This week I’ve been tasked with reviewing the website of a classmate, Olivia. Olivia’s blog is named Spilling the Royaltea and focuses on hot topics involving the British royal family, whether positive or negative, mundane or sensational.
Her blog posts are separated into three main categories: hot takes, ranked, and news. Hot takes refers to drama involving various members of the family, ranked pits endearing moments and fashion choices against one another, and news involves reporting the latest updates relating to the royal family.
From a marketability standpoint, Olivia’s blog seems to cater towards a unique audience. Since Olivia stays impartial in her overall opinion on the royal family, she can create content pertaining to both fans and critics alike. This offers her more flexibility when creating blog posts, which she takes advantage of.
This can also give rise to pushback from either community, as Bryce Renninger (2015) points out in his writing on counterpublics. Renninger states that “…counterpublic communication online is often tenuous, at risk of being disrupted, ridiculed, dismissed, or ignored…”; fortunately, Olivia doesn’t seem to have this problem.
Despite my negative stance towards the royal family, I still found myself fascinated by Olivia’s analysis of fashion, controversy, and press releases that I would not have otherwise seeked out. I’m glad to have been paired up with this website, as I don’t often think about the royal family and was surprised at what kind of news was prevalent in the community.
Each of Olivia’s mini assignments fit perfectly within her blog subject, and range from the playful teasing of Prince Harry’s memoir to a thoughtful critique of wealth disparity in the UK. I enjoy the headings found in each post, as they help break up longer pieces of writing with proper context and make it easier to skim posts if needed. Overall, Olivia’s content is deliberate and appropriately matched to the website’s design, which I will cover next.
Olivia immediately showcases the subject of her blog through a well-organized collage of photos placed front and centre on the website’s homepage. Together with the site’s name, Spilling the Royaltea’s subject matter is easily discernable to most people on a first visit.
If I was creating this blog from scratch, I would probably take inspiration from magazines articles, which Travis Gertz (2015) points to as a prime example of more visually interesting design. Gertz posits this in his article Design Machines, with the question “how do magazines achieve rich reactions and connections, and how do we translate those approaches to the screen?”
News about the royal family has usually been relegated to these methods of communication, and I admit that I have a certain nostalgia for these publications as well. However, despite Gertz’s caution towards pre-built and uniform blog themes, I believe that Theme Fourteen Blog is very fitting for Olivia’s content.
The minimalistic and clean layout pairs well with the aesthetics of the royal family, and the typography lends itself well to both serious and more playful topics. Olivia uses Josefin Sans for titles, Lora for accents, and the popular Open Sans for paragraphs.
Oliva’s blog is a delightful read, with blog posts that a wide variety of people can enjoy. I especially like her posts ranking different fashion styles, as that is another interest of mine. Spilling the Royaltea has certainly grown on me as I’ve explored the website, and I’ll definitely be returning to see what Olivia posts next!
Gertz, T. (2015, July 10). Design Machines: How to survive the digital apocalypse. Louder Than Ten. https://louderthanten.com/coax/design-machines
Renninger, B. J. (2015). “Where I can be myself…where I can speak my mind”: Networked counterpublics in a polymedia environment. New Media & Society, 17(9), 1513–1529. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444814530095