Why Use a Grid to Design Your Website?

Web design layout is generally measured in columns; common layouts include three or two columns. There is however much more to consider in good layout design than the mere number of columns.

You will find it much more advantages to visualise your layout design in a grid, a grid that consists of both columns and rows. A grid is not designed to make your design rigid, it can be an excellent tool. Below we will look at some of the benefits of using a grid system.

Common Practice

The use of grids in design is not a new concept. Interior designers will design rooms with grids. Print and graphic designers design print layouts using grids. If you apply the same grid techniques to web design, your page layouts will look right across multiple platforms and feel right to your customer base.

Restrictions in Creativity

It is a common misconception that using a grid will be boring and that your designs will begin to reflect this. I would certainly agree that if you began to use a grid as a means of filling in squares with something, it would indeed become quite boring. To use a grid effectively, use it to help organise the space you have rather than just filling it up.

Two best practices:

1. Create a standard. It should have a fixed number of sub-divisions, create as many as you think you will need; and then stick to it. The temptation could be to later add random lines to fit around your design. Try to avoid this as the benefit of a grid is its uniformity.

2. When using a grid place your web site elements on the grid lines, make sure they fit the width and height of your grid lines. The best website designs use the grid in a balanced manor, not 100% symmetrical.

Once you begin using a grid, you will find prototype design can be executed much quicker. Web development becomes an easier process as you avoid a lot of cross browser issues, as the browsers also follow a similar grid system. Take a look at some of your favourite websites, it is likely they too follow a similar grid system even if you can’t see the grid at first glance.

An excellent grid to use in web design is the 960 grid. It was developed to streamline both design and development by providing commonly used dimensions, based on a width of 960 pixels.

House Design

It is said that ‘only a woman can make a house a home.’ Interior design is the design makes a house pleasurable to live and draws on aspects of environmental psychology, architecture, product design and furniture design, in addition to traditional decoration and wall paint and artistic articles.

The important part of designing a house include things like concept or theme, color, proportion, balance and function of design. Although all interior designers are different, they are all an essential part of the look and feel of a house or a room in general. Designers integrate the above seven elements of design to generate a particular experience that the house imparts.

The first and foremost in house design is the theme of the design. Some individuals may prefer a modern theme, some a traditional one, some a natural one and some others an artistic one. According to the theme that the occupant decides on, the color, the furniture, the accessories and the fabric that is used in the house will differ. Furniture selection and the placement of furniture plays an important part in house designing. If the furniture is not placed in coordination with the walls and spaces, there is a chance that the house will look cramped. The material of the furniture must also compliment the theme and the spatial statistics. Accessories for the house can range from wall paintings to show pieces to draperies, blinds and curtains.

The design of a house can really affect the way a family feels, moods and emotions. Hence, people spend enormous amounts of money in the interior designing of their houses.

Color and Web Design – How to Make It All Work Together

As humans we see and interpret color using the visible spectrum. The colors we see are Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. They are all made up of various wavelengths (measured in nanometers) and are really, really small. In fact, there are tons more colors but as humans we visually can see them with our naked eyes. We can use tools to see things in the visual range of say, infrared.

There are additive colors and subtractive colors. Additive colors are used with television or computer screens. So, when you add the primary colors red, blue and green together on a screen you will get white. Subtractive colors are used when printing. So, when you add the primary colors together you get black.

I am sure almost everyone has seen a color wheel. The color wheel shows you the relationships between each of the colors. Such as when a color is next to one an other this is called analogous colors. An example would be with red, orange and yellow. These colors make up an analogous color scheme. It is very popular because it also readily found in nature.

When two colors are opposite each other on the color wheel we call these complementary colors. A great example is red and green, another popular choice during Christmas. Those are some of the basics, there is a lot more to learn such as hues, contrast, saturation etc. But, we can go into that another time. Next we need to take this information we just learned and see how color is tied into our emotion.

Color effects how we perceive the world around us. It can affect our emotional and physical responses to visual stimuli, and can even govern how we interpret these stimuli. This is why color is so important in fields of graphic and environmental design, and why graphic designers, interior designers, and architects go to such great lengths to understand the influence of color and to use it in just the right way.

Until recently, though, very little emphasis has been placed on the importance and overall influence of color in the field of web design. In fact, there still seems to be overall a kind of ‘anything goes’ atmosphere on the Internet with regard to web design in general.

But the way in which we access the Internet, combined with its increasing impact on our everyday lives, now requires a more thorough understanding of the influence of color for designers who wish to create websites that effectively attract and positively influence visitors to them.

The use of color is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal in designing a website, or any other medium with which you are attempting to relate to or communicate with other people. Color is so powerful that it can persuade, motivate and inspire when it is used in a balanced and effective way, and so crucial that it can completely drive people away when its overall influence is poorly understood and it is used poorly or inefficiently. In short, color is far more complex than many of us give it credit for.

The best way to use color is to experiment and observe. Test color combinations out and see how they make you feel. Chances are that if you feel a certain way when you see colors others do also. But, there are some fundamentals that can help any designer.

Nature is your best bet when finding good color combinations. Take the example of a small wood house on a prairie with a nice clear blue sky. A prairie is golden and the sky being blue will give you a good complementary color scheme, blue and gold are opposite on the color wheel. The blue/gold combination is usually has a very calming effect. It can also be a symbol for regal or royalty.

Sometimes you want your colors to POP. So, using high contrasting colors are really good for that. Ever wonder why road signs are in that bright yellow with black type? It is one of the easiest color combinations to read. Plus it makes you take notice. We have been conditioned by the highway people, that bright yellow and black stands out and we automatically take notice.

Some color examples and their general meanings.

– White is considered as the color of purity, honesty and innocence.

– Black is the color of death also represents darkness, gloom and despair. However, when used properly is can also indicate elegance and refinement.

– Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It represents depth, trust, security and imagination.

– Green is a color in nature. It represents life, vibrancy, natural, active, fresh and young.

– Yellow is for philosophers and thinkers. It represents hope and maturity.

– Red is a color of action and danger. It excites and stimulates the viewer.

I could go on but I think you get the point that each color represents feelings and emotions. As a designer your job is to pull those emotions out from the viewer and either gets them really comfortable so they stay along time. Or exited so they feel they must have your product now!

Color dramatically effects your customer so that means it affects your marketing, your web site and your income. If used badly it can make potential customers leave your site quickly. If used well, color can help bring in more money.

So, how are you using color on your site?