Blog Design: 'Please, Ma'am, take something off...'

Illustration by ONEQ pinups.
{Read in Italian...}

When I was a kid, I used to love to read my mother's old books. I remember these three huge tomes from the Fifties, called 'L'enciclopedia della fanciulla' (how should I translate it into English? I suppose...  'Youngladypedia'? :D).
I'd like to tell you a story that was written on one of these books. I hope to remember it correctly, since I read it 20 years ago!

Mary was a Hollywood actress. She was beautiful and talented, but her fame was tied mostly to her love for  excess. For this reason, critiques didn't spare her from negative judgements and she was often pointed out as the worst dressed celebrity.
On the occasion of an important premiére, Mary decided to hire a fashion advisor, who had already cured the image of some of the most glamorous stars.
Before the premiére started, the advisor came to Mary and, with a smile, handed her three sealed envelopes. “Open them, one at a time, when you finish to prepare yourself. You'll be gorgeous”. Then he walked away, leaving Mary quite confused.
When Mary was ready in her dressing room, she decided to follow the man's advice. She opened the first envelope. Inside, there was a message: “Please, Ma'am, take something off”. It took her quite a while to understand, then she removed her gold, diamond-studded bracer.

She decided to open the second envelope: “Please, Ma'am, try to take off one more thing”. This time Mary took off the biggest of her pearl necklaces.
Then she opened the third envelope: “I'm so sorry Ma'am, but I have to ask you to take off one last thing”. Mary was confused: it took her so long to prepare herself and now, blindly, she was being asked to undo her work. In the end, she removed a velvet rose from her hair.
That night, both critique and press talked profusely about how beautiful and glamorous the actress Mary was and from that moment her style became worldwide iconic.

Why did I want to tell you this story?
When I started my web design class, one of the first thing our teacher tried to explain us us was that most of the newbie graphics tend to live a sort of Baroque period, where they think “the more, the better”: more colors, more fonts, more elements, more stuff that moves around... After all, the more we add, the more we are capable, right?
As for design, as well as for fashion, makeup, cooking and more, elegance comes from a good synthesis, an accurate choice of elements that work well with each other.
There are lots of technical reasons, in addition to merely aesthetic ones, why a minimal site/blog works better than a “Baroque” one: for the moment I'm going to stop here, but I'd like to write more specific posts on this topic, hoping that they can interest you and be somehow useful!

When I design something, I try to keep in mind the moral of this story and I belive that having it read when I was a kid, when you need practical examples to understand a concept, helped me a lot to grasp the meaning of what my web design teacher was trying to tell us.
So, the next time you give your blog a restyle, imagine to open those three envelopes and decide accordingly if you really need that flower rain from the top of your browser, that bulky visitors counter widget or that sparkling mouse pointer ;)

Have a nice weekend! Hopefully, on Monday I'll be ready to show you my first web commission.

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