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Good Design References
csuguy




msg:3735392
 11:34 am on Aug 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi again,

I seem to be be stuck in a rut design wise. I've found that -other than a few exceptions like my own website- I tend to build very similar looking websites. I'm looking to get some fresh ideas. I'm getting myself (most likely) a Cannon EOS 20D camera - so having good images to mess with will help a lot. But, apart from that, I was wondering if anyone had any good web design books. I'm not looking for a programming book, just a book on designs. It could be all pictures as far as I'm concerned.

Ryan

 

StoutFiles




msg:3735466
 3:49 pm on Aug 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

You could just search through templates online and pull some ideas from them.

rocknbil




msg:3735483
 4:30 pm on Aug 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

Early in my design career I was accused of "copying" designs by looking at what others were doing and emulating some of the ideas I saw. For example, I would see a particular rollover effect, or like the way certain colors worked together in a particular fashion and incorporate these into a design.

Setting aside my bruised ego, I realized the person saying this didn't understand eclecticism. [dictionary.reference.com] Eclecticism is studying and learning from your peers, and recognizing the trends and styles that shape contemporary designs. It crosses all artistic fields: fine art, architecture, even music. You learn from history and your peers, and come up with something new.

If you rip a design, it's copying. If you incorporate concepts of a design into your own, it's eclecticism. It keeps your designs constantly evolving and contemporary, rather than looking dated and all the same.

Because the Internet is evolving daily, and book on design you might get is likely to already be outdated. The best study you can do to keep your designs contemporary is as said in the second post, see what's out there, see what everyone is doing and figure out why. This is the best way to break out of your design mold.

csuguy




msg:3735486
 4:40 pm on Aug 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have been doing that. The only problem is that most of the stuff out there is... well... not well designed IMHO. We actually had a task in my Web Design class where we had to find like 5 well designed websites according to his standards(which weren't strict either)... one of the hardest tasks ever.

vincevincevince




msg:3735490
 4:47 pm on Aug 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

When it comes to design I'm afraid I feel that it's something innate, and it is rarely compatible with innate programming ability. Or to put it another way; there are two types of person in this world - potential programmers, and potential designers.

Sure, anyone can crib someone else's design but at the end of the day that's only going to get you part way. If you've not got natural design ability then I really suggest you partner with or employ someone who has.

csuguy




msg:3735585
 8:14 pm on Aug 31, 2008 (gmt 0)


When it comes to design I'm afraid I feel that it's something innate, and it is rarely compatible with innate programming ability. Or to put it another way; there are two types of person in this world - potential programmers, and potential designers.

Sure, anyone can crib someone else's design but at the end of the day that's only going to get you part way. If you've not got natural design ability then I really suggest you partner with or employ someone who has.

I agree, to an extent. There are definately potential programmers and potential designers (and I definately fall into the programmer category) - and a programmer is never going to understand design like the designer, and visa-versa. But that doesn't mean one can't, to a point, expand past their natural talents and learn those abilities of others. It's hard to do, and it's pretty much impossible to beat someone in their own natural area of talent when you don't share that talent, but I do believe that you can make yourself more than adequate in any area if you put in the effort. The problem is that most of the time the desire isn't there (or not enough at any rate) to put in the effort for an area for which you don't posses natural talent.

Now, ideally in business you want everyone to have their own little specialties that they do super well - and you partner together to cover eachothers weaknesses, and thus offer the whole package. But I also believe that the most valuable employee is the one who not only has their area of expertise - but goes beyond into the other areas and becomes at least adequate in them. This helps when communicating with people of other areas of expertise and allows you to step in when they are not available. Also - I like design :D

buckworks




msg:3735592
 8:54 pm on Aug 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

5 well designed websites according to his standards

Care to share what those standards were?

csuguy




msg:3735608
 9:31 pm on Aug 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

Oh its been like a year I don't remember them exactly. It was just the basic stuff: loads quickly, easy to use navigation, easy to read, consistent design, etc. It's so simple and yet so hard to find.

buckworks




msg:3735614
 9:56 pm on Aug 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

Except for loading speed, it sounds as though his criteria were limited to visual aspects.

csuguy




msg:3735824
 8:04 am on Sep 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

It was visual, but it was more specifically about accessibility. If you can't use the navigation, or if you can't read the content - then its about accessibility. Loading speed is also an accessibility factor - as people leave if it doesn't load fairly quickly (I think 10 secs is what he was saying).

Again, I don't remember all of the specifics.

csuguy




msg:3737019
 4:15 am on Sep 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Woot! I just did a black themed design for my frat. It's awesome! Take that creativity block!

limbo




msg:3737125
 7:50 am on Sep 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

For inspiration I usually read, either print or web based. I have dozens of graphic design books, magazines and a huge array of links.

An good understanding of design theory can really help get things moving on all design projects too.

Do you feel you have the right typographic and layout sills yet? If not I can reccomend some books that help in that arena.

csuguy




msg:3737174
 9:36 am on Sep 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I believe I have layout skills... but I don't have any formal training in the area. Same for Typography. I'm sure I can learn lots still. All of my books are centered around programming - not design. So if you have any good books please recommend 'em and I'll get 'em as I can.

Thank you,
Ryan

csuguy




msg:3740339
 9:46 am on Sep 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

limbo?

ebby




msg:3741434
 7:48 pm on Sep 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

best web gallery is a weekly inspiration for me. Hardly ever do the designs fit into what I do on a daily basis at work but just seeing well done sites spurs creativity for me. Cheers.

limbo




msg:3741864
 10:11 am on Sep 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sorry CSUguy

been reeeeeeally busy.

These are top notch reads:

Making and breaking the Grid. Timothy Samara. Easy to read, lot's of good examples
Grid systems in graphic design. Joseph Muller Brockmann. - The bible as far as grid are concerned - not for the easily distracted
Thinking with type a critical guide. Ellen Lupton. Great examples, good overview
Type and Typography. Phil Baines & Andrew Haslam. More depth than above, excellent read.

And this book is never far from my desk:

A Smile in the Mind. Beryl McAlhone & David Stuart. A fantastic insight into wit and design

pixelkat




msg:3761824
 5:57 am on Oct 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Greetings, All--

I've been away from this forum for quite some time, but would love to share my sources of boundless inspiration for design ideas, especially in the area of web design.

First off, I stopped buying design books for web several years ago. Unlike coding techniques, web design trends morph at warp speed so books only seem to have a shelf life of 6 months or so.

Instead I cruise and screen capture gazillions of page views from an assortment of showcase sites. The be-all/end-all online design portal is Smashing Magazine. One feature might be: 40 Best Menu Designs, 25 Grunge-style site designs, Best Blog sites, Best page footers, top 25 script fonts, best illustrative web style...the showcase features are endless. All with links to other sites with even more inspiration.

Even if you are not a front-end coder or know anything about CSS, there are several CSS showcase sites that ARE about the code, but are more about great all-around web design. Some of my favorites are: CSS Mania, CSS Globe, CSS Glance, CSS Zen Garden, CSS Impress, NetDiver, Styleboost...

Hours, days, months of endless viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

Kat

tangor




msg:3761858
 7:38 am on Oct 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

One either has the gift of visual or not. Programming code knowledge MIGHT be a help, but usually does not. Where one is GOOD at coding but not quite as good at visual, GET AN ARTIST ON BOARD...even if the final design is later modified for code.

Face it, kiddies, some of us are really good at one thing and maybe not good at another... in which case, GET SOMEBODY BETTER to help out in that regard.

There is a thing called "talent". You either have it or you don't. Always play to strengths. Get help where needed. March on from there.

I am the smartest guy in the world. I learned a long time ago I don't know diddly about everything and guess what... made some biz relationships that worked out great for everyone involved.

But when it comes to "art" you either "is" or you "aren't" and no books will teach it to you.

Period.

dukelips




msg:3762653
 5:51 am on Oct 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

IMHO everything on the web can learnt , timeperiod may vary dependent on the skil(talent) of the person

jessejump




msg:3763919
 2:57 am on Oct 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>>>>> I have been doing that. The only problem is that most of the stuff out there is... well... not well designed IMHO.

I think there is a lot of beautifully-designed sites out there. Look for some award type sites, etc.

As for loading time, slow sites are probably graphic-heavy - or they're not optimizing their images.

If you see a design you love, but has a slow loading problem, that can easily be fixed. If it's "not so accesible", then that can also be easily fixed. Web site ideas with those problems don't have to be discarded.

Please STOP saying to yourself and others, "I'm a programmer, therefore I can't design."

You're labeling and limiting yourself.
It's an excuse to not learn or apply yourself.
Stop.
People say this all the time in a Photography site I visit.

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