Our years of web design have taught us many things, but mostly that a great-looking website comes down to getting the good ol’ basic design principles right. We’ve compiled a few quick & nifty tips to help you git gud.
1. Have a Strong Colour Palette
A great colour palette is at least 50% of the design work done. Okay maybe not 50%, but a great deal of a design’s success depends on whether or not its colours work well together. Take the time to curate a solid colour palette before starting on a design – it’s like laying a solid foundation for a house. Craft your own or get some inspiration from many palette sites available, such as Coolers or Color Hunt.
2. Good Typography
- Is complimentary. If you are using more than one typeface make sure that they work well together.
- Suits the brand you are designing for. Typefaces dramatically influence the tone and style of a site.
- Can be (and often is) used as a visual element all on its own – like this neat example below from Design Embraced.
3. Negative Space is your friend
Enough space around elements is SO important for guiding user flow, as well as separating different types of information. It also looks amazing. Be sure to allow enough negative space around:
- Form fields and elements
- Button text (make it rain padding)
- Headlines and paragraphs
- Anything else that needs it
Too much space will probably cause users to get lost or confused, so use your designerly powers of discretion.
4. Size Contrast
Vary the size of your elements to create visual interest and to indicate information hierarchy. The Authentic F&F site is a great example of using text size to differentiate information types while still being visually impressive.
5. Use high quality photographs and/or illustrations.
Seriously, there are so many amazing free stock photography sites out there. Use them. Low-quality photography WILL make a website look unprofessional.
6. Design for the Platform
We love what famous Italian designer Massimo Vignelli said: “If you can design one thing, you can design everything”. Most of our points so far are about succeeding with basic design principles in order for your web design to be a success too. That said, every platform has it’s own extra considerations, web not being an exception. Remember that websites are something that people use, and you need to design with user experience in mind. This isn’t a UX post though so we’re gonna leave it at that.
Being a great designer is about having a bit of talent, and putting a lot of practice into it. The more you design, the better your understanding and creative thinking will get!