This blog is mainly for me. And my mom.
Still, I want it to be something I can be proud of, something that I can get excited about, something that I want to share with my friends and family and even maybe with strangers.
The first thing I notice about any blog is the design, especially the banner on the top. But the blog I had designed myself was not that visually appealing. I don’t know anything about graphic design, and I don’t know anyone who does, so I felt stuck.
I decided to make the investment and pay someone to make my blog look pretty. I wanted a custom design to capture what I want this blog to be about. Something that would inspire me to keep exploring and creating new content, that would also capture people’s attention and make them want to stick around.
I went to my favorite website for custom things like this – Etsy – and I searched for wordpress designs. I found a ton of designers wanting anywhere from $300-$1,000, and I wasn’t that into their designs. There was no way I was going to pay that much for a new design, mainly because this is just a hobby of mine right now and I couldn’t justify spending that much money. But I kept searching until I found a designer named Tautvydas with a shop named Graphic Cookies.
I was pretty much sold based on his awesome shop name, but then I fell in love with all of his designs. He has such a unique style. All of his designs are crisp, clean, and professional, but they also have a lot of personality to them — exactly what I wanted.
He created a quote for me based on what I wanted in my custom wordpress design. It hardly came close to what other designers were asking, and I liked his designs so much better than anyone else’s.
Then he sent me a questionnaire so he could get a feel for what I had in mind. From my answers, he completely understood what I wanted before I even did.
He started by creating a logo for me, putting the title of my blog into what looks like a cancelled postage stamp. I was in love. From there, we talked about turning that into a banner. That was the most important part for me. We talked about making the stamps on the right side look like hibiscus flowers (the state flower of Hawaii) and making the date of another stamp Aug 23 (the date Nick and I got married). Little things like that. I really didn’t have to do much because he just got me and what I wanted. He even came up with the color scheme for me. I think that the red and blue is absolutely perfect considering that Nick’s career in the military is the main reason for our “two year honeymoon.”
I don’t know if Tautvydas even realized it, but his design speaks to my past, present, and future with Nick. It captures the long distance of our past, writing letters and sending care packages and flying across the country to see each other. It captures our present, living in Hawaii and using this time together to travel and explore as much as we can. And I hope that it will inspire our future, so that we never lose our wanderlust and keep going on adventures together.
Wait, it gets even better. Tautvydas even developed a custom mobile site for me, complete with a scrolling slideshow of some posts and a unique banner that would work better on a mobile phone. But get this — I didn’t even ask him to do this, he just did it for me.
Thank you, Master Chef!