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Tips and sources for beginning designers

For some time now I have been strugling with my inability to create my own web designs. I am a pretty decent coder but I always have trouble when I have to create the interface designs. I would like to try and learn to design my own websites

Can someone with no design skills learn to create some decent designs? If so, where should they start?

I should mention I know my way around both Photoshop and Fireworks but I don't feel capable of creating any designs - even when I have a reference design to use.

Can you direct me to some books, resources , tutorials that teach from a web designer's point of view?

  • First off, full marks for recognizing that knowing how to use a design tool does not make you a designer. That instantly puts you in an enlightened minority. That said, Farray is correct; there are already good answers to this question. The one he cites is great. See also graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/2167/…, which will help. Jan 26, 2012 at 1:30

1 Answer 1


When I first started, I didn't even know how to use Photoshop so you're already one step ahead of what I was. I found it best to lay down the content that you know is necessary - or if you don't have any then just put some text layers down for things like; heading, sub heading - and then get some dummy text and divide it into a few paragraphs, do a 'feed' type layout of text and then a basic navigation (just the words).

Then mess around with them on the page until you're happy that it looks decent and then you can start drawing boxes around them. I didn't get a good design for a while, but you get there. Pick a few colours that you want to use, or Google a colour palette type site like: http://www.colourlovers.com/palettes/top

Then I just used to colour the boxes and add gradients and things like that and then eventually highlights and shadows etc to give it more depth...

Download some free brushes from Deviant Art as well and play around with those. I mostly just played around. And then when you think you've got the hang of using Photoshop to sort of create a website, then maybe try to copy other designs for a while.

Sorry I didn't really direct you to any resources as such, but I never really used anything.


  • Thanks for the post the thing is that I can create some basic stuff but thas about it I should probably start to try to recreate some already existent designs Jan 25, 2012 at 20:14
  • 2
    Yeah, the more you do it, the more you will be able to look at a design and see it for what it's made up of...when I see a website, I can picture in my mind all the elements that make it, drop shadows, strokes etc and which tools were used to create certain parts. But when you've hardly done any web designs, you just see an awesome design and wonder where on earth to start. browse.deviantart.com/?qh=&section=&q=website+design#/… < This is a fairly basic design you could try and copy.
    – Willow
    Jan 25, 2012 at 20:18
  • Note that IMO as a designer, website design is more about the experience of using it than about the look. How you organize your information and direct the experience is important. Check out ux.stackexchange.com as well.
    – horatio
    Jan 25, 2012 at 22:36

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