A very important element of a good blog is the aesthetics. Maybe it’s because of my architectural sensibilities, that I look at design in everything, even when it need not be an issue. The look and feel of the blog are very important to me as is of course the content. This issue recently was discussed on a blog post at PRM. The design and creativity within a blog are limited to some extent.
You either have one or two or three columns. Posts have headings and the sidebars have everything from category links and archive links to ratings, rankings and ad links. A lot of this of course depends on the platform one uses to blog. Movable Type and WordPress give full flexibility. Typepad has some slight limitations, and Blogger has many. Infact what puts me off about many a blogs is the replication of templates. I can pardon someone who uses a default blogger template, because the platform does not allow a lot of choices. But to have a default template in any other blog is a complete no no in my opinion.
This leaves one area that is open to unlimited creativity. The banner. In this area there is complete freedom to do what you want. Blog banners show the personality of the blog and in many ways of the blogger themselves.
In this area, Sepia Mutiny beats everyone hands down. Having about 50 very topical ad banners in rotation gives a freshness everytime I visit the blog. They even allow people to submit banners and have a policy and a full catalog for it. Another site whose banner I really enjoy are those by Vulturo at Pyschotic Ramblings of a Mad Man. His sense of balance in framing the shot and the composition are great, and I wish he would have many more banners than the 5 or so he repeats. Also Firefox does not refresh his banners automatically, so I have to F5 everytime.
DesiPundit in recent times has gone through a complete new look and now their banner looks really nice and speaks a lot about the personality of the blog.
Another interesting blog banner is at Global Voices Online. I like the use of pictorials and technology to create an ever changing banner.
Within the limitations that the platform allows, Sonia Faleiro at Colour of Water has a great layout, albeit not so much of a banner. Another interesting side bar is on Amit Varma’s site at India Uncut.
Personally I try to change my blog banner every two weeks or so, and soon I will try to implement a script that will rotate it aka Sepia Mutiny style.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the most interesting banners. The ones I have listed are just a few that come to mind as I type this post. If you come across interesting banners, on either other blogs or your own, please leave a link in the comments section.
Meanwhile here are the last seven banners on my site, not in any order.
So, take some time, to change your banner today. If you need help in it, leave a note in the comments and I or another commenter will surely help out.
Happy banner-ing !!