Template Faerie

Designing a Blog isn't Rocket Science

Published on Saturday, April 09, 2011
By Sarah Payne
designing blog templates
It's true. With Blogger's Template Designer, you don't have to know HTML or CSS, you don't need any Photoshop skills, and you don't need a heap of books that give you step-by-step instructions. All it takes is you, your eyeballs, and a computer. A keyboard and mouse is helpful in most cases. To show you how easy it is, I'm going to give you six examples of default templates I improved using nothing but the Template Designer. Best of all, I'm giving away all six of these templates for you to use on your blog!

Default doesn't have to be ugly

If you keep up with Template Faerie, I'm sure you've heard me complain more than once about the countless number of blogs using unedited default templates. Well, here I go again. There's no excuse for this. While a beautiful blog probably isn't required for your success, I'm sure your readers would appreciate something more appealing, and you would like to stop losing sleep over your ugly template.

At first, I was skeptical about the Template Designer, and I thought it was very limiting. But, after playing with it for a while, I realized that it's actually capable of a lot, and that all the new Blogger templates are very customizable (I admit they could be improved, though). I then decided that there was no reason for ugly blogs to be in existence, and that any in existence must be improved or be banished from the internet forever. Well, not really, but you get the idea.

I don't have the power to improve all the ugliness in the blogosphere, but I can show you that designing a good template isn't hard. My last week was spent editing each of the default templates so I could show you that it really is possible to create something appealing out of something boring. I didn't touch any HTML to create these templates. All editing was done using nothing more than the Template Designer.

I thought that if I was going to all the trouble of creating these templates, they should be put to some use. So I'm giving them away for you to use on your blog. Below are preview images of each of the templates. I had lots of fun making them!

The Stripe template, as I call it, is based on Travel, and as you'd expect, is a stripy template with a clean design of muted colors. It would go perfectly with a cloudy day. Or with your Siamese cat!


Spring Green is based on the Simple template. Forget what I just said about cloudy days—this template is a mix of bright green and red, and it's just the thing your blog needs in time for spring! What, you don't think your blog needs to be in the mood for spring like the rest of us?


I was skeptical about Ethereal at first, and I wasn't sure if I could do much to improve it. But somehow, this template popped out of it. Mosaic is a dark template with subtle blue tones and a stationary background.


This template is based on Awesome Inc, which makes it awesome. I had lots of fun choosing colors for this one, and I decided to call it Pale Autumn.


I was inspired by a background I found in the Template Designer to create Grunge, which is, of course, a grungy template based on Watermark.


The Butterfly template is a mix of blues and purples, and is based on Picture Window. I don't know how I managed to add a hint of lavender to it. I hate lavender.


Keep ugliness out of your blog

I hope I've shown you today that you don't have to be a genius to design a blog. Anyone can design a blog. The only question is, can you make it look good? Fortunately, you don't have to be a genius for that either. A good design is nothing more than a combination of coordinating colors and graphics (such as the header and background images), and simple navigation. Blogger's templates have navigation that's simple enough—but how good the rest of the blog looks is up to you!

I hope you'll make it your mission to keep the ugly out of your blog. It may only be one less ugly blog on the internet, but it makes a difference.

Let me know what you think of these templates, and if you liked them, I hope you'll share the word! I'm forever grateful for any tweets, stumbles, diggs, and Facebook shares!

About the Author

I'm Sarah Payne, the author of this blog. I'm an amateur writer and template designer, an avid Blogger-user, and a reptile lover. One way or another, I ended up creating TF to show people that blogs don't have to be ugly and to share my unavoidably opinionated rants. You can also find me on Twitter and Google+.