Customizing Forever: Prada for Breakfast

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 side by side

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:

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 2.41.46 PM

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.)

Bold tagline

One of Forever’s distinct features is the way it features the blog’s tagline separately from the title, almost like a call-out:

Forever Quote

Prada for Breakfast takes advantage of this feature, using it to highlight a favorite quote:

Prada 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).

WidgetsCustomized widgets

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.

(For more inspiration, check out the Branding Your Blog or Custom Backgrounds posts over on The Daily Post for help developing and implementing a cohesive look for your blog.)


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Michelle W.

22 Comments

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  1. Lauren

    Super cool, I use Forever, too, but mine isn’t as customized, will have to look more into this!

    Like

  2. Sara

    Love what Halie did with her site! So nicely done. Thanks for showing us how easy it is to make the changes to our sites. Post more posts like this for inspiration!

    Like

  3. lpaigewrites

    Gorgeous designs. I try to be this creative with my own blog but I think widgets are my downfall. I just can’t figure out how to make them meld so beautifully together like that. Great post!

    Like

  4. HipsterApproved.net

    Wow…this is a very cool theme. Very Hipster-ish!

    I’ll have to definitely keep this in mind when it’s time to give HipsterApproved a re-design.

    So this is not a premium theme?

    Like

  5. work2ride

    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?

    Like

    • michelle w.

      work2ride, you might want to look at the link in the post — lots of recommendations for patterns and textures that make great backgrounds.

      Like

  6. ktayd13

    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.

    Like

  7. Esther Young

    Love the soft art deco design feel of the site. Nicely done.

    Like

  8. happyface313

    Oh, how beautiful! :-)
    I have problems with the widgets, too…it never turns out the way I want to.
    What do I do?

    Like

  9. mpesca3115

    Love this, I need more inspiration! Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  10. thenickster822

    Great, INTERESTING post! I will put a lot of it to good use at GlindaTheGoodBitch here on WordPress. Thank you!

    Like

  11. me Krecen los enanos

    I love it! I am using forever too!!

    Like

  12. LottoSales

    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!

    Like

  13. bloggieeee

    Great to know the cool features of forever!

    Like

  14. work2ride

    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.

    Like

  15. Vivien

    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!

    Like

  16. A Writer Inspired

    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.

    Like

  17. hanifizm

    Love the header, greatly done.

    Like

  18. Ashley Maclachlan

    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. :)

    Like

  19. lkdyogi

    This definitely serves as inspiration! Now I think I should switch back to the Forever theme; looks cleaner too.

    Like

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