The Evolution of Hope Squared

Kristen from Confessions of a Graphic Design Student posted yesterday about the evolution of her blog design and I knew I had to follow suit.  I have always enjoy looking at old designs of bloggers that I follow.  I like to know where they came from.  And see how their blog has changed.  I especially like looking back on my own.

Since I started this blog I have been the sole designer.  With some, limited, feedback from Steve.  I often laugh at my old layouts - because seriously I want to know 'what was I thinking?'  I think this is how we all work, right?  As soon as we have a fresh new layout we wonder why we stuck out the old for so long. Why we chose that font?  That graphic?  Those colours? It's the same  when you see yourself in an old picture - you wonder why the heck didn't anyone tell you how terrible that shirt looked?  Or how ridiculous that hairstyle was.  Blog design to me - is exactly the same. 

Trust me I am no expert on the subject of design - but I do feel like it's a lot like fashion.  Design trends.  Fonts.  Colour schemes.  They all come and go.  And to be honest - I have never really poured my heart into my own blog design. Much like I don't pour my life savings in to fashion.  I am a sweats girl.   I don't know why - but when it comes to pimping out my own space - things just never are right.  I can't decide what to do - so I stick it out with simplicity.  But I didn't start off that way.   

First Header

I launched Hope Squared on April 1, 2011.  By looking at this header you might think that this was a joke.  The tag line makes me want to throw up. You too?  Steve hated it.  But I was recently married. So I persevered. And started this blog to document our first year of marriage.  Two lovebirds sitting in a tree sounded fitting. I didn't have a plan on how to blog - at all.  But this is what I decided to start with.  I think I lasted about a month with this header - I hated it from the get go but my skills in Illustrator & Photoshop were so limited that I am actually sort of impressed that I manged to pump this out.  Let's move on.

Second Header

I am glad I came to my senses and realized that less is more.  Especially when it comes to headers.  I dropped the busy tree graphic and the terrible tag line and stuck with the two birds and colour scheme.  The two birds represented Steve and I.  Essentially who Hope Squared is. I changed the fonts to Calibri and Honey Script and called it a day.

Third Header

Header three - looks almost exactly like the second right?  I remember thinking that the dark grey was too harsh - so I lightened is up with the blue.  However I stuck it out with the blue and grey theme - because those were our wedding colours - and lets face it they look great together. RIGHT?  I can't remember how long I lasted with this one.

Fourth Header

I decided to change my font to my trusty go to Cicle and swap out the birds for this little leafy element thing.  I was seeing birds on so many blogs - and wanted to get out of that trend.  So why not be super unique and use some natural elements.  Obviously it's impossible to be original in a blogosphere this large.  But one thing I did was I opted for a cleaner looking header.  Let's face it - I like white space.  You should like white space.  It's your best friend.  Seriously I get anxious when I am designing and I think there is too much going on.  It usually halts the process.  I have learned to work with basic simple designs.  It's what I like.  It what I am most comfortable with.  The cleaner and simpler the design the more I swoon.

Fifth Header
This is the Hope Squared most of you know and obviously love right?  It's a simple header with nothing fancy.  I used the font  Stentiga - it's the only time I've ever used it.  I launched this new look at the beginning of 2012 - and it's taken all my energy to just stick it out.  I think there is something to be said about continuity in your designs.  I have been trying to build up readership this year and I wanted to make sure there was some continuity. So to ensure my readers knew it was me - I have kept my look the same.  But I think as a blogger your brand should reflect who you are.  Some consistency is good.   But sometimes change is necessary.

With that said....it's time for some changes to occur here at Hope Squared. I like the simplicity of my blog.  But it's outdated.  My navigation links aren't reflective of my blog anymore.  The colour scheme needs to change.  But I don't want to rebrand unless I get it right.  Thus the delay.  But it's coming.  But I do have two new designs for some other bloggers that I am working on in the mean time.  I am excited to share those with you. 

But I have a question - In your opinion what makes a good blog design? 


  1. I used to have those premade layouts before my husband and I created my current design. In my opinion, the best blog designs are clean, with pops of color. They are easy to read, organized, and show the blogger's personality.

  2. I've only had one other header before this one, but I'm itching for a new look - grey & yellow are SO 2011 and SO not me. later lovebird ;)

  3. I like simple and clean too. Can't wait to see what you're coming up with next.

  4. My favorite blog designs are the ones that reflect the ladies or people behind the blog. =) When blog designs are too trendy, they become white noise because they're just being "fashionable" and not sticking to what they like. If that makes sense. =)

  5. Love it! Your version is better than mine. I should have named my fonts. Im definitely a fan of white space, more than I was from the start. I cant for the life of me choose a background that doesnt make it look cluttered. I really like them on other blogs, thats why I keep trying, but I always end up deleting it. I like and can appreciate almost all designs, I just dont like seeing those free premade ones or scrapbooky ones. Not my cup of tea!

  6. I love that you did these all yourself. Seeing the progression and your thinking behind it is so interesting! I wish I could design myself, but that's not in the cards yet. I agree with you about keeping it simple and clean. Can't wait to see what you come up with!!!

  7. I like a tidy sidebar- too many small buttons or ads and I feel like sweeping for the blogger. Oh, and I hate when a blog doesn't have a search button (and oops... just saw you don't- oh, well, I like you anyway!), because sometimes I'm trying to find an old post and that's the easiest way. Pictures being wonky (going over the sidebar line) and swirly fonts for post text are two of my other pet peeves. I like a clean background, colored/white/whatever, just not a busy pattern that conflicts with pictures and posts... I'm trying to think on all of this for my own blog, so I think I'll spy back on your comments, too!
    P.S. your cheese (the first header) is at least cute cheese... :)

  8. All of your headers are beautiful! I admit that "two love birds sitting in a tree" is corny (especially because I don't think of you and Steve as corny people), but the actual design is still beautiful!

  9. I feel the same as you about old blog designs. :)

    Clean and simple is definitely the way to go. Original as well. I've noticed a lot of blogs have a very similar feel and it's nice when I come across one that is out of the ordinary.

  10. Soo... I'm just like you in the fact that I don't put near as much work into my blog as I do into the ones that I design for others.
    I don't think you've had a bad design! I like all of them!!

  11. I did a post like this not too long ago...

    I agree, our styles and blogs change and our choices have obviously proved that. After getting previous ones done, I actually enjoy doing my own now.

  12. I love seeing the evolution of designs like this, it's very cool. Look at how far your design has come! Your original one cracks me up. I love the simplicity of your current design. The colors are really soothing. I can't wait to see what you come up with next!

  13. I've been MIA recently, but just read this post and loved seeing the evolution of your design! I have projects that have taken 5 or 6 or 10 revisions and I love seeing how they evolve and change. There is nothing wrong with changing it up! I will be changing my design sometime this week actually, and maybe I'll do a design post too. Thanks to you & Kristen for the idea!

  14. Love your designs, especially the ones with the birds! So cute!

  15. I loved this post! I just think it's so fun to see how blogs change over time, and how you can usually see themes that stick.


Thanks for dropping by Hope Squared. If you like the things I have to say - I would love to read what you have to say.