So you’ve been doing web design for quite a while. How would you like to take your competence in this craft a notch higher? In this post, we’re dishing out eight tips on how to improve your web design skills.
1. Master the design elements and how to apply them.
Once you got the basics down—colour theory, typography, white space, to name a few—you just need to master them.
For instance, using only three colours at a 60:30:10 ratio (as fashion and web designers do) will help you arrive at a perfectly harmonious blend of colours. Your main colour of choice should make up 60% of your overall design. 30% should be a contrasting colour and the last 10% should be an accent colour that complements either the primary (60%) or contrasting colour (30%).
Read more: How are Colours Used in Web Design?
The number of typefaces should also be kept at a minimum—two to three would be ideal—so as not to confuse your audience. How you present your text should always be a major consideration. While the text contains the message you want to convey, typography is the medium by which you get that message across. Having a solid grasp on typography also helps you establish information hierarchy in your design by using different typefaces, font styles and sizes to signal what information your viewers should focus on.
A website can have a lot of great features, but equally important in web design is white or negative space as it allows your layout to breathe and create breaks between images or blocks of text. White space also makes your design look clean and professional, lending to better readability and navigation of your website.
Colour, typography and white space are only a few design elements, but the examples above illustrate how mastery and strategic application of each one can make a world of difference to your web design.
Read more: Qualities of Good Web Design
2. Find your inspiration.
Make it a habit to be observant of your environment and draw inspiration from the world around you. Appreciate all forms of art, but don’t stop there. Analyse why you admire them and learn the techniques used to create them so you can incorporate that knowledge in your design.
3. Put pen to paper.
Once you’ve found the inspiration to get your creative juices flowing, don’t dive right into the digital drawing board just yet. Instead, develop the habit of putting your ideas on paper (or a whiteboard) so you can further ideate. Planning, conceptualising and making sketches outside the digital space can give your work direction and allow for a more unrestricted flow of ideas.
4. Know the trends.
Stay abreast of the latest trends and allow these to influence your creativity. This includes being aware of people’s online behaviour, how they consume information and what gadgets they use. These days, the majority of the population browse the internet on their mobile phones, so make sure that your web design is responsive or compatible with all types of devices.
Another thing to consider is usability and user experience (UX). Apart from creating a responsive web design, you have to know what appeals to your viewers and what encourages them to engage with your business. Find out what designs guarantee ease of use and hassle-free navigation so your audience will have a great UX.
5. Practice makes perfect.
Being an expert at something doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to become better at web design, you have to keep on doing it. Create your own website where you can experiment or, if you feel confident enough, volunteer to create a website for a family or friend.
6. Welcome feedback.
If you do create a website for someone, ask for feedback to know how you can further improve your web design skills. Alternatively, you can join online design forums or social media groups where you can exchange critiques and other useful tips on web design.
7. Invest in appropriate tools and technology.
Any web designer should have the basic tools and computer programs for designing and creating web-based layouts including a fully functional computer, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. If you want to step up your game, you might want to consider investing in equipment like a drawing tablet or a DSLR camera. Gadgets and technology are ever-evolving so upgrading the programs and paraphernalia you work with goes a long way.
8. Learn the language.
The programming language, that is. Yes, knowing HTML and CSS is not a requirement for web design, but if you want to improve your competence in this craft, learning an interdependent skill like coding will surely pay off in the end. Being familiar with HTML and CSS gives you full control of your web design so you don’t always have to rely on a programmer or a computer program for website building.
Read more: Can I Be a Web Designer and Developer?
Mastering Web Design
As with any skill or professional endeavour, mastering web design requires determination, discipline and dedication. All the tips we shared in this post will be difficult to follow without these three, so make sure you master these values first before anything else!