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42

www.example.com and example.com are two different addresses. It is only a common convention for web servers to be configured such that both variants work the same. This convention is not universal, and some web sites will be set up only to respond to one or the other. You need to confirm with whoever is in charge of the web site, which is acceptable to ...


30

This old quote from US broadcaster Ira Glass puts it really well. It's something I believe is true for every creative profession: Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s ...


30

Do you really need to follow the trend? Don't ever do something because it's a trend. Do things because they're good for the user's experience because that is what's best for your company and your design. Think really hard about the implications that adding a large image to your site will have and weigh the other options you have. You don't have to use this ...


24

busy - biz -ee: Too many unnecessary elements. Lack of whitespace. Clunky copy. Unorganized and inconsistent design. Improper treatment of text. Too many styles, fonts, colors, or other design elements. Lack of focus or purpose. When the client wants you to make the logo bigger, add links to all of their quasi-partners in the footer for SEO, have several ...


24

Two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence started when the typewriter replaced hand set printing presses. When type was set by hand the spacing was carefully crafted to make sentences and paragraphs easier to read. Typewriters use a monospace font that make it hard to distinguish the end of a sentence without adding the extra space. Modern fonts ...


23

Yes, this question is incredibly broad. Maybe it's OK as a wiki article. For starters, you need to define 'we'. There are many, many people and roles involved with designing web sites and they all tend to have different common mistakes. Here are some issues I've seen that seem to pop-up over and over again: Failing to properly define the business' ...


21

Vector graphics are graphics in which the image is represented in a mathematical fashion. What this allows one to do is to zoom in an image to infinite precision. They are ideal for situations in which an image might be used at various resolutions and dimensions. Raster graphics are of a fixed dimension, somewhat like a grid pattern with specified values at ...


20

The Lowest Common Denominator vs. Highest Common Factor Approach™ Define how much available space you have by creating, placing, and balancing empty elements within your design. I chose to use the Golden Ratio for the above (100px x 161px) because it's better to work with a horizontal rectangle, than it is with a perfect square based on most logos being ...


19

This is a real question, and it's a good one. It's also one that has entire books devoted to it! (One that I highly recommend, even to design school grads, is Robin Williams' "The Non-Designer's Design Book." It beautifully defines and demonstrates the biggest and commonest design errors.) Let's narrow it to technique errors, because I think that's what ...


17

Universal/Cross-media useage Every logo has to work in black/white only. A logo needs often to be "cut". Logos attached to t-shirts, caps, cars & signs, so you need clean outlines for foil cutting. Which means: Keep it simple and your lines clean. No one can cut the lines you see in the pathview below. Your logo has to work even on low resolution ...


17

www. may have valid technical reasons for being used. When a server is configured it must be set up to use http://www.example.com and http://example.com. It is completely possible that www.example.com loads the site and example.com does not. They are two, different, separate, addresses. This is all controlled by the server. Both addresses may work, or one ...


16

From a technical standpoint, ideally the logo should be readable on any of the colors that your office uses for that particular logo. The question of printing on white or black is typically necessary for certain branding principles, but in some cases there are examples that show certain designs that are required to be printed only on certain colors, and ...


16

In addition to Philip's excellent answer (money always gets their attention), point out that the MMs are changing the documents so that they no longer reflect corporate standards. "The company branding is being diluted" is a good way to put it. Your job is to make everything look good and look consistent, and they are damaging the company's appearance. If ...


16

Linked below is a short but good read summarizing different studies on line lengths. Studies were done as far back as the 1880s demonstrating that optimal line-length for reading was between 3.6 - 4 inches. Even 50 years later, this was still the deal: One of the best studies was done by Tinker and Paterson in 1929. Using 10-point black type on white ...


16

Advertising. While it's a noble idea that it was done for readability, newspapers, in general, have columns that are overly narrow compared to most given readability information/data. Having multiple columns allows for a very versatile ad grid, and, traditionally, newspapers were in the business of selling ads. It also allows more stories to appear on ...


14

I asked a similar question on the usefulness of the Golden Ratio on the User Interface site. Unfortunately, there isn't any compelling and objective evidence that the Golden Ratio actually does what everyone says it does, despite the plethora of blog posts about it. That said, I don't think that using the Golden Ratio hurts a design. It's an eye-pleasing ...


14

You have a problem with how the process of creating these marketing materials gets handled, and some clear policies need to be put in place. At my company the designers, and only the designers, create layouts and make changes. Any changes that the MMs want simply get marked up and handed over. A few rounds of changes aren't out of the ordinary, but the ...


14

I made this another answer since this is to comment on your design: You tell us that you can easily recreate professional templates. In fact i doubt it. You really have to learn a lot about webdesign. Seriously far to go, but you are eager to learn and therefor i made this mockup to explain some things. This is not to bash you, seriously no offence meant, i ...


14

As DA01 mentions, having a focal point doesn't necessarily mean the page will be unbalanced. It's good to have at least one focal point in the sense of accentuating the main message(s), for example a call to action. Now, elements can be distributed differently across a design and still be balanced (if you are using a grid, then you start with a certain ...


14

There's two questions here. Let's start with the first: Why do people use the golden ratio? Because they are lazy, or just blindly following advice without putting a lot of thought behind it. The reality is that the Golden Ratio is mostly BS. Well, BS may be a bit harsh, maybe a better term is that it's mostly arbitrary. Connections to Roman ...


14

I've designed minimalist icon sets and there are three factors which, together, make for a pretty clear indication of where the line should be. In order of importance: Usability (which, ultimately, is what icons should be for) - the most important line is the point beyond which where more minimalism makes it slower and less automatic to see what the icon ...


13

Here are some ways you can draw attention, roughly from the least subtle to the most: Movement - While effective, this should be used sparingly because it can grow distracting and annoying. Size - If a design element is larger than everything else, it will stand out. Color - Any deviation from the background colors or other colors used throughout the ...


12

Do you really need to follow the trend? Don't ever do something because it's a trend. Do things because they're good for the user's experience because that is what's best for your company and your design. Think really hard about the implications that adding a large video to your site will have and weigh the other options you have. You don't have to use this ...


11

(that's Illustrator on the left, Photoshop on the right) Raster images are just grids of pixels, like what comes out of a digital camera or a scanner. The file doesn't know what those pixels mean. Web images and digital paintings are most often raster. Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Krita, Corel Photopaint and Pixelmator are primarily raster (some have a few ...


11

@Pearsonartphoto already puts it nicely. In an effort to find the shortest possible definition that is still correct: Vector graphics are a collection of geometrical elements (primitives like circles, squares, triangles... as well as polygons and curves) that you can enlarge to any size. Raster (Pixel) graphics is a collection of coloured dots. You can't ...


11

In reality, since the implementation of multiple artboards in Illustrator the reason for using Indesign compared to Illustrator changed a bit. Pre CS4 the immediate reason was a single Indesign document rather than separate documents for each page with Illustrator. Nowadays, there are still reasons one may prefer Indesign over Illustrator but, similar to ...


11

To add a bit of science, here three things that are counter-intuitive but important to know about vision. They explain why viewers navigate visuals by drifting from a focal point, following any natural flow - and why it feels so much more jarring when there isn't a natural flow to follow. Your vision outside of the very centre of what you're focussing on ...


11

Ignoring the how old the onlooker might be, how high up, low down, indoors, artificial light or not, dark train stations, weather, is it a print sign or a screen, reflective road sign etc etc. There are a few tools that will help you calculate this, and there are some best practices. If you really want to get into this, your keyword will be signage. ...


10

Most folks won't spend more than 3 seconds looking at a business card; you probably want to make sure that either your URL or phone number is easy to see (i.e. design for lazy users). I would disagree about "no more than two colors" unless cost is a prohibiting factor. Depending on your logo and layout you may need more than that (or your logo may not fly ...


10

There's lots of type details that, if forgotten, stick out to me: not hanging punctuation using hash marks instead of quotes 'fake' italics/smallcaps/bold unnecessary forced justification causing loose letter/word spacing In web design, what bothers me is a lack of detail given to the medium: not using semantic markup not making the site accessible to ...



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