That’s a pretty good question, which even seasoned professionals can’t answer properly to what I’ve read lately. Is it art? Is it creativity? Or is design just design, standing for itself? To my understanding it is just the latter, and only the latter. It’s a fundamental, it’s the base of everything we as “creatives”, as web-designers, do each day. Without design no website would be structured properly, it would convey no meaning, it would be just a mess no user could decode. That’s really the principle of it all. A good, usable website is not about gradients, drop-shadows or rounded corners, it’s about the clever use of typography, color, grids, white-space, emphasis, … Since I’m pretty obsessed about design and everything involved lately I’ve read a ton of articles about it and want to share these resources with you:
- The principles of design
- Art, design and visual thinking
- Dieter Rams’ ten principles of design
- The design lesson: 1 of 1
- Gestalt principles of perception
- Forget all the rules about graphic design
- Designing for the Web (free online version)
- The principles of beautiful web design
- Designing the invisible
- Universal principles of design
- The elements of typographic style
If you are like me, who never enjoyed a traditional graphical education, these publications are a mine of information. But even if you consider yourself to be a seasoned, educated professional, have a look, peruse what you know (or seem to know) and be delighted at your knowledge. Another good way to test your designs skills is the Design test 2 by Andy Rutledge. It may seem overwhelming at first, but if you truly call yourself a designer you should at least try it and not immediately close the current tab due to the complexity of this “test”. Here are my answers. Try it for yourself, post your answers, let’s start a discussion about your findings, what’s right, what’s wrong, what can be done better.
Now I also understand why “pros” like Elliot Jay Stocks or Andy Clarke (unfortunately his approach is not online anymore) redesign their websites to its simplest form. Back then I really couldn’t understand why they did this, but with growing knowledge I more and more understand their motives.