It comes via Michael Barrish via Zeldman so you know it has to be good: Lars Holst’s excellent compendium of nicely designed blogs. There are many beautiful blogs out there and Lars has done us all a huge service in providing a comprehensive gallery of blogs that are setting new design standards for the Web.
But I would argue that it’s still text content that is driving the real beauty of blogs and not design — at least not quite yet. I know that this, coming from a design guy, a person that crunches images for a decent living, seems somehow wrong, funny, defeatist. But if you look at some of the most interesting, relevant weblogs out there, they’re not all that well-designed.
Here are a few (and please, no offense to those who own and publish them):
- Anil Dash’s ugly but often prescient blog
- Seth Godin’s timely and useful commentary
- Doc Searls crappily designed but superbly researched notations
- Paul Ford’s fugly but influential Ftrain
- Heath Row’s template-driven, well-written weblog
- Glish’s relevant but sad looking commentary
Would good design make any of these more valuable Web properties? Yes, I believe it would. Interface and interfacing makes a difference, particularly in the way one initially approaches a website. On the Web, first impressions are not everything but they do come close.
But a blog is about second impressions, and then third, fourth, and fifth. In fact, it’s the impressionistic quality of blogs that makes them alternately satisfying, off-putting, and provocative. And those impressions are indeed driven, with occasional exception, by text content alone.