There are no blog designs that doesn"t have any effect on its blog, its message, and its goals. A blog design is either helping you move forward with your blog or it is not only hindering you from moving forward, but actually pushing you backwards. There exists no stand still between the two, because a blog"s design acts as the frame that a reader uses to decide on what the message you are trying to say actually means.
So what is the purpose of a blog design? The purpose of a blog design is to support your goals, communicate your message, and make your branding memorable.
How does a blog design have so much purpose? It has a lot to do with the ability of a blog design to evoke emotions, which in turn wakes up the thoughts and beliefs that are tied to it within our mind. These emotions, thoughts, and beliefs are all interconnected in our mind from previous experiences where we learned to connect them together. In psychology, they call this a schema. An example of an everyday schema is when people are driving and they see a police officer, the first thing everyone does is slow down, because the police officer brings up thoughts, emotions, and experiences that relate to getting a ticket. Schemas are very powerful and there is a way to prime a certain schema, by presenting a person with the correct stimulus.
Another reason blog designs have such a powerful effect is explained well by Barry Schwartz in his book ‘The Paradox of Choice".
“Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman and his colleagues have shown that what we remember about the pleasurable quality of our past experience is almost entirely determined by two things: how the experiences felt when they were at their peak (best or worst), and how they felt when they ended. This “peak-end" rule of Kahneman"s is what we use to summarize the experience, and then we rely on that summary later to remind ourselves of how the experience felt." (1)
The ‘peak-end" rule has a few important implications to blog designs. The main one is that it can help to create a pleasurable experience that is memorable, which helps your branding a lot and makes your message last longer in your reader"s mind. The other one is that it can also have the same effect in the reverse direction, and make displeasing blog designs more memorable as well, which will hurt your message and reputation. It is a double-sword effect, but if you learn to wield it, it will be an important arsenal in your collection of weapons.