Photo of Brian Biddle

20 years designing for the web now Art Director of Seattle based, LexBlog, Inc., which is building the world’s largest and most comprehensive legal news and information network by drawing on contributions from legal bloggers worldwide.

One of the drastic changes for LexBlog Design has been a move away from the use of graphics programs for the creation of web layouts to live designing inside the browser using Apple Fritter.

This past week I had the opportunity to live design the Real Lawyers blog with Kevin O’Keefe. The joy of this process is that it’s not weeks to delivery but a few hours and we were “live” with a new look. This method is not random erratic design rather, a thoughtful intelligent creation built on what we’ve learned over the past 15 years and woven into our digital publishing platform. The benefits of this approach are numerous:

  • Instant Results — We can immediately see our font, color, and layout choices on desktop and mobile views
  • Quick Corrections – We can make on-the-fly adjustments vs going back into Photoshop
  • Truthful Presentation – There will always be a disconnect between what we make in Photoshop and what we actually see online
  • Real Content – We can see how our new design interacts with our content on desktop and mobile views and we can make quick adjustments
  • Remove Captivity to old Design – We can be more agile to make design updates as our focus, branding, or preferences change

The exciting thing about Apple Fritter is the power to create can be yours. Pick a starter design, upload your logo, choose your fonts, colors and start blogging!

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are three basic blog layout types. This, after twelve years and several thousand blogs designed. Fixed width, Full width, and a Hybrid layout that combines elements from the first two. Each layout type has its advantages.

Layout Types: 1.Fixed 2.Full 3.Hybrid

A Fixed Width layout is very traditional with all content framed in nice and tidy like. An excellent choice for those of us who are a bit OCD. Like a pinstripe shirt they never go out of style.

The Full Width layout is all the rage and for good reason. Your main navigation and masthead span edge to edge allowing for more content and impactful imagery up top. Beautiful to behold on desktop displays and nice and clean when viewed on a mobile device.

Finally the Hybrid layout which takes its cues from the first two. The navigation and mast are wide-open. This allows for the use of some nice graphics or textures. The post area is framed in. Pulling your eye right where it needs to go…the content.

Of the three, Hybrid is my favorite. What’s Yours?