Design Spotlight: Blogsolid

Blogsolid is a blog about blogging. The tagline “ideas for better blogging” describes the site well.

Their content is good, and their design is amazing. It’s got a great natural/ancient/paper/etc kind of look to it. Though it’s a light-on-dark design, it’s been pulled-off well, and it’s not really that hard on the eyes.

Unlike most blogs, Blogsolid has taken the “Splash-Screen” approach, though I have to admit it’s one of those rare cases where it works (without being annoying). The splash page isn’t done with Flash either, which is a big plus. The splash page adds to the site, and does a great job of setting the tone. Note: Don’t try this at home!

First let’s take a look at the logo, which is used on the splash page as well as on the rest of the site.

The logo matches the theme well, and it’s got an interesting look to it. The letters have received the ever-popular “grunge effect” with a unique look to it. On most of the blog pages, the RSS subscription link blends into the banner with a word-bubble type look.

You see the standard header (see below) throughout the site, though it’s much different on the splash page.

The top of the header looks great, and the random image below is cool, though it is, in my opinion, a little big. At an 800×600 resolution (how many people still use that?) the pages’ main content is not visible above the fold. Only the header, and image, are visible.

Moving down the layout, we come to the posts.

Most of the content area looks like it does on any other blog, though it’s styled in an interesting way. I especially like the number/icon to the right. Though I’m generally not that big a fan of numbering all the posts, it sure looks cool here. Above the post number, an icon representing the post category is clearly visible. It’s a nice touch.

Blogsolid’s sidebar column is oriented on the right side of the screen. It’s nice and clutter-free, though the date-based archives could go. The sidebar fits with the overall design, and blends-in nicely.

I like Blogsolid’s three-category approach, which simplifies navigation, and keeps sidebar clutter to a minimum. It’s got to make things easier during the writing process. You can’t have trouble categorizing a post if there are only three categories! I just wonder what the state of navigation will be like a year from now. Will it be hard to find things with only three categories, and a search box? Implementing a tagging system would help, and it would allow the blog to continue having only three categories.

Even the footer looks cool. Because the footer is at the bottom of the page, a lot of designers slack on the cool-factor. Blogsolid sure didn’t. The Blogsolid logo appears again, along with a copyright notice and “Powered by” message. The footer itself looks like the boxes on the splash page, with that cool “old paper” look. Amazingly, all those little icons at the bottom are design galleries the site was featured in.

Blogsolid has a great design, and some interesting content. As with any site, you can’t get the full experience looking at screenshots. Take a look at the actual site.

  • Imar

    Thanks for the thorough review, Matt. You certainly have an eye for detail! I think tags will be an excellent function to add. Apparently WordPress 2.3 is incorporating a tags feature, so maybe I will wait for that. Do you really think the monthly archive is unnecessary? I have always just assumed it should be there! Keep up the great site.

  • Matt

    Oh, I just have this opinion that monthly archives are an irrelevant carry-over from journal-blogging. Realistically, there is a reason to ditch them: After a year, you’ll have 12 archives. After two years, there will be 24. It’s rapidly expanding sidebar clutter. It would make more sense to create an Archives page to hold them, to prevent your sidebar from getting out of hand.

    WP 2.3 is going to have tag support? I didn’t know that. Cool.

  • Imar

    I came across the tags thing in an interview with Matt Mullenweg. Check out question 6…