Aesthetically Appealing Design
These days (sigh), achieving an aesthetic look is
all the rage #trending. The social media King Kong, Instagram, dominates this trend with personal and business accounts marketing products or sharing life’s snapshots in abundant variation, however, Instagram’s popularity wasn’t instant. Ironically, once Facebook began offering advertising opportunities (inadvertently, I assume) a shift occurred creating a spike in Instagram account holders.
Instagram’s simple format boasts the art of photography, eliminating the unnecessary Facebook became. As the platform quadrupled in users, account owners began to up the ante making their entire account cohesive in design. This technique caught on like wildfire and the rest is graphic design history. Entrepreneurs and chain store moguls saw an opportunity to promote their brand using simple product images with on-brand color schemes, fitting within a square 1080×1080 frame.
Que marketers and opportunists alike
Although IG takes home the trophy for this viral design trend, bloggers assist in keeping the trend ablaze. Being a photo hobbyist for the majority of my life, I was instantly drawn to flat lay photography when I stumbled into the blogosphere. Many bloggers refer to this style of photography as stock photography.
*If you are interested in the differences between the two, click on the term(s) for exact definitions but if you are a hobbyist like myself, technicalities are details that do not apply.
UPCYCLE COMMON HOUSEHOLD ITEMS, SAVE MONEY, AND
LEAVE MAKE YOUR MARK.
Everywhere we look, we are met with design. Our individual preferences attribute man or nature for such displays of jaw-dropping design. Whether it is the intricate details carved in a handmade wooden pipe or monuments chiseled on a mountainside, one thing is for certain; design evokes emotion.
Design encompasses shapes, color, positioning, font, and stuff. It has long been known by marketers that there is some psychology behind colors and the emotion they evoke.
As someone who fancies design, I made the decision to establish a cohesive aesthetic for my online presence *cue the
ingenuity economical* that could double as my home decor. Unfortunately, my love of pretty, shiny things isn’t a good enough cause for money to rain down on me so that I may indulge in one of my numerous passions. Whoomp, whoomp!
There is always a but…and a glimmer of hope!! If you are a penny pincher, by choice or not, this post is for you!! If you are bored and beg for inspiration to hit you, use this post as a guide to design a life that aesthetically pleases you!! I guarantee you will be glad you did!
Before we begin I want to offer some advice: TAKE YOUR TIME. If you don’t love it, don’t keep it OR up-cycle it by giving it a fresh coat of paint. You do not have to splurge and implement all in a day. Shit…I began late 2017 and here I am in 2020 with good direction yet not completion. I have added to the mix, removed and returned, moved decor all over the house only to decide it to be a perfect fit for the porch. Each day I make small progress toward achieving an aesthetic look that doubles as on-brand photography for my website while serving a purpose in my home. I call that a bases-loaded, two strikes, two balls, out-of-the-park home run (I forget the short version of such) win-win!!
Below I have attempted to outline how I approached this feat but if you come up with more clever ideas or an easier way things can be done, by all means do so.
I. Website Content
The first step is to determine if your website content is or going to be used for personal expression or for business purposes.
Dependent on your choice and the message you want to convey, this is where you make the hardest decision of the entire process (imo).
A. Choose a color scheme
If you are designing a business website this is called branding (it is much more than deciding on a color scheme). If your site will be used for personal expression, as a photo gallery, or for connection purposes, decide how you would like to be represented using color.
Pinterest is full of helpful material in regard to this topic. You will find a plethora of detailed information but beware, there is an overwhelming amount! Proceed with caution! For all intents and purposes, I will provide you with a few that I found helpful. The chart below is for website design where colors are represented by code, not by name. The chart has the names of the color with its code out beside it. One is the RGB code and the other is the CMYK.
II. Prop Sourcing
A. Pictorial Content
Whether you choose to blog using an informal format or a professional one, your website design and graphics should scream you. Adding graphics is the perfect way to enhance your content and keep your readers interested. It breaks up the monotony of words and presents your readers with a visual tool. If you want to really impress your following, add a video that pertains to your post.
Talk about bonus points!! That sets the bar for catering to your audience and their individual learning styles!
Please do not fall into the trap of thinking you must have camera x or super expensive lighting. I use my phone for taking my photos and good ole sunlight for lighting. It doesn’t get any better than that, although, unforgiving shadows can become a challenge but don’t allow that to stand in your way! Get in there and click from all different angles to find the perfect shot. There are thousands of photo editing apps available and my personal recommendation is to choose one filter that you use on every pic you post. Doing so will contribute to your overall aesthetic.
Okay, quick checklist…
✔ You have made your decision concerning the message you want to share with others (content).
✔ You have chosen your color palette (branding).
Now it is time to turn to your home for props. Use your immediate surroundings as a source for inspiration. Chances are, if you know enough about a topic to dedicate a website to it or invest time and money into creating a business, you have plenty of props at your disposal.
Using a white surface or background enriches the quality of your images. It will assist in presenting your products in a consistent and clean fashion. White gives you the freedom to add seasonal colors or on-brand colors without distracting from the product itself. You will find that having a white background helps with lighting as well.
• for any business, office supplies are the perfect, on-hand prop there is!
• showcase products that are sold on your site. Photograph individual products to give yourself a backup of ready-to-go snapshots. Surround your product with seasonally themed decor to add a more personable touch.
• dig for any old home decor that you may have stored away like picture frames, organizing bins, boxes, old books…I could go on forever. If it doesn’t fit your color scheme, paint it!!
• grab and pile pillows with cases that match your personality. Add a blanket, light a few candles, and an open book. Shoot the photo from above, landscape, and edit.
• place your laptop on your desk or any flat surface. Stage by adding a coffee mug and seasonal flowers.
• for showcasing your creative side, snap a photo using your supplies.
III. Create graphic images
Canva makes it easier than ever to create your own website graphics. If you have never heard of or used this app, GET IT!! It is a blogger’s best friend! They offer a free version and a paid-for premium version. I’ll give you a quick rundown of how it works (the free version).
• snap a pic
•choose a template or use the blank option formatted for the platform of desired use
•upload your snapshot. Adjust by using a filter, adding on-brand fonts, scale the transparency and much more
•title your image. Don’t forget to add a brief description of your custom graphic image for the visually impaired (alt-text)
•download your masterpiece or share it directly from the app
•insert your design into your post, poem, lead page, email header, or share it on social media
•Bam! You are done!!
>Pro Tip: make sure to add the name of your business or the name of your personal site to each graphic image you design. I place mine in the title. This optimizes marketing efforts and SEO. On WordPress and Pinterest, once you have uploaded your graphic design, you can link the image back to your site or anywhere you would like to take your reader.
Even if you choose to not do your own photography, Canva is a useful tool that formats social media, email, and website graphics but it also formats your designs for at home printing OR you can order prints from the printing service it offers!!
I am not an affiliate for Canva but I personally recommend it.
It is my hope that you draw inspiration from this post. The list here is short, indeed, but keeping things simple seems to push me to achieve such a feat. This began as a photo prop journey and has helped me to change the way I see things. Doing so has opened up a world of possibilities! Repurposing household items that I have acquired multiples of, has significantly reduced clutter and surprisingly added ease of access. It has challenged me to think outside of the box while adding a spark of pride for my creations.
If you give it a go, let me know!! Much love, y’all!!