Creating a website can be a difficult process. However, with the right education, you should be able to create a successful website. School teaches you all the tips and tricks to a good website, so do you really need to be creative to succeed in this field?
Web designers need to be creative. Creativity helps designers to create website formats that are user-friendly and appealing visually for online stores and websites. Creating a client’s website will require the use of creative skills to make their dream website.
Below, we will focus on the necessary skills for web design and how creativity factors into those skills. It is definitely an important skill, but you’ll need more than just a creative mind!
Basics of Web Design
You can learn how to do web design on your own, but getting a formal education can make sure that you have all your bases covered. While going through school and getting your bachelor’s in web design, digital media, coding, etc. you’ll run right into the creative side of web design, which is a necessary aspect for success.
RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue; the primary colors of your computer screen. These are the main light colors on your screen right now, and they combine in a variety of ways to create the colors on your screen. More often than not, you or a client will want a specific color scheme for your website. You’ll need to be able to know which colors may be complementary or look good together.
However, if you need a little help there, most HTML color websites will let you pick out a color and on the bottom, it gives you an array of colors that look good with that color. If you see an option that says “Tetradic” you can pick different types of color combinations. For example, tetradic are two sets of complementary colors that make a square on the color wheels. Most color-picking websites will be able to generate color combinations that work together.
On top of understanding which colors go together, you may also need to look into color theory. Why do you think so many fast food places have red and yellow themes? We associate red with hunger. Pink is associated with love and romance, blue is sadness or the water (which is why so many water bottle logos are blue), green is natural, etc. Some colors may have more than one meaning—red can also be associated with anger or love.
2.Photoshop and InDesign
You probably already know about Photoshop and its ability to alter, hide, or change various aspects of a photo. InDesign is another popular software used to create just about any type of paper advertisement, informational brochure, books, newspapers, etc. For web design, you’ll likely use Photoshop a bit more to help your client by editing photos for their website. Certification in Photoshop will really boost your resume and most clients will look for that.
However, InDesign and other Adobe design apps such as Illustrator are great to learn when it comes to web design. You may be helping a client create their first website and begin their journey with an online business. They could need a variety of things for their website such as logos, icons, artwork, printables, etc. Your main job would be to assist in the design of their website, but that could include helping them decide on themes and icons for all their business cards, posters, and brochures.
InDesign is also particularly helpful in practicing your design skills. If you can show different businesses that you can design beautiful brochures and posters they can be more likely to hire you.
3. Layouts and Formats
When you think of the layout of a website you can imagine a bar at the top for quick links to other pages and the main content below that. But the format before that was always having the quick links on the side, you can see it on some older and abandoned websites like this eyesore. At some point, someone creative came up with the layout we see on most websites.
“I am glad that people in the industry sometimes choose creativity over usability” Kelly Molloy, a Web Strategist for Newbreedrevenue.com
When websites began switching to having the top bar instead of the sidebar, people probably had the concern that it would make the difficult harder to use. The bar would be at the top and users would have to scroll all the way back up to get to a different page. This problem leads to more innovation of making it so the bar will scroll with the user or provide another link that brings that user to different parts of a page or straight to the top.
It takes a lot of creativity to figure out how to take the content a client has given you and make it look good on the page. How do you split up the content into pages? How do you make room for all the content and not make it too crowded? A lot of web designers suggest starting with a sketch. Don’t forget to review the basics about format such as which way to align everything, use of white space, the sizing of different pieces of your page, etc. These will help a lot in making sure your website looks clean.
Real-World Web Design
School probably taught you a lot to prepare you for a web design career. You know how to code, generally good layouts and colors, and you know how to use a variety of apps to help you create a good website. There are a couple more skills and knowledge you’ll need to help you in the big leagues that don’t involve creativity.
You will have multiple meetings with your client. The first one will probably be about their main ideas; they will present their business to you, their logos, color scheme, themes, products, posters, business cards, etc. Basically, anything that helps you understand how they want to define themselves. They will also explain specifically what they want on their website and what its purpose is.
Your first job is to create a rough sketch of their website. Come up with a layout, maybe add a few other colors or shades of one color, figure out sizing, etc. You’ll take into consideration everything they have given you, logos, common themes and layouts, and the purpose of the website. In some cases, you may want to change things. They may have outdated ideas or it just doesn’t work as well as they hope. Whatever the case, you then have to present something that pleases them before you meet with them again.
When you go to present your ideas and sketches, you might have to tone it down. Make sure that your language is understandable to your clients. You will also need to be careful about how you talk about your new ideas. Offer the pros of maybe changing a color in their color scheme or mention why the format should look a certain way.
For example, if your client wants an empty background for their new online clothing store, you may want to talk about the sleek and trendy design of a major model on the homepage and the user scrolls down to find the other content on the website. However, it is up to your client on how they want their website to look. They get the final say because they are paying you and sometimes that means vetoing your ideas. Don’t let that get in the way of your work, and design what they want.
Good communication at the beginning of the process can lead to a smoother creation process. And who knows? If they’re happy with your work, they may end up keeping you around to update their website or eventually give you more creative liberty.
While learning about coding in school, you probably had many frustrating nights looking for the mistake in your code. You’ll continue to have that problem as you continue in your work in web design. A couple of mistakes are a given in the business—you’re human. However, too many could upset the client and you could lose your job.
Besides always checking your work, you should make sure that you are listening to everything the client wants. They may mention little things like which font they want or the color, and you should make sure to take extra notes. Go as far as to find the exact hex of the color they want in the beginning before it’s too late in the coding process. Taking the time to get the sizes, colors, font, etc. right will let your employer know you’re a hard worker and prepare you for more difficult jobs when the right hex number will make or break your job.
You want to build a good resume if people are going to trust you to build good websites. You can’t just bring in your college resume with all the odd jobs you worked to pay for food and tuition. If any of these odd jobs had anything to do with technology or web design, then keep those. Some examples would be creating posters for a local event in your town or working at Best Buy can show you have some experience here and that you are familiar with the technology.
Next, you’ll want to make sure to include how much school you have completed or where you have studied website design. The more credible the source for your study the better. Linkedin has a learning platform that can teach you to use Photoshop and Indesign, which is a credible source. Just Youtube won’t seem as credible, even if it teaches you some good principles. If you can get certification for Photoshop, or any other app design, that will show your future employer that you know what you are doing on various platforms.
Finally, get some experience:
- Talk to small businesses about creating them a website or managing the one they already have.
- Find an internship with your school or through a family member that involves working with website designers or developers.
- Create Posters, Brochures, business cards, etc. for friends, family, small business owners, churches, or your community.
Bonus points if your resume is a website.
Creating a new website is fun and difficult. It takes a lot of effort and thought to understand every little aspect of website design. It also can be very fun and exciting as you pick out colors and design layouts that bring everything together. Don’t be discouraged if your website isn’t instantly on those top 10 website lists or if you just can’t figure out how to layout the homepage.
“Millions of people create and manage their own websites using website builders such as Wix and Squarespace.” Tom Fogden Source
The great thing about website design is that you will have the freedom to create, but you also have backups. These backups can be websites that show you which colors look good together, books on what typically looks good, website templates, and similar websites to inspire you (no plagiarising please). Use these backups as much as you want to help you in your web designing and don’t be afraid to try something new—it just might be the next website trend.
A great example of a company trying something new is Google Easter Eggs. These are little phrases or keywords you can type into Google that can affect the page. For example, if you type into Google, “Do a barrel roll” the entire page will rotate 360 degrees. In the past, there have been some about clicking little icons related to the search such as Thanos’ glove when you search Thanos to make the whole page turn to dust and disappear. Maybe this inspires you to create some easter eggs for your website. Either way, get creative and make some rocking websites.