This question have been asked by my cousin who studied chemistry and now he seems to be interested in web designing. Quite a transition I thought. The first thing I could retort was “Are you creative?”. But let’s skip that. Here are the techy skills and required stuff to get started.
1. Choose a platform, PC or Mac
The never ending debate! I’m a PC user and it works fine with me. But if you are on this creative field you’ll be surrounded with Mac users who’ll sway you that Mac is a better computer for creative professionals and those who sings “Mac rocks PC sucks or Mac blings PC stinks” or whatever. Well, Mac is a pretty sweet looking machine. Leopard, the latest operating system of Mac has a lot of cool features too. So it’s really tempting to choose it over PC. However, Mac is a lot more expensive than PC. Although if Mac are not like 5x more expensive in Manila than in US, I’d definitely splurge on it. My 2 cents is, PC or Mac, it’s up to you. It’s just a matter of preference. At the end of the day, it’s your design that will be judge, not your equipment. :)
All you really need is a graphic editor, html editor, a browser and ftp client.
- Photoshop, is the industry standard for graphic editing. It’s what you’re going to use to design the graphics and the layout of your website.
- Dreamweaver is the html editor of my choice. After designing the comp in Photoshop, splice up those graphics, fire up Dreamweaver and put those graphics back together using XHTML and CSS.
- Firefox, everyone’s favorite browser is also my choice for viewing and testing my web pages. But don’t forget to test your pages on other browsers as well, such as Internet Explorer (v5-7), Safari browser for Mac, Opera, Mozilla, and Netscape. You have to make sure that your web page displays properly on different browsers.
- FireFTP is a powerful Firefox plugin which allows you download and upload files to and from your web server.
- Flash is another web design software that is use to create animation. You can actually create a full flash based website. Although I suggest that you learn Photoshop, XHTML/CSS, and web standards first.
Imagery and typography is paramount in web design. Here’s a list where you can get them.
4. Creative talent
Do you agree? My answer is no and yes.
No, because anyone can come up with a design. All it takes is some technical knowledge and basic layout principles. The question is, is it a good design? Is it a design that sells?
What defines a good web design has 2 standpoints. The first focuses on usability and functionality. The second is on aesthetics. This means that a good web design should be both usable and visually appealing.
Don’t be discouraged. I don’t think it’s always like that. I know many designers who are not great with designs. But why do they have customers could be 1. they’re a good salesman, or 2. their designs looks good on their customers even if it looks crap to others. Which only proves “Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye”.
That might work if you are carving your own path as a freelance designer. But what if you are applying to a design agency? Web design is part of the creative industry. Ofcourse the talented designer is more competetive, right? I also answered yes, creativity is required. Well, not really required, but preferred. A good designer is more competetive than ‘just a web designer’.
I’m having a headache while I’m writing this. I wasn’t really sure where to stand lol All I can say now is, if you want to design and if you have a passion for it, go for it! All it takes is inspiration and experience to come up with a good design.
Recommended Sites and Books
- Beginning HTML with CSS and XHTML: Modern Guide and Reference (Beginning: from Novice to Professional)
- The Principles of Beautiful Web Design
- The CSS Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks
- The Art and Science of CSS
Photoshop Effects Tutorials - There are lots of tutorial sites out there. Google is your friend.
- CSS Remix – www.cssremix.com
- CSS Mania – www.cssmania.com
- and lots more. Again Google is your friend. Search best css design gallery ^_^
Training Center (Philippines)
- Philippine Center for Creative Imaging – www.pcci.com.ph
If you have any comment or additional tips, please do. But no brawling please ^_^
Love and peace,