Think you need to be a graphic designer or buy a bunch of upgrades to make a sweet-looking, custom blog? Think again: Prada for Breakfast stands out from the other 214,699 blogs using the Forever theme with creative use of text and simple tweaks that are accessible to any blogger:
Forever was originally designed as a wedding theme, but the bold images, simple layout, and clean typography make it suitable for any kind of blog, including an art and style site like Prada for Breakfast. There’s nothing matrimonial about Halie’s site, and here’s why:
Custom header and background
Forever is one of the many themes that lets you upload a custom header, which is a great way to instantly grab a visitor’s attention and show off your blog’s personality. Some bloggers opt for graphically designed headers (like Mi Piace Kate, previously highlighted in Customizing Bueno), but a custom header can be as simple as a favorite photo or a bit of text. Prada for Breakfast uses some of both:
The photo she’s chosen — of coffee, a croissant, and the morning papers, slightly soft and faded — transports the reader to a Parisian café on a misty day, where you sip a latté while watching the well-heeled stroll by. If the photo doesn’t whisk you off to France, she’s superimposed her title and tagline above, both of which reinforce that you’re reading a style blog.
Halie’s custom header is paired with a custom background of pink and off-white stripes, simultaneously calming and whimsical. Adding a background is as easy as finding a image or pattern you like and hitting “upload.” The internet is your oyster here; take a screen shot of the pattern of a fabric you like or find a photo using Creative Commons, and presto! Background.
She — and you — can also choose any of the background patterns that come already loaded in WordPress.com, which you’ll find in the Customizer. (Check out our other suggested sources for background patterns and textures for more inspiration.)
One of Forever’s distinct features is the way it features the blog’s tagline separately from the title, almost like a call-out:
Prada for Breakfast takes advantage of this feature, using it to highlight a favorite quote:
It doesn’t involve any design or custom fonts. Halie just edited her general settings to set this quote as the tagline, and the theme does the rest. The quote instantly sets a tone for the blog (and looks great, to boot).
Prada for Breakfast makes excellent use of widgets to highlight recent posts, tweets, an extensive blogroll, and more, using small custom touches to help them blend with her blog and add their own personality:
- Widget titles are all customized to reflect her tone: “Hello” instead of “About;” “Reading List” instead of “Links;” “Follow Me!” for social media links.
- Social media links are done with image widgets, but here, the images are just text saved as pictures — something you can do in most word processing programs. There are no custom graphics, no cute-little-blue-bird-on-a-branch, just an elegant font that melds with the rest of the blog.
Nearly everything Halie at Prada for Breakfast does to create her stylish yet dreamy blog is done with simple text edits and basic tools available to everyone on WordPress.com — no technical or design know-how needed. And as an added bonus, this is a reminder not to skip over themes originally created for a specific purpose; you can easily transform a wedding or restaurant theme into your dream site.
Apr 24th at 6:47 pm
We used the Forever theme for our WordPress.org blog, but I am having trouble finding a good auto scroll custom background if anyone has tips?
Apr 24th at 7:42 pm
Forever is definitely my favorite theme. It has so many options. You inspired me to kick my version up a notch. It was looking a little bland and over crowded in the sidebar. I like to use the sticky posts/featured images feature to make my posts page look like a built in home page, but that is just my preference.
Apr 24th at 8:14 pm
Love the soft art deco design feel of the site. Nicely done.
Apr 24th at 8:23 pm
Oh, how beautiful!
I have problems with the widgets, too…it never turns out the way I want to.
What do I do?
Apr 24th at 8:29 pm
Love this, I need more inspiration! Thanks for sharing.
Apr 24th at 9:12 pm
Great, INTERESTING post! I will put a lot of it to good use at GlindaTheGoodBitch here on WordPress. Thank you!
Apr 24th at 9:21 pm
I love it! I am using forever too!!
Apr 25th at 12:45 am
It looks fantastic. I think she has put a lot of us to shame! Time to revisit the blog design… again! Congrats on an elegant and stylish blog Halie – you’ve done a magnificent job!
Apr 25th at 1:48 am
Great to know the cool features of forever!
Apr 25th at 5:41 am
Thanks Michelle, the mysitesmyway site looks like I have some free options. Sorry for the link earlier, was hoping to help show others how GPS and other widgets could be used.
Apr 25th at 10:13 am
I felt inspired after reading this and decided to apply what I’ve learnt. Needless to say, my blog is looking a lot more unique now. Thank you so much for writing this!
Apr 25th at 10:49 pm
I’m so mad! I love this theme, my blog looks fabulous in this theme but I’m not ready to change yet, but of course it didn’t stop me from spending the last hour playing around in the theme. I’m like that person at the store who tries on the outfit and walks around in the store with it on but still doesn’t buy it. I always leave hating myself.
Apr 27th at 4:50 am
Love the header, greatly done.
Apr 29th at 7:50 am
I love this! I’m in the process of moving from Tumblr to WordPress & really struggling to maintain the simplicity of how I displayed my content previously. I’m slowly getting there (I think), just need to keep researching & reading up.
May 7th at 1:10 pm
This definitely serves as inspiration! Now I think I should switch back to the Forever theme; looks cleaner too.