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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist superuser2's Avatar
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    Developer who's not so good at design...

    I'm a fairly decent PHP programmer but I'm awful at visual design. My web applications seem sparse, the design is inconsistent, and they look amateurish. I'm looking for ways around this.

    The obvious solution is to get better at visual design... but I am not an artistic person. That may be easier said than done. Still though, where would I look for resources on visual design rather than the mechanics of HTML/CSS?

    Another idea I had come up with was to pay someone to develop an all-purpose "theme" for me. It would be reusable and with some tweaking work on almost all of my product-type projects. I appreciate how for example 37Signals has a very distinct style that is consistent in all their stuff; I go somewhere and I think, "oh, I'm on a 37Signals website. Cool." Would it be sensible to have the same sort of thing developed for myself?

    Thanks for any and all suggestions. I can't be the only one with this issue so other threads/reading/resources are appreciated as well.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    Im lucky. I have a very good eye for graphic design and layout, and from my experience its usually something you have or you dont. I think its easier to learn how to "program" rather than learn graphic design.

    I was at the other end of the scale - I was great at design but my programming skills were horrible.

    Theyre still not fantastic by any standard, but I manage and continue to learn, and my visual stuff, that comes naturally.

    Always know your strengths and weaknesses. It might simply be easier to get someone else to handle the artistic stuff.

    Best of luck.

    RJ

  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict
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    Quote Originally Posted by superuser2 View Post
    I'm a fairly decent PHP programmer but I'm awful at visual design. My web applications seem sparse, the design is inconsistent, and they look amateurish. I'm looking for ways around this.

    The obvious solution is to get better at visual design... but I am not an artistic person. That may be easier said than done. Still though, where would I look for resources on visual design rather than the mechanics of HTML/CSS?

    Another idea I had come up with was to pay someone to develop an all-purpose "theme" for me. It would be reusable and with some tweaking work on almost all of my product-type projects. I appreciate how for example 37Signals has a very distinct style that is consistent in all their stuff; I go somewhere and I think, "oh, I'm on a 37Signals website. Cool." Would it be sensible to have the same sort of thing developed for myself?

    Thanks for any and all suggestions. I can't be the only one with this issue so other threads/reading/resources are appreciated as well.
    Hi,

    I absolutely recommend the second idea, or even have this created for every project you work on, so it matches the client's look. Its not really that expensive and you should actually be able to onsell this service. I.e. factor the cost and margin into your project.

    HTh, Jochen
    http://www.automatem.co.nz
    Websites, On-line Software and everything Internet
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    Yes the second idea sounds like looking further into, with some good HTMl and a well thought out stylesheet it would be very flexible with just minor tweaking.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist superuser2's Avatar
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    Cool. I will look into that... coughing up a few hundred bucks isn't easy but it's probably worth it.

    Any other opinions/ideas?

  6. #6
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    I too would go for the second idea of RJ's only make sure that you use a designer who is used to designing for the web. I am saying this because one of my clients has employed an artist to design his site and now wants us to code it. It is absolutely beautiful, stunning in fact; but it is going to be a bloody nightmare to turn into an actual site.
    There are three kinds of men:
    The ones that learn by reading.
    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobyme View Post
    I too would go for the second idea of RJ's only make sure that you use a designer who is used to designing for the web. I am saying this because one of my clients has employed an artist to design his site and now wants us to code it. It is absolutely beautiful, stunning in fact; but it is going to be a bloody nightmare to turn into an actual site.
    Agreed. I received some graphics yesterday of a design mockup, and whilst it looks fantastic, its most definitely more suited to print media, perhaps brochures or magazine. Ive already started "pulling it to peices"

    RJ


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