Megan Taylor

front-end dev, volunteacher, news & data junkie, bibliophile, Flyers fan, sci-fi geek and kitteh servant

Learning Web Design: 6 Blogs, 3 Cheat Sheets and 1 Degree

Over the past few months, I’ve been picking up quite a bit of freelance work. Most of it has been on the technical side of building Web sites. For the most part, I’ve been working with WordPress, so I can send a client a list of appropriate themes and let them decide.

In the scenario that I’m not using an easily theme-able framework, I’m stuck.

So, I’ve been spending some more time looking at design elements on various blogs, how colors and typography and borders are used to make even a simple layout look amazing. I’ve also been collecting resources to keep in mind when working on Web sites.

Six Blogs

  1. Authentic Boredom: Cameron Moll’s design blog.
  2. 24 Ways: 24 ways is the advent calendar for web geeks. Each day throughout December we publish a daily dose of web design and development goodness to bring you all a little Christmas cheer.
  3. Designm.ag: DesignM.ag is a new site that is aimed at providing a wide variety of resources for web designers and developers. The purpose of the site is to keep many useful elements, such as a blog, community news, design gallery, and job board all at one place.
  4. i love typography: iLT is designed to inspire its readers, to make people more aware of the typography that’s around them. We really cannot escape type; it’s everywhere: on road signs, shampoo bottles, toothpaste, and even on billboard posters, in books and magazines, online … the list is endless, and the possibilities equally so.
  5. Jason Santa Maria: This site represents an experiment in art direction online. Rather than allowing the content to flow from a content management system into the same page layout every time, I’ve created a system for fast design direction based on the needs of the content.
  6. Mark Boulton: This is primarily designed to be a portfolio presence for Mark but it also acts as a notebook, journal, experimental space and general dumping ground for designs, commentary and ideas.

Three Cheat Sheets

  1. How a Simple Layout Can Be Mixed ‘n’ Matched with Patterns, Photos and Backgrounds:It’s pretty amazing how much color and background can change the look and feel of a website. In this tutorial we’re going to put together a quick, simple but effective layout and then create variations using backgrounds, photos and patterns. We’ll also look at how to make seamless tiled backgrounds out of a photo, methods for ending a single photo and simple ways to create pixel patterns. In short it’s a jam packed tutorial!
  2. 8 Simple Ways to Improve Typography In Your Designs:Many people, designers included, think that typography consists of only selecting a typeface, choosing a font size and whether it should be regular or bold. For most people it ends there. But there is much more to achieving good typography and it’s in the details that designers often neglect.
  3. 10 Simple and Impressive Design Techniques: Simple effects and techniques are the building blocks of today’s designs. With a “less is more” mentality, we’ve selected 10 very simple and impressive design techniques that can drastically improve the performance and appearance of your designs.

One Web Design Degree

  1. The Personal Web Design Degree: The personal web design degree is the response of one designer to the question “What do I need to study to become a web designer?” The truth is that all the information needed to obtain a functional knowledge of web design is out there just waiting to be read. The only thing stopping most designers from doing so is sifting through all the information and knowing what is worth reading.

What are your favorite design resources? Where do you get inspiration?

  • Hey Megan, I’m just venturing into the world of wordpress, so you’re a few steps ahead, but these are all excellent resources, thanks for sharing. When I was creating my blog (with a LOT of help from my friend Matt at Sherple.com) I looked at around at other Web sites and blogs for inspiration. I also really like Goofy Girl’s portfolio, love her colorful designs – http://design.goofygirl.org/

  • Hey Megan, I’m just venturing into the world of wordpress, so you’re a few steps ahead, but these are all excellent resources, thanks for sharing. When I was creating my blog (with a LOT of help from my friend Matt at Sherple.com) I looked at around at other Web sites and blogs for inspiration. I also really like Goofy Girl’s portfolio, love her colorful designs – http://design.goofygirl.org/

  • It really is inspiring to see carefully considered typography playing a central role in a site design.

  • I learn a lot with your blog here. Thanks for sharing some of your knowledge regarding webdesigning and i hope you will do more blogs like this in the future and i'm hoping that i can read also one of them.

  • well having a degree doesnt necessarily mean anything. for me what counts more is your experience, industry experience and im sure most employers prefer experienced workers more than college graduate rookies

  • There' a lot of good points here for the hobbyist and professional web designers. Worth to be bookmarked. thanks!

  • There' a lot of good points here for the hobbyist and professional web designers. Worth to be bookmarked. thanks!

  • Well it’s good to have a blog and there’s no wrong to have some resources site to help you build up your own blog effectively and when it comes to the design just be careful on not to do the same concept as what is being seen in those resources because it may tend to copyright infringement which is not really good at all.

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