May 29, 2015 • Cee • Events


BookExpo America (BEA) is the big book convention held in New York where authors, bloggers, and publishers get together and makes every book lover cry – either in joy (because they were able to attend and get to meet authors and get ARCs) or in sadness (because those who are unable to attend have prior engagements).

Since I get go to BEA, I’ve decided to take part in Armchair BEA, which is basically a virtual conference for people who cannot attend the actual convention. Let’s get this started, shall we?

#1 tip: You need a gorgeous website design.

Lots of people judge something by how it looks, and the web design is the first impression that readers get when they visit your blog.

Say I visit a blog that has a black background with neon green color in a Comic Sans font or narrow content area or extremely cluttered everything, will I want to stick around to read the content? No. I’m more inclined to close the tab and go somewhere else. Your web design can essentially make your readers stick around or drive them away. (You want the former!)

I love when blogs I read have a fabulous designs. It makes me want to twirl in its awesomeness. I have listed the blogs/websites with designs that I love. (None of which include my blog design, which is an automatic “duh, this is a fabulous design, but no ego boosting for me.” Most of the designs I showcase here don’t use too much, but they have great illustrations, colors, and lettering that makes them stand out.


Design by These Paper Hearts · Illustrations by Julianna Swaney

When I saw These Paper Hearts‘s current blog design, I’m pretty sure my eyes turned into hearts. I am a fan of Julianna Swaney’s work; her illustrations have a whimsicalness that just works. The design does a beautiful job of accommodating the header illustration, which I love because I’ve seen many designs that have illustrations that just doesn’t work with the layout. The colors are great because it complements well with each other and it’s not too muted. (And did I talk about that header already? ;D)


Design + Development by Cindy Pepper

Novel Sounds‘s blog design is a constant. It’s one of the first book blogs I’d ever read, and one of the first book blog designs I fell in love with. It’s a straightforward design, but the colors are so pretty that it automatically captures your attention. (I never knew green and pink could work so well with each other!) I love the chalk-like/blackboard quality of it, which you can see in the lettering in the header and the search bar. Every time I think of my favorite blog designs, Novel Sounds is always on that list.


Design + Development by Anna Dorfman

Back to black, baby! Door Sixteen is a design that I find absolutely timeless. This site uses black and white in a way that doesn’t overwhelm or give readers a headache, nor is it so plain that it’s forgettable. I love that the sidebar is long and jagged, which gives it a great shape. I’m usually not a fan of post titles, dates, and such formatted on the left side, but I love it in Door Sixteen because it doesn’t take up too much of the content area. It’s so gorgeous.


Design + Development by Alex MacDuff

Can we talk about how gorgeous the illustrations in Rather Be Reading are? It’s so adorable and wonderful. (I love illustrations a lot, okay?) That and the colors are my favorite things about the blog design! I just love the shades of green that is used. Love.


Design by Breanna Rose · Development by Zoe Rooney

Love Taza‘s blog design blows me away every time I visit the site because it’s just so frickin’ gorgeous. From the colors and the layout, I have perpetual heart eyes.; I love everything about this design! When you scroll down, you get a new menu bar (which you see in the picture) that is fixed and gorgeous. My favorite part of this design is the sidebar. Just look at it! Eeeeep. All the shapes working with each other, I love! (Yes, I do have sidebar envy.) Also, that archive guys, that’s how I want my archive to look.

I wish I could hire Breanna and Zoe to do a major facelift for my blog!


Design by Carrie · Development by Kim Lawler Creative · Illustrations by Kris Atomic

Wow, wow, wow. Charlotte showed me Wish Wish Wish, and it became an immediate favorite. The illustrations, guys! It’s so gorgeous and fabulous. It’s a great addition to the overall header to be more personable. A slider pops out after a few seconds on the front page, which I pleasantly surprised by (I may have exclaimed MAGIC! in my head when it happened because it wasn’t there when I had initially loaded up the page.) And I love the “Categories” and “Archives” layout in the sidebar. Everything about this site is lovely.


Design + Development by Smitten Blog Designs

What I love most about Hello, Chelly are the colors and the background pattern. It just works for me. The colors capture my attention; it’s not too bold or pale or light, it’s justttttttt right. I love the rainbow-esque social media at the top, which is frickin’ awesome and a clever way of laying it out. I love the geometric shapes of the background; it’s a nice detail that accentuates the look of the blog.


Design + Development by Anna Dorfman · Header logo by Shanna Murray

Simple is always the way to go. SF Girl By Bay has one of those blog designs that is seemingly simple, but there are things in it that just makes it stand out. That main thing is the header. I’m head-over-heels-forever-in-love with that banner. Why? Illustration. I’m a sucker for handmade designs. It works beautifully with the flowers that line the top of the header.

Which blog designs from here do you like? What are ones that aren’t on here that you love? Show me!


10 Responses to “ARMCHAIR BEA 2015 | Blogging 101 – Favorite Blog Designs”

  1. all i can say is HEART HEART HEART <333 i'm obsessed with beautiful web design and these are absolutely gorgeous! (yours as well, but that too obvious. i didn't even need to say it) (in case you didn't get that, YOUR WEBSITE IS BEAUTIFUL) i'm glad you shared other bloggers because i love discovering new blogs – especially ones that are aesthetically pleasing. i also love the simple tales (, cornerfolds (, and what georgie did (, to name a few (:

  2. These paper hearts is also one of my favorite designs. I’m in love with the illustration and the colour scheme :)

  3. Annie says:

    I love all the sites you included here! Wish Wish Wish is among my favourites and I am such a big fan of Rather Be Reading as well. I like sites that have themes too so Novel Sounds is one I really love too. And of course Cee, your design is absolutely beautiful too! Seriously it gets better and better each time (oh and I absolutely adore Charlotte’s blog design as well)

  4. Amber says:

    You’re definitely right, a great design makes all the difference. That’s why I’m dying to get my own domain and a new theme. :( This pre-theme is killing me. I really loved Novel Sounds’ and Hello, Chelly’s designs. They’re so gorgeous. Rather Be Reading’s is really lovely as well, I love the animation at the top. <3 Definitely catch my attention when I'm on them. Another one that I really love is Pop! Goes The Reader. It's so so fresh and amazing.

  5. Shannelle says:

    I have heart eyes all over these amazing designs now. One of my favorite designs would have to be Meg’s for Adrift on Vulcan. I love how she uses GIFs and how she really makes that black and white color palette work. And all her creative layouts! *drools*

  6. These are all so beautiful! I love unique blog designs, as well. Someday when I’m not a poor grad student, maybe I’ll get my own! I love your design, too, especially the gradient social media buttons!

  7. Wow those blog designs are amazing! These Paper Hearts is probably my favorite! <3

  8. I LOVE all of these designs! Beautiful! :D

  9. Thank you Cee!! My eyes turn into hearts too whenever I scroll through Julianna Swaney’s art :) It’s so pretty! I had been a fan of her work for awhile before I worked up the courage to email her about creating a design for my blog :)

    I love Wish Wish Wish’s design too. So many cool custom illustrations! I think it’s awesome when blogs have sidebars like Love Taza’s. It really shows how custom it is and everything just flows together so well :)

  10. Alexa S. says:

    I’m obsessed with the way Love, Taza is currently designed too! I’ve been following her blog for ages, but I really like this current layout and color scheme. And of course, I love Rachel’s site and the Rather Be Reading one!

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