In this day and age, being present online seems almost mandatory. It is hard to imagine a business or a content creator that does not have a web page. Most of the time, a social media profile is quite enough, but it is limited by the rules and mechanisms of the platform.
But what if you want more individuality, more freedom, and more control over your content? In this case, making your own web page is the way to go. Even if you have no web design experience, there are plenty of page constructors available that let you create a website from the ground up in less than an hour and guide you through the process.
However, to use those tools to maximum effect, you still have to know at least the basics of design. So, in this guide, we will cover some principles of web design to help you create an appealing page that will stand out and attract visitors. Without further ado, lets’ begin!
Table of Contents
Prepare the Graphics
The imagery is the first thing the visitor to your page will perceive. If the appearance of your website is not catchy, then you’ll have a much harder time with viewer retention. Thankfully, the graphic does not have to be exquisite, only cohesive with what you want to achieve. Even some tastefully picked stock images can do the job.
If you want to go a step further, you can try using some of the best photo editing software for Windows 11 and older to make the graphics yourself. Modern programs make editing images much more accessible to regular users, thus providing you one more facet of control over the final product.
Keep the Colors Tight
Color is another important aspect of the presentation. Sadly, the best way to get around color theory is to force through it. But it eventually boils down to common sense and gut feeling. So, take in as many articles and design guides as you can to acquire an intuition for nice and fitting tones.
For instance, “earthly” tones like reds, browns, etc. would work nicely in a web design for a small, homey restaurant. Of course, there isn’t a recipe that will always work. Each color conveys a different message, and it is up to you to determine what that message is.
Stay on the Grid
If you are familiar with photography composition, you probably already know where this is going. Grids consist of several horizontal and vertical rulers and aid in giving your page a cohesive and convenient structure. This structure can greatly compensate for minimalistic graphics, turning the visuals into something more than just a sum of elements.
In general, a lot of site-building tools already have grids for your convenience. The best thing you can do without delving deep into the design is to follow those templates. Chances are there’s a fitting preset for whatever you are going to do.
Use Negative Space
When it comes to design, nothing is also something. Patches of empty space help emphasize whatever is surrounded by said patches. Reasonable use of negative space, adds a lot of class and style to your webpage, as well as makes it more pleasing to look at. Do not be afraid to leave certain gaps, even large ones, unfilled.
However, sometimes when a certain element draws too much attention is not a good thing – this might be a sign of inconsistency. This is a hard subject to tackle since there are no clear guidelines.
The best advice we could give right now, is when you have a complete “beta” version of your website, take a look at each element and try asking what purpose it serves. If there is no such purpose, then why keep it? After all, it might drag the viewer’s attention away from important parts. This applies to everything – images, texts, colors, grids, and so on.
Mind the Typography
The webpage text is a topic huge enough to warrant its own discussion, so let’s briefly cover the aspects that are likely to be the most crucial for you right now.
The first thing you have to bury in your mind is that web and print text are not the same. The Web text is dynamic and shifting, while print media is fixed. Print-specific elements like vertical rhythm, properly justified text, and multi-column layouts are hard to replicate online. For the time being, we just have to embrace these differences and use the web’s inherent potential rather than viewing it as an online version of the print.
Measure and Leading
Lines are measured in length and are led by their height (or vertical spacing). CSS allows for the control of measure by specifying a width for the enclosed box (e.g., the paragraph element). Readability is impacted by both. Users won’t find it comfortable to read the material if the lines are excessively short or long.
Quotes and Bullets
Using dangling quotes with bullets is another approach to increase readability. Instead of leaving the text in quotes and bulleted lists with the default alignment, align it horizontally with the rest of the text on the page. On the other hand, hanging quotes are more difficult to execute. For quotation marks, most designers use a background image and then align it as necessary.
The more unique font you are using, the higher the chance the user’s computer won’t be able to render. This probability is low regardless, but is best to cover your bases. That’s where the font stacks come in.
Font stacks enable you to specify the order of font rendering, which means that when a given typeface is absent, the browser will just look for the following one in line. You’ll lose some control, since not everyone will see the design exactly the same way, but it is better than the alternative of your viewer not being able to see the text at all.
The five guiding principles we’ve covered here are just the beginning of good web design. With so many content management systems, and blogging tools readily available nowadays, sticking your fingers in design is easy. It takes time, effort and, let’s face it, a pinch of talent to properly master all aspects of it. But the road is made by walking, so good luck!