with Amber and Imy at Bloom & Brave Creative.

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