The importance of understanding web design
If we want to create a great web design we should understand our medium First. The better you understand the medium, the better your design will be. Better sites and better work all comes down to education.
In order to understand the web, it is important to understand that the web is not print and that limitations are part of every design discipline. Web design differs from books, posters and illustrations. The highest achievements of those disciplines are not what web design is meant to do. Although it can look nice to use your website as a delivery system for games and video’s, it’s not related to real web design.
Real web design
Real web design creates digital environments that facilitates and encourages human activity. For example it reflects or adapts to individual voices and content and it changes gracefully over time while always retaining their identity.
An example of great web designs are typefaces like Rosewood. This typeface imposes a personality on whatever content is applied to them. Other typefaces may fade into the background, supporting whatever tone the content provides.
For example the lay-out for Blogger, called ‘Minima’ created by Douglas Bowman which has been used literally by millions of writes and yet it feels like it was designed for each of them individually. That is an example of great design.
You should compare great web design with great buildings. All office building have lobbies, bathrooms and staircases. Websites too, share these commonalities.
A lot of designers may complain that too many sites use grids, columns and that they’re to ‘boxy’. Since 1995 designers had been trying to avoid ‘boxiness’ which resulted most of the times in aesthetically wretched and needlessly unusable designs.
It takes a good an experienced designers to accept that many projects you work on will have headers and columns and footers. It’s our job to use them to create pages that are characteristic, natural, brand-appropriate, subtly memorable and quietly but unmistakably charming.