Tips and resources for beginning designers
Thanks to the internet, graphic design and programming are becoming increasingly overlapping fields.
As a programmer, I constantly find myself needing basic knowledge of Graphic Design, but have trouble locating thorough yet concise graphic design learning resources, and instead usually find bits and pieces of knowledge applicable to the task at hand.
Can you guys offer some tips or recommend some good books, tutorials, blogs, and websites which provide a beginner level overview of web design that have been, in your experience, effective and high quality learning materials. I'm not looking for tips on how to use image editing tools, but assuming a basic grasp of those, which resources and advice will best help a new designer create professional looking designs?
- Stay Simple - Don't try to do anything too fancy or adventurous at first. Get the basics down first, then you can start experimenting. Don't try to emulate the Star Trek computer interface.
- Be Consistent - A consistent design is part of the foundation of a good design. Keep track of your margins, sizes, and placement and maintain them throughout the design.
- Remove Clutter - Only include the elements that are necessary to the design. Remove everything else.
- Prioritize - What is the primary purpose of the design? Emphasize that purpose. Make it obvious.
- Use Whitespace - Allow for proper margins. Large blocks of text with little or no margins aren't very readable. Ditto for other design elements.
- Use A Color Palette - You shouldn't use more than 4-5 colors in total.
- Consistent Fonts - Stick to one or two fonts. Use them consistently, usually one for headings, one for paragraph text. Calculate and maintain consistent font-sizes, line-heights, and line-spacing. Do not use Comic Sans unless you can fend off rabid velociraptor zombies.
- Design First - Design shouldn't be an afterthought; it should be a first-class member of the planning stage. Design will be the way your users interact with your programming and they'll form their opinions first and largely based on your design. Give design its proper importance.
As for resources, you check out any of the following websites: