The Aesthetics of Books and Blogs: #ArmchairBEA


The Books:

It’s one of the things I don’t like to admit about myself, but I absolutely do judge a book by its cover. I prefer to read books that are also pretty, but I will read something that sounds appealing, even if the cover art is terrible. Sometimes, anyway. I don’t want to be a cover snob, but it is something that absolutely extends into the other areas of my life. Aesthetics matter for me, in my clothes, books, and home decor. I feel better when things are neat and pretty, with a limited color palette. I don’t care too much for whimsy, I hate kitsch (“kitsch is the absolute denial of shit”), and I deeply appreciate a good sense of design.

Goodness, I sound like such a grump.

The Blog:

I’d like to point out that the things I appreciate above, I only apply to myself. I’m not particularly judgmental of someone else’s blog layout. If you have good content, I’ll read.

Branding. Branding as a term also sounds so silly to me, because I do this for fun (and branding seems so business/serious), but at the same time, my blog definitely has a specific aesthetic.  I prefer to keep mine minimal and organized, without gifs (even though I find them funny), but still recognizable as something I wrote/created/thought/etc. I love black and white as a color scheme, with a hint of color from time to time. I enjoy good photography and properly scaled images. I’m actually due for a bit of an update soon, and have been in the midst of planning behind the scenes. Quite honestly, and oddly, my blog is quite representative of my home, which is quite representative of personal style, and so on down the line…

At least I’m consistent?

How do you feel about blog design? Does it matter to you? What about book covers?

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  • Debbie Rodgers

    Blog design is important to me as well, although our tastes differ somewhat. I do enjoy a bit of whimsy now and then. I love the clean look of your blog, but it’s not for my blog. I really dislike blogs that are cluttered with widgets or that have side lists that extend beyond the posts. Interesting topic.

  • Silver’s Reviews

    I judge a book by its cover too. Why not, right?

    As for branding….my header is my trademark.

    I like clean, uncluttered blogs. Yours is very nicely designed.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Silver’s Reviews

  • Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves)

    I love your blog design! And, despite the lack of intentional branding, I think you have a very distinct brand. Grit Lit queen and your blog’s design kind of fits with that image…at least in my mind!

  • Laura Frey

    You blog design is the best. I love it. Keep it simple!

    • Rory O’Connor

      Thank you.

  • Rachel Rooney

    I prefer clean designs. I really need to update mine. I haven’t touched it since I started blogging again in late February, and it is hopelessly out of date!

    I don’t choose a book by its cover, but I think I will not read a book if I hate its cover.

  • Naomi

    I love your blog design. And I love to hear that you like black and white! I often feel like my blog must seem boring – it’s been the same since I started blogging over 2 years ago. I made it black and white to keep it simple to start, not knowing what I really wanted. And I was going for the ‘ink’ look (for Consumed By Ink). I will probably change it someday, but it’s time-consuming to think about, and now I’m kind of attached to it. 🙂
    I like all different blog designs, though, and would only be turned off by a blog if it was really cluttered.

  • Jennine G.

    I agree on judging books by cover. Usually the cover and title are what make me pick up a book to read the summary in the first place. I’m not too picky about blog design as long as it’s easy to get around, links work, etc.

    • Rory O’Connor

      Ease of navigation counts for a lot too! I love a good cover and hope that it leads to a good story as well.

  • Katie McD @ Bookish Tendencies

    I’m totally with you here… minimalistic/simple with neutral colors… same here in wardrobe, home, blog. Love your design 🙂

    • Rory O’Connor

      Thank you. It makes it easier to mix and match and make small changes.

  • Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf

    haha I felt the same way about the term “branding”!

    • Rory O’Connor

      I just feel silly when I talk about branding my site. “Rory – the brand…” Nope. Doesn’t work.

  • Leah @ Books Speak Volumes

    I have to admit I judge books by their covers, too — and this probably makes me a terrible person, but I judge blogs by their designs as well; if there’s too much going on visually, I can’t focus on the writing, no matter how good it is. And I think your “brand” comes across naturally, which is nice; I much prefer blogs that are organic reflections of their authors’ personalities over blogs where you can tell the writer puts a lot of effort into what their brand is.

    • Rory O’Connor

      Blog clutter kills me! I’ll try, but if it’s to visually disturbing I have to quit reading.

      And thank you. That makes me happy to hear.

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