There are so many ways to blog these days that make it so easy for anyone to jump in with both feet and begin expressing themselves in ways that would have been impossible even a few years ago. Options that range from micro-blogging 140 characters at a time on Twitter, to Tumblr (provide an email address and a name, and you are a blogger!) to full-blown self-hosted WordPress sites. Even the last option is not too difficult to set up if you choose a good host and can follow some fairly simple directions. When it comes to blogging, I am in the ‘more, the merrier” camp, and I am glad that there are so many right out-of-the-box options to give people a platform for sharing their views, opinions, knowledge, and their lives.
Then there are those who are never satisfied with how things looks when removed from the box, and just have to put their personal stamp on things. Just like with blogging in general, there are people who probably should not be attempting to do their own thing, but you have to take the good with the bad. As we do with our wine reviews here on AWB, we will only be looking at the good and leave the bad for others to find.
First up is Thirsty Girls. I found myself clicking refresh over and over just to watch their clever and tasteful use of Flash to draw their very elegant logo. The site keeps the elegance going with a lively mix of color flourishes and white space. Navigation is easy, and the layout is well thought out from top to bottom. For anyone looking for an example of great design in a wine site, you need look for further than Thirsty Girls.
The Pink Peppercorn
Gail, over at The Pink Peppercorn, shows how to use one of the free hosted blog sites to create a thing of beauty. Her site utilizes a minimalist layout with muted colors and loads of white space to great effect as she shows off her excellent food photography and recipes. By letting the photos star on her pages she exemplifies the ‘less-is-more’ idea of design.
Goosecross Napa Valley
One of my favorite schools of Web design is Grunge, and Goosecross Napa Valley makes very good use of this style on their blog. This style takes guts to use with food and wine, but it works very well to help them stand out in an industry that is typified by cleaner styles.
Vintuba is a terrific example of a Web 2.0 magazine style blog. The look is nice and clean with the colors and drop shadows associated with the style of design, while escaping the cliches that are making so many 2.0 sites start to look dated.
Wine Life 365
One of the hottest trends in Web design is the use of full page background images. One Life 365 takes advantage of this trend to make it appear that their site lays over the top of a well-stocked wine rack. The use of bright colors ties everything together with their clever header.
Great use of color and space give Catavino a clean professional look while making it very easy to read all of great things they have to offer.
Simple, elegant, and so very easy on the eyes. 101 Cookbooks uses white space and well-thought out typography to make sure that their subject is the star of their site.
As the title would suggest, Wine Blog is a no-frills highly focused blog and the design matches it perfectly. Very complimentary color palate.
Aapplemint uses a strong, dark, bold design to highlight their subject matter. They do it so well that you’ll swear you have gained 5 pounds just by visiting.
This is a bold and beautiful take on the classic blog template. Sour Grapes uses color to stand that classic on its head.
Drink With The Wench
Last, but certainly not least, we deviate slightly from wine and food to Drink With The Wench. Wenchie has captured both her subject matter and personality perfectly with her bubbly background and crisp clean layout. Mmm, beer!
There you have it. While just scratching the tip of the iceberg, these beautiful sites demonstrate just how creative some food and wine (and one beer) bloggers are. There are a lot of great food and wine blog designs out there, one need only needs to take a serious look for them. They are everywhere when a qualified/trained eye looks for them. If you are a blogger, I hope we’ve inspired you to shoot for the sky like some of these site do. At the very least, I hope that this post helps illustrate what good design is.