Food for the Creative Web Designer

February 10, 2010

I have read a couple of articles recently that I wanted to pass along.

  • Cookie Cutter Web sites – This post from Think Vitamin is a challenge to create sites that reflect the personality of the company, product, or person we are designing for. The author’s presupposition is that more and more Web sites look the same. The challenge is to think beyond the standard “recipe” and not just follow the pattern of everyone else. What I like about the article is that she goes on stating the problem and gives some very practical advice on how to think past the cookie cutter. She states several of the conventions we typically follow and challenges the reader to consider how to do things a bit differently. She includes many great examples of how other designers have challenged the conventions or just stretched them a bit to create a site that has a unique personality and distinguishes site from the many others out there. I came away with a list of things that I want to think about as I approach any new design project in the future.
  • Content is King – Colin James Firth challenges designers to consider the content and the message of the content when creating a new Web site. Colin argues that too many designs weaken the message of the Web site by not taking the content into account in the visual design. He encourages designers to think about how to present the message of the Web site through the visual design. He believes that copywriters can help us become better communicators. This article is a great companion to the cookie cutter article I have already mentioned.
  • CSS3 – There have been several articles of late about CSS3 and specifically CSS3 animations. Smashing Magazine highlighted 50 Brilliant CSS3 and Javascript Coding Techniques. There are some really inspiring examples of what some designers are achieving with CSS3 animations. Web Designer Wall showcased 47 Amazing CSS3 Animation Demos.
  • Neutron Creations Blog – I came across this site last week. I really like the work of Elliot Jay Stocks. I am a Firefox user. I liked the design of this blog so I wanted to capture it in Little Snapper. When I viewed the site in Webkit built into Little Snapper, I noticed a CSS animation that really added to the personality of the site. I encourage you to open it up in Safari and have a look. Nice job Elliot.
  • Web Owners Need more than a Web designer – Paul Boag outlines the need for generalists in the Web design industry. He argues that being a Web designer in the 21st century involves more than building a Web site. They “need to have a good understanding of business practices, site analytics, marketing, copywriting, social media and more.” He encourages Web designers to broaden their knowledge in these areas. I would consider myself more of generalist so I appreciated the article. I have a variety of interests and enjoy being involved in more than just the Web site. I was very encouraged by one client’s recent comments to me. She said she appreciated me challenging her team to think more about the content and the strategy of the site we were working on together.
  • In Defense of The Jack of All Trades – I appreciated this post by Mindy Wagner back in October. She outlines why being a generalist worked for her. She outlined several qualities that she thinks makes a successful generalist. I found that I shared those qualities. It gave me more confidence to embrace who I am. I just recently left a job where I was a jack of many trades. I had to be to get things done because there was no one else there that could or would do it. I enjoyed that role. I hope in my future employment to find a place where I fit well and can contribute out of my strengths and broad knowledge base.

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