Why do some people get recognized as great designers? They’re doing the same gradients, the same tabs, the same outer glows, and designing the same layouts as everyone else. The thing great designers do is focus on the details. They take a basic element, such as a comment box, and make it unique, they make it fit into their design.
A lot of blogs have a pretty standard comment form. A lot of blogs with great designs have a great looking comment form. Part of having a custom template should include customizing everything – even the forms.
In this screenshot you see the comment form from 9rules.com. Mike Rundle did a great job making the comment form fit into the site, added a great looking submit button, and helped make the comment form stand out and add a little extra detail to the site.
Can you tell which site this comment form is from? Probably not. It’s from the default WordPress theme. It’s boring, it would work on any site but it certainly wouldn’t stand out and definitely doesn’t show any attention to detail.
Obviously comment forms aren’t the most exciting thing on a website, but great designers know that the details matter. Just because it isn’t the first thing a visitor sees doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be impressive. Custom themes should be one of a kind, they should stand out. Everything should be custom, not just the background image and the logo.
This is part one of a series of articles about the details of design. I’ll be pulling different elements from different sites to demonstrate well executed designs that really focused on combining all the elements of a blog to make something beautiful.