Create a Style Sheet for Your Website and Blog

Are the colors, font styles, and font sizes consistent on your website or blog? It’s easy to be seduced by a sexy font or a trendy color, but don’t be. As an artist, you should be more concerned about the visual presentation of your art than about any fancy design tricks. The art should always be shown in its best light.
One way to keep the attention on your art is to be consistent with the design elements. You should do a lot of planning so that site visitors don’t think too much about how things look when they visit your site. They’ll just focus on the art!

Let’s start with color.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) coding for building websites uses a six-digit number for every color you choose. For example, #CC0000 is the red in my links on and #C8C1AF is the light gray background on this blog. (Update: these are the old colors of this site.)
You’ll want to choose two or three main colors for your sites, and they shouldn’t be jarring. Instead, they should provide a harmonious backdrop for your art.

You don’t want people to look at your site and applaud your color choices.
You want them to applaud your art! To help with your color selection, check out these tools.

Bob Armstrong, Bees Out of Balance. Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches. ©The Artist
Bob Armstrong, Bees Out of Balance. Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches. ©The Artist

Next, let’s look at your font styles.

There are a limited number of fonts that are universal. You want to stick to these styles in your text. (Text in graphics is another matter.) These include, but may not be limited to, the following.
Sans Serif Font Styles: Arial (not Arial MT), Verdana, Tahoma, Trebuchet
Serif Font Styles: Times New Roman, Georgia
Before you choose a serif font, I urge you to view it on various computers and browsers. I initially wanted to use Georgia on my website until my Web guru sent me a screen capture of what it looks like on her PC. It was pretty handsome on my Mac, but it looked awful on her PC. Sans serif fonts are more reliable across platforms and easier to read on an electronic screen.
In addition to the font family you choose for your site, you also need to think about when and how you’ll use all caps, italics, bold, and indented text.

Finally, consider font sizes.

Decide what font size you’ll use for paragraph text, headings, subheadings, and credit lines that go next to your artwork. Pick your color for each one and . . . Voilà! You have a style sheet.
FINAL WORD: Creating a style sheet to use as a guideline for your website and blog will 1) give your site a more professional look and 2) make it easier on you because you no longer have to spend time worrying about what color or font to use.


The podcast is an audio version of this post.

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9 thoughts on “Create a Style Sheet for Your Website and Blog”

  1. Smart thinking. I just changed my font over to Verdana. Something I’ve been meaning to do for a while… not that it was hard, just taking the time to make it happen takes up space in my head. Feels good to have it done!

  2. Thanks for that Alyson, I hope it helps a lot of people. 🙂 Fortunately CSS stylesheets are making text management much easier! Many of the up-to-date web design programmes will have a built in CSS stylesheets function so anyone can use them. From an old school graphic designer school I’d recommend artists try and keep variations on fonts simple – just bold or a size or two up for headings, maybe subheading in a different colour rather than size/bold change (like a slightly lighter or darker colour than main text). Too many italics can get visually messy, though useful if used sparingly. (like for artwork titles, for example)
    I agree about sans-serif and some interesting typography geek info: serif fonts were originally made (in metal type of course!) with the twiddly bits (the serifs) to help the eye move from one letter to the next for reading. Just like handwriting. However, studies have now been done and show that with increased computer use our vision has actually adapted and the majority of people now find san-serif fonts easier to read. Well, I find it interesting 😉

  3. So important. I have (what I like to think of) as a trained eye, being in the Graphic Design business for many years, and I can tell you that If a blog or website is not “zen” to look at I can’t even focus long enough to read it and I get the uge to close the window or click away, and I know I am not alone.

  4. Excellent topic and post, Alyson! I’ve taken your approach a bit further and have created what I call global standards for details such as fonts, colors and other design elements. I try my best to use these consistently across ALL of my marketing pieces… from my website and blog to letterhead, envelopes and various marketing brochures.

  5. Alyson Stanfield

    Tina: Thanks for your design insights! I have heard that serif is better for paper and sans serif for the computer. Are you saying sans serif for both? I agree that we are saved by CSS style sheets, but many people can change those elements in their blog posts by clicking on the WYSIWIG buttons for font color and size. Just saying Restraint should be practiced.
    Maite: Amen! And I won’t even read a blog that has a black background with lighter writing. Ouch.
    David: You do a great job with everything. Other artists should truly take a closer look at your material. You have convinced me that an artist CAN have a classy logo!

  6. ooh, now I need to go look at David’s site. 🙂
    As for print, not saying sans serif is recommended there but it is increasingly becoming the default choice in print as well. Especially Arial.

  7. One of the advantages of a CSS or WordPress site is that you only have to decide these things once, and then the platform applies them across your website.
    Oh and on the font choice – In print, generally we see a Serif font for headlines and san serif for content.

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