For The Artistically Challenged
Not being a graphic designer but trying to be a one man band web developer used to be limiting. Today there are lots of tools to help plug any lack of artistic ability. Of course you’ll never be as convincing as a good graphic designer, but you’ll get by.
Look Around the Web For a Site That Fits
I am in the middle of a new web development project for a long standing client. We are re-branding his website to fit in with the new company colours he’s chosen. And, taking the opportunity while we are at it, to add in all the functionality he has ever wanted on the site.
I have a lot of database backend stuff to write, work-flow to develop and so on. The graphic design element of my task is not my favourite. Here is what I do. I look around the web for someone else’s site that has vaguely the right layout for my needs. Then I attempt to do my own version of it. Because I am so bad at copying someone else’s site, there is no chance that the new site will be much like the one I used for inspiration.
Here is the home page of the site I have designed for my client, as it currently stands.
And here is the site design that I used for inspiration. As you can see, they are quite different, but I used the ideas in one to help me create the other. I have not finished this task yet so the home page will change, but you get the idea.
Graphics Tools and Sites Used
- For backgrounds that require stripes : Stripe Generator
- For menus and buttons I have found this tool invaluable : Buttonmaker
- For badges : Badge PSDs
- For screen captures and torn edge effects : SnagIt
- For colour harmonies : ColorSchemer
- For icons : Free Icons and if that fails, then very nice but expensive Icons
- For stock images : Stock Images
- Finally, I am not bad at manipulating images in Photoshop.