Stand out and be remembered. This is the 3rd article in our attempt to answer the question of What Makes a Good Design?. We’ve already covered site goals and user goals, but those only take effect when the use is actually on your site. What about when they’re elsewhere? Or even offline?

A purpose-built, usable blog is great, but if it isn’t strikingly designed, it will be forgotten! If a visitor reads your iPod article today, what is it that will make them think of you the next time they’re looking for iPod info?

Be different. Be unique. Be memorable. And here’s how:

The 7 Point Plan To Being Remembered

White background? Arial font? Photoshop-ed text as a header? We’ve seen these traits a million times before. They aren’t going to set you apart. You need something more.

  • Logos and header images. By definition your logo is unique. It has to be. A well designed logo is memorable already, and if used often enough, in enough locations, it will become a part of your blog itself. In the same way, a distinctive header image will work wonders for your design, even if it isn’t quite so versatile.
  • Interactivity. Whilst Ajax and such have taken off in web-apps and other web sites, blogs tend to remain a rather static affair. Whilst installing a common plugin won’t distinguish you, the controlled use of some JavaScript to add interaction to your design might. Dynamic search bar text and expanding categories are just two possible uses. What else can you think of?
  • Images in posts. Images in posts may encourage reading, but they also act as a part of your design. If your style of photography is consistent, or the location in which you place the images is consistent, then the images have become part of the design.
  • Color. What colors do you think of when I say McDonalds? Technorati? Microsoft? Color can be as distinctly memorable as any other aspect of your design. Mix up a good color combination, and it may well become the main part of your design. Plain white just won’t cut it in this case.
  • Personal photograph. It doesn’t get much more unique than how you look. Photos are essential for personal branding, and on a one-man blog they will work just as well for your blog’s branding. If I asked you to list a few blogger names off the top of your head, how many of them can you associate clearly with photographs?
  • Cyclic displays. Show off a random quote each day? Or a your favorite song at the moment? Something that is unique to you. Eric Meyer has a little box on his blog called “Excuse of the Day.” I never quite get them, but I sure do remember them when I think of his blog!
  • Character designs. A popular trend lately has been to add cartoon-style figures to a web site. These remarkably friendly faces are always memorable, and even better, they can be drawn in whatever pose is necessary to suit the theme of the site. When I mention FreeLanceSwitch, I know you’re thinking about the little desk and computer in the banner!

Of course, if they remember you for your rubbish content, then all the design in the world won’t help! Assuming otherwise though, distinct design will brand your blog onto their memories, earning you many more return visitors.

What makes you remember a certain blog? Anything in particular that tends to strike out at you?

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