Websites come in all sizes and shapes to meet the needs and wants of their owners. We have been designing websites since 2004 using content management systems (CMS) – basically tools that combine databases and editors similar to Word that allow non-technical users to make changes to their website. Many of our clients have us make all
of their changes, but just as many prefer to make at least some of the changes themselves
Because the look of your site is important and CMS editors will allow you to make changes that may not be a perfect fit with the style of your site, we felt it was time to offer a few suggestions on design for non-designers. Here are 6 things you should keep in mind while working on your website:
1. Typography Fundamentals – Typography plays a big role in creating visual hierarchy and contrast. One quick tip is to use multiples sizes. Here is a good rule of thumb, but feel free to play with these rules a bit. Pick your lowest font size first and go from there. If your smallest is 12px, which is the body copy, then use 24px for the heading and 48px or 72px for the title. Also, try not to use more than two typefaces. Stick with one if you aren’t sure what to pair it with. Here’s a great website that helps you pair fonts that look good together. You should also minimize your use of font weights to two or less. For example, use bold for headlines and light or regular for copy. The more font weights you use, the more chaotic it gets for the reader to interpret.
2. White Space – We’ve all heard of it, but are we really using it appropriately? Giving elements breathing room makes a world of difference. Spacing in between the lines is also very important. Not too much, but not too tight either.
3. Keep It Simple. We’ve all heard the saying “Less is more!” When in doubt – subtract. That’s the best design advice I’ve ever gotten. Make it easy on your audience. Don’t let your page get too cluttered.
4. Color Theory – Picking colors is not an easy task. Generally speaking, stick to the colors your site used originally. But if you must add additional colors to your page content, there are tools that will help you create shades of a color or find complementary colors.
5. Photography – Selecting photos and graphics can be one of the most difficult and time consuming jobs. There are many resources for photographs which we can discuss in another mail, but Photos and graphics should color-coordinate with your site colors when possible and the subject matter should be relevant. Also, be sure to size your images properly for the Web. Please refer to our past message on sizing your photos for the web.
6. Consistency – It’s important to keep your design elements consistent. For example, if you’re using one style of button on one part of the page, make sure you use the same style on the rest of the page or document. If you’re using photography in the header of the page, make sure you keep it consistent with the rest of the graphic elements.