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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    How do you get a sense of design?!

    Hello all, I'm in a bad mood.

    I just speant 3 hours trying to make a design in my newly purchased DW MX 04 suite, and it looks like absolute [rubbish]

    I don't understand how these designers get so [edit] good! It's insane.

    I could've handcoded that crap that MX04 spit out in notepad quicker, and it would've looked better.

    I can handcode XHTML quicker than I can work with the WYSIWYG in DW MX, but my sense of design is on the planet beyond pluto!

    How does one learn how to design somethign that looks decent? I even try looking at PHP.net or even Sitepoint while doing the wysiwyg and it makes it look even worse. [img]images/smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]

    Any ideas?

    Regards,
    Someonewhois


    [Advisor Edit] Inappropriate language removed


    sowi edit: Bah, it was filtered...
    Last edited by someonewhois; Oct 12, 2003 at 12:07.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Member Delta_Boy's Avatar
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    Firstly, a colour scheme is needed. But really, "design" is a whole subject in itself which nobody seems to cover that well on the web. Many site may discuss layout or special effects with graphics but not overall design. What makes
    these designers get so [edit] good!
    is that they are usually from an arts background. They have studied design. However, what you could do is surf and find the designs you like. Every designer knows that his idea is never completely original. All artists draw upon inspirational sources then add their own style or flair to it until it becomes completely original.

  3. #3
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    You want to know how to design well? Iím not sure how good you are, but if you compare yourself with a pro of course youíre not going to be as good. Thatís like saying I bought the soccer ball but I'm not as good as the ones on TV. I recommend you draw a design first, and practice. Get people to criticize your stuff then go with it.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    thanks for the replies. Delta_boy, I realize they study design, but are you saying most of the people here on SP that design so well (which, might I add, some are under 18) have studied design? If so, where would these pupils have learnt it? If not, how did they get so good?

    KungPaoChicken - Good way to put it, thanks.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard Keriam's Avatar
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    Quite honestly, I think that some of "good" design is just an inate ability. Some people can draw well with no training, some people can draw well with training, and some people (like yours truly) have two left thumbs and could not draw to save their life. Site design is the same, some people have that ability to just look at something and see what goes well together and the rest of us have to work at it (hard).

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast Parse_error's Avatar
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    I agree that talent plays a roll but, you can follow design principals without having a designers "eye" and still get respectable results.

    Here is another color scheme site http://www.color-wheel-pro.com/ they even have a downloadable trial version of their product.

    Here is a link that you might pick up some hints about design, layout, graphics etc..
    http://www-3.ibm.com/ibm/easy/eou_ext.nsf/Publish/572

    there are also a lot of books on the subject.
    ~ Theres one in every crowd! ~

  7. #7
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by someonewhois
    thanks for the replies. Delta_boy, I realize they study design, but are you saying most of the people here on SP that design so well (which, might I add, some are under 18) have studied design? If so, where would these pupils have learnt it? If not, how did they get so good?
    Part of it is innate, but I bet that most of those under-18 designers have a)made design their focus rather than development, and b)have taken at least one or two art/design courses in their schooling. If you made development your focus early on, then you'll have a harder time with design because you'll take longer to become adept at it.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Addict KelliShaver's Avatar
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    It helps to have some inate talent and skill going in, but much of it can be learned.

    You spend years studying it, take classes, practice every day, and observe everything around you.

    I just spent four years doing an art and design degree, and even onw, I feel like I'm just beginning to learn, some days.

    That's the key, you read, practice and observe as much as possible. You watch people to understand hwo they react to various stimulii, everything. YOu have to be like a sponge. Then you have to back that all up with the knowledge gained, either through formal education or your own efforts, in various design elements, color, line, shape, balance, form, space, composition, typography, etc. etc.

    Some days it all makes me feel quite insane, but in a good way.

    I find myself critiquing every piece of advertising, website, TV commercial, etc. that I see. Sometimes it gets annoying, but it's a big source of inspiration to be playing that much attention to the things around you.

    The stuff that really mpresses me, I take and keep in the closet for when I'm feeling inspirationally challenged.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    Hi,


    Thank again for the replies (didn't remember to check this thread again ).

    Vgarcia - well in that case I'm screwed. Development came early.

    Anyway, I went to the library a nd got a design book to take a look at I hope it helps.

    Thanks for the replies anyhow.

    Regards,
    Someonewhois

  10. #10
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by someonewhois
    Vgarcia - well in that case I'm screwed. Development came early.
    I'm with ya buddy . It's all about trial, error, and observation though (you should see the responses I got in my site review! ). Find stuff you like, adapt it to your designs, repeat. Keep what works for you and ditch what doesn't. Eventually you'll fall into your own and develop your style .

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    crap, I can't even draw it (just wasted 800 pages of that old dot matrix paper that I had lying around unused. )

    I can't even draw an exact replica of a site, I'm that bad. I looked at IBM's site and I cna't draw it! I must have a mental block there.

    This really blows. Anybody have an inspiring site that's simple (none of that sliced crazy image links etc. ) but effective?

    Regards,
    Someonewhois

  12. #12
    + platinum's Avatar
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    Yeah depending on which side of your brain is more dominent, you're usually sort of pre-defined as either "artistic/design" type person or a "logical/maths" kinda guy

  13. #13
    SitePoint Member Delta_Boy's Avatar
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    If you say that you cant "draw" it...then try to draft it

  14. #14
    SitePoint Addict
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    I'm an under-18 designer who's always been more left-brained (if the left side is logical/mathematic thinking). I know I'm not an expert designer, but I like to think I have a well trained eye for design.

    I have never taken a class on website design, art, or graphic design related subjects. We had art in elementary school, but that's more or less cut & paste.

    The last thing I probably saw myself doing was designing "art", using my creative juices to produce a visual product I could be proud of.

    When did I decide that I wanted to design websites for a living? I started out just writing simple HTML code, (math/logic related) as things progressed, I discovered that there was a big part I was missing out on, design.

    I started looking around the internet, and there are some great inspirational sites out there. I worked away, practiced, made a couple sites, and I just developed a knack for it. Now, I love doing what I do, and I can't imagine myself doing anything else.

    I've come a long way since I fisrt started, all you need is the willingness, and the openness to learn, and I think the design ideas/knowledge, will come to you.

    So my advice is, surf around the internet, you will find some great sites to learn from, if you want it to, the design sense will eventually come to you.

    Good luck!

  15. #15
    SitePoint Zealot divamissx's Avatar
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    In that case... you need to implement a CMS. Then you just install the theme you prefer and you don't have to worry about the design of the site... just your logo and banners.

    You can get great starting ideas from websites whose topics/themes are similar to yours.

    Good luck!
    Divamissx, Application Development Consultant.
    Get your Forums Seeded: The Forum Seeders Network

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Divamissx, that doesn't work because any CMS I use will be written by me. I dispise using other's software on my site

    Anyway, I finally got something drawn up (sorry I can't show you guys, it'll be in my signature eventually, but it's a closed site at the moment and I'm not the only person part of the project, so it's not my say.)

    Thank again!

    Regards,
    Someonewhois

  17. #17
    SitePoint Zealot divamissx's Avatar
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    Okaaaaay.... well you won't use other people's software (who are creative) and you prefer to build your own (and you say you're not as creative as you need to be). You need to find a middle ground to get something up and running, or otherwise just spend the time learning the graphical, artistic side to design a site that you're happy with. I would suggest getting some artistic people to review your site as you build it and give suggestions to help you learn what you need to know. Good luck!!
    Divamissx, Application Development Consultant.
    Get your Forums Seeded: The Forum Seeders Network

  18. #18
    Ensure you finish what you sta bronze trophy John Colby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by someonewhois
    Divamissx, that doesn't work because any CMS I use will be written by me.
    You can do what you like on your own site, but this really sounds like reinventing the wheel. Have you considered one of the free, open source CMS products?
    John
    No electrons were harmed during the creation, transmission
    or reading of this posting. However, many were excited and
    some may have enjoyed the experience.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    The thing's with the CMS's that I see is that they're bloated. I prefer to make a small, unbelieveably fast application that has everything I need. Also, the predone skins take away from the uniqueness (if that's a word) of the webpage.

    I'm getting a hang of design, I think. Thanks for for the rpelies.

    Regards,
    Someonewhois

  20. #20
    SitePoint Enthusiast newdaynewdawn's Avatar
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    While some people have it and some don't alot of it can be learned. Study! Study! Study! I can't draw a lick my self but I've attempted to lock in on what makes a site good.

    Some things will just be flat out in the zone or beyond the evelope buttttttttttt you can do it. I'm no artsy fartsy or design genius but most of what I've seen work (most appealing to me anyway) is the classy incorporation of photos--yes existing photos. I mean unless you're doing this original creative work photos are plentiful on the web if for nothing else but mock-up.

    Visit www.coolhomepages.com as a starting point for your inspiration. In my opinion you will find some of the top sites of the web outlined here. Study! ... ask yourself what makes them good, what makes them appealing? Alot of what you'll find is the themselves, learn a fade and feather here and apply this or that affect. Nope, I'm not talking the heavyweight stuff... just putting in the time to learn some of your more basic image manipulation. That's right, use exisiting images and play around with those. Paint Shop Pro.

    Plenty of us have produced rubbish, even after calling ourselves experienced. While training is good and I'd like some more myself I learned most of what I know by looking and then re-constructing in my head the thought process "they" may have gone through to produce "that". Yes, some general graphic manipulation knowledge is GOOD! Think photos, stock photos, oh yeah--study CSS--if you don't know it. CSS is worth a million in the scope of design these days.

    Good Luck!

    Haha on the WYSIWIG (how ever you spell it)... I've used Homesite since version 3 probably and find it super hard to convince myself to do the dreamweaver thing even though I've approached the tutorials on numerous occasions--too many to count. By time I haggle with how I've got to go through the interface to get it done I'm like dagg I'm on to the next task in homesite in 5 minutes. Eventually I will..l homesite's like two hands on the with the seatbelt on I guess.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    I've realised something through my years (rolls eyes madly) of design/development. It is not so much how well you can draw but how well you can copy. If you realised, many 'good' designs (images in this context) usually are very real. They relate to real objects and the environment. They have shine and shadow as well as dimension. I suck at design. I have never once come up with something on my own that I like. But I look at other people's copy and paste. So bascially I copy from all over the place and stick in into one.

    You realise that many replies have been emphasizing on studying. The thing about studying is that you remember and you spit it out, and in essense, is copying and pasting.

    Oh yea, one last thing. You must be able to be wild. Yes, wild. Don't stick to convention, do what you want to do (and what you dont want to do). Sometimes, you tell yourself: no, its better to do it this way, or that way. Why not try both ways? In design, there are no risks (thanks to Ctrl+z) If you don't like how it turns out, just hit undo!
    I ran out of fax paper, could you fax me some?


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