Once you are established and determine blogging is for you then I suggest a custom design. We outgrew our original design quickly. We wanted a professional design that matched our personalities. Since we had limited HTML knowledge we opted to hire a designer. Not only did she create a custom design for us she migrated us from blogger to word press. As you know I suggest migrating to Word Press/Self Host if you are not.
My best advice to you is to research your designer and get a referral before you hire one. Find out how if she/he has a waiting list, how long it will take from design to install and all costs involved. I found our designer through Mom Bloggers Club and I would highly recommend her.
We used JudithShakesDesigns.com. The designer that you chose should depend on the budget that you have. We wanted a custom design and did not want to use graphics from istock. Our designer is also available for upgrades or changes if we need her which is important.
I think it is important to keep your design clean and easy for your readers to find what you have to offer them. It is always a work in progress as you will continue to make changes in your blog however be sure that when you make changes that your readers can always find the content that you are providing them.
Your design is a personal choice and once you are established you have to keep in mind is that your readers are comfortable with it. If you decide to make a drastic change make sure it is one that will benefit your readers.
Please take a moment to link up your blog and tell us your designer if you have one that you love! Or if you are a designer please feel free to link up too!Yum