A client and I were talking this morning about his website design. Neither of us is crazy about it.
After I suggested that he look at some websites he likes to give him direction and inspiration, he remarked, "I know good design when I see it, but that doesn’t mean I can do it."
Well, actually, yes it does.
As my friend and design mentor Ben Hunt points out, conventions are your friend. If you see a site whose layout and font and color scheme you like, it’s yours for the picking.
Only Michelangelo could paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. But once he did it, any two-bit hack could reproduce the Lord and Adam at will.
If you’re not a web designer, and you don’t have the budget or patience or delegation skills to hire one (none of these are good reasons, by the way), then be proud of being the two-bit hack who at least can recognize good design when you see it.
Here’s an example of a site I love:
It’s Sherman Hu’s WordPressTutorials.com. Note that he drew upon the design motif from Apple.com, arguably the world’s best-designed site.
So say you wanted to use this design in your landing page. Just find the source code of the page, and look for the style sheet link near the top. In this case, it’s
Add that to the end of the domain, i.e. http://wordpresstutorials.com/stylev2.css and enter it into your address bar.
You’ll see the code that Sherman used to create his beautiful page.
Now you can create on that looks just like it. You’ll need to create your own graphics, of course. But even a mediocre designer can copy outstanding design.
And if you’re not a coder, pay someone to create a nice style sheet for you, based on a site that you find appealing.
Good web design is not longer a mystery. Don’t let the fact that you’re not Michelangelo keep you from putting nice art on your office walls.