When it comes to building a website, two main aspects go into the final product—the development, or technical side, and the design, or creative side. When it comes to things like investing, pre-ICO lists are available to help you know what ventures you want to invest in before the opportunity becomes widely available. When it comes to school, there are resources like tutors who can help with homework answers. And when it comes to web development, things are pretty straightforward and clear as long as you have a working knowledge of the programming languages you’ll be using and a solid layout to work from.
When it comes to web design, though, things aren’t always as straightforward and easy to work out. While certain rules and guidelines are generally followed, web design also has an element of customization and personalization and will vary from client to client, site to site, industry to industry, and so on. Making it even more challenging, the people and companies you design for may not always have a solid idea of the direction they want to go, putting even more creative pressure on you.
If you’re taking on your first web design project and have only been given loose guidelines or have been given total creativity and freedom, here are some of the basics of web design including layout, colors, and fonts that can help you get a more solid idea of the direction you should go:
When it comes to the layout of a website, the best type of layout will vary based on the person you’re designing the website for and the industry that they’re in. For example, a scrolling image banner with a lot of featured image options would be a much better layout for a photographer than it would be for a plumber. Considering the industry and type of client you’re designing the website for is extremely important when it comes to choosing the layout.
While the industry will be a big determining factor in the layout of a website, there are some other general guidelines that you can follow, no matter the industry. For example, white space is an extremely important aspect of web design. If there’s too many images, too much text, and too many buttons all bunched together, it will feel busy and crowded and could potentially cause friction with the site visitors. This means that you’ll want to pay close attention to how you space things and lay things out.
It’s likely that you’re already familiar with some of the meaning and symbolism behind different colors. Red represents passion, excitement, and sometimes danger; yellow represents optimism, happiness, and playfulness; and blue represents communication, calm, and in some cases, depression. If you’re not working off of a specific color palette, then it’s important to carefully consider the colors that you choose to use when doing web design. Not only should they complement each other, but they should be placed in the right areas to draw attention and portray the right subliminal messages.
Graphics and Images
A picture’s worth a thousand words and images and graphics say a lot about a website. They can express emotion without using any words, portray a product, or act in many other ways. When it comes to images and graphics, it’s important that you use only the highest quality possible to avoid grainy images that will come off as unprofessional. You’ll also want to ensure that each image and graphic is applicable and relates to the messaging and text that are on the same page.
Just like colors, fonts have meanings and can portray subliminal messages to those who are looking at them. Serif fonts often portray tradition and respect; san serif fonts portray stability and a modern style; script fonts portray elegance and creativity, and display fonts are often used to portray friendliness and creativity. If you’re choosing the fonts you’ll be using, you’ll want to ensure that you’re sending the right message for the company, its brand and image, and the industry.
In addition to the different feelings and meanings that fonts portray, though, you’re also going to need to think about readability. You don't want to be using an intricate, cursive-like font for small body text.
When it comes to content, unless the website you’re building is your own, you will likely want to have the person you’re designing the website for providing the content that they want on each page. The placement, spacing, and concentration of text is something that you have control over, though, and will want to ensure that you add it carefully. If you do have input into the content, you’ll want to ensure that it’s clear, to the point, and high-quality.
If you’re designing your first website, whether for yourself or a client, you may feel a bit overwhelmed--especially if you haven’t been given a solid direction in which to go and are being given some creative license. As overwhelming as it can be, it can also be a lot of fun. By remembering the basics about colors, images, and fonts and using your hard-earned skills, you’ll be able to create something you're proud of which you can use in your portfolio for years to come.
What is your favorite part of web design?