Posts Tagged ‘graphic design’

Web Design is not an oxymoron

In Uncategorized, Web Design on September 17, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Design has always been a vital part of the web. Even with all the knowledge of code in the world, a basic lack of design and layout skill can result in websites which are confusing, ugly, dysfunctional and boring.

There is much more to web design than code and markup. As we stare down the barrel at an uncertain future, web design continues to throw up new challenges. As the browser wars continue and the battle for Flash heats up, HTML5 and CSS3 are being heralded as next phase in web development, web designers are losing sight of the fact that creating websites and is not just about the science, it’s also an art.

Often when people talk about web design, they are really talking about web development. As a result, the design aspect gets pushed aside and tucked away as a subheading under usability. There are hundreds of books and articles on the web written about every aspect of web development, from plain old HTML to server side scripting, Java, PHP and Flash and the rest and much has been said about the code, markup and web development; however very little is said about the design process and even less is said about web design from the designer’s point of view.

Much of this is our own fault. We have long held on to the notion that design should be treated with respect and mystery. So much of what we do is based on our own design sense and subjective aesthetics that it becomes difficult to justify our design decisions to others. As many print-based designers now turn to the web, we are faced with a whole new way of approaching design.

Without a sound knowledge of the technical side of web design, it is impossible to communicate our ideas to others effectively. Learning web markup can be a time-consuming and difficult process but designers shouldn’t be deterred by an often impenetrable wall of geek-speak. After all, Web markup was created with designers in mind.

As designers, we need to discuss and find ways to adapt our unique understanding of layout and design to the web. The same way print designers don’t need to know how to fix a Heidelburg Printing Press to know how printing works, so designers just need to build on existing design skills and knowledge of webcraft in order to create truly beautiful, memorable web designs.


How to create brilliant design with only ten reliable fonts.

In Uncategorized, Web Design on September 10, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Sitting at my desk, I wonder if the world is ready for yet another web design blog. After all, there are hundreds of them out there. As someone just starting out in web design, I wondered if was qualified to be offering web advice to beginners like me.

That’s the point; the web changes so fast, no one can ever be considered qualified. I’ve read articles, pondered Alistapart and Smashing Magazine and I’ve beaten my head against the impenetrable wall that is the W3school and I’ve come to realise, like the Web itself, Web design is a moveable feast.

As a print designer it’s easy to get complacent and bored doing the same thing over and over. Graphic Design has always been a rapidly shifting art form and I was as glad as anyone to see the back of bromides, chromelin proofs and films. In the last ten years the Internet has completely changed the way we look at design.

On the Web nothing stays the same. Essentially the Web is the client from hell. It’s full of confusing, frustrating limitations, endless jargon and mountains of dry, impenetrable code. Worse, it’s got a short attention span, no idea about design and a style manual that makes the Oxford Dictionary look like a travel brochure and to top it off he’s only got ten fonts.

That’s right, ten core websafe fonts including Comic Sans.

So, why am I doing this? Basically, I love design. All design. I love all its many shapes and forms and variations and I love a challenge. I’m the person who stops to admire a shop sign and clips pages out of magazines, and turns the world over searching for the right typeface. I get annoyed when people use the terms like typeface and font interchangeably and want Comic Sans burned at the stake!

As a designer, I think I’ve learned more about design in the last few months, studying web design, than in the last 10 years. So here to design, to the journey and to those ten reliable fonts…

…Or, perhaps that should be nine.