Elements of Graphic Design for Your Website

by : Kelly Paal

We’ve all seen them. Poorly designed web sites that make you cringe as soon as they load. But how do you keep your website from becoming, well, ugh. You could hire a professional web designer, and that’s expensive, or maybe you already hired a professional, or someone who claims to be professional, and you don’t like what they’re doing with your site. It all comes down to the K.I.S.S. principle; keep it simple stupid. And you’re probably asking well what does this really mean for web design.

Here are some basic graphic design/web design principles that you can use on your site:

1. Background, be careful what color you use for the background of your site. Yes I know that you’re trying to get noticed, but really they’ve already decided to look at your page so why does it have to be orange? Seriously though, consider how long you want people to be on your site, half an hour, one hour, more? Whatever the time chose your background color and then sit in front of your computer and stare at it, for awhile. Is the color easy to look at? Difficult? Does it make your eyes water? Does it make you calm? If you can look at the color for about fifteen minutes without a problem you’re okay.

2. Text, related to the above be careful what text color you use. Follow the rules above for determining a text color. It should be easy to read, and look at.

3. Font, no more that three fonts on the entire website. I mean that! A big mistake that I see a lot of times is the use of more than three different fonts, it get’s hard to read no matter how neat you think it looks.

4. Font size, no more that three font sizes either. Now I don’t mean three font sizes for each of the three fonts you’ve chosen. I mean no more than three fonts with a total of three sizes throughout the entire site, and if you can get by with less even better. It will simplify your site.

5. Scrolling, this is a big one literally. I’ve been on too many sites where I had to scroll down so far that my computer beeped at me. This is really important on your main page. Keep it very sparse, generally any information that someone has to scroll more than one full page down for will not be read.

This is only a start of course but it’s a start and it is on these issues that I see so many problems. Always remember that simplicity is best.

Copyright 2004 Kelly Paal