I'm learning web design. When I design a page I ask my friends to tell me their opinions about it and I always get the same answer: it's dull and boring. They say my designs are nice but very dull, static and boring. I always get this answer. Then I tried to Google this with the query "responsive design" and I found that responsive design is something completely different to my problem.

So my questions are:

1- What are the technical terms for dull/boring designs? I need this so I can search on Google on how to fix my problem.

2- Can you please give me resources to tutorials on the web that teaches minimalistic, clean and non-dull designs?

Edit: I think my problem can possibly be fixed by proper use of color and typography, but I don't know how I can learn to have a 'taste' or if this can even be learned. :(

Edit2: I always see very basic single-page website that are extremely basic but look so rich and exciting. I think the secret is always about color and typography.

Edit3: I'm particularly passionate about designs like these: enter image description here

  • 1
    Check out: What are the key principles that effective designs share? The books mentioned are great for learning, not to mention all of the topics people have summarised and referenced.
    – Dom
    May 13, 2014 at 22:31
  • The image in your example; is that the sort of thing you like? That could well be construed to be dull. You need to learn to see. See everything visual around you, mentally collect shapes, forms, type, images. Cut stuff out of magazines. Bookmark and screenshot good sites. Then, the most important thing: dare. Take chances, and test hunches.
    – benteh
    May 13, 2014 at 22:46

2 Answers 2


The secret is the ability to see. You are right ... it's not something you learn by reading a book. It's something you develop by looking at good design. Looking at my own work, I developed this ability to see in the period 2003-2010. That's 7 years for a self taught designer like me. I guess you can speed up the process by doing what I did. I started deconstructing designs that I like. I measured spaces, extracted color schemes, font faces and in general I was searching for the "magic" in each design that I liked. What I found as "THE MAGIC" is geometry and proportion. That's all you have to understand. Proper division of space and achieving proper "weight" of elements and colors. You should size elements in proportion to the medium they would occupy. This would help you a lot, because sizing is a key procedure in design. After you understand proportional sizing, you can get more creative by slightly pushing certain proportions in order to give some visual tension or freedom.

Then try experimenting with colors. Place 2 boxes and color them, so that they look equal. What I mean by equal is that your eyes don't prefer one to the other in any way. Then try making one bigger and try to balance them with color and space.

The design you posted is based on a grid with 6 columns for the header but then switch to 3x/2 *2 and 2x + 1 for the body which gives this stylish look. There is variance but it's proportional!


'm particularly passionate about designs like these

enter image description here

Let's take a look at some of the design principles that would apply to that particular example. Maybe it will help you figure things out with your designs.

  1. It uses a grid. The grid provides consistency and structure to the document. It allows for alignment providing visual paths and connections through the content.

  2. It uses scale and contrast. Large image vs. small image. Large type header vs. small body type. Bold headers vs. text weight body copy. Solid blocks of photo area vs. light and airy text areas.

  3. It uses white space well. Sections of content are 'framed' with breathing room allowing one to focus on the parts individually (yet, the page as a whole feels solid and cohesive due to he grid). It also has healthy margins along the outside.

  4. Hierarchy. There's a clear hierarchy to the page. Top vs. middle vs footer. Left to right. It makes for easy 'wayfinding'.

  5. Thoughtful typography. The type choices feel thought out. Typesetting is careful with attention paid to leading, line length and the like.

  6. Minimal decoration. There is decoration with the photos and horizontal lines, but they are used minimally and are there to compliment, rather than compete with the content.

  7. Variety. While there's a solid grid, and the page, as a whole, is mostly text, there is still variety to the layout. Double width columns on the left, single width on the right...shift in column widths (but not the grid) from horizontal section to horizontal section.

Hopefully that's a start for you. Take a look at your page and ask yourself it deals with any of the above. If not, experiment by adding it into the mix.

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