Most individuals who train to become graphic designers are proficient in print design, brochure layout, and Pantone Matching System (pms). The reality is that not enough attention is given to becoming good web designers. It is a more specialized field that many will defer to coders and developers, but design input and implementation is key to web site success. These days, more and more people access all their key information online.
Web design is a totally different medium with numerous different factors. You don’t have a static paper size, but rather different screen resolution for each viewer. Color considerations don’t cost extra. Considerations of quality and quantity of images is also key.
One area that becomes simpler for the designers is what fonts you can use. Since there are only a few fonts that look similar and easily readable online, there are limited options what Windows and Mac computers consider “browser safe fonts.” For Windows it is Aria, Arial Black, Book Antiqua, Comi Sans MS, Courier New, Georgia, Lucida Console, Tahoma, Times New Roman, Trebuchet MS and Verdana although Times New Roman and Arial get used the most. For Macs it is Arial, Aria Black, Palatino, Comic Sans MS, Courier New, Georgia, Monaco, Geneva, Times, Helvetica Charcoal and Verdana. Even subtle changes between these acceptable fonts can dramatically change the way your site feels or how you might choose to lay it out optimally.
When working on a website, there a number of significant considerations of which to be aware. One important one is the important balance between a graphically rich site and one that will load quickly. People are impatient and will move on if your website loads too slowly. Slow, confused or overly complex sites won’t even be indexed properly in the search engines.
Many developers, but few graphic designers, have learned techniques to overcomes some of these obstacles and still display a creative layout and design. This can limit the role or importance of input from the graphic designer if they aren’t aware of some solutions. Simply using Photoshop isn’t enough. Some try using WYSIWYG editors, but they can generate lots of unnecessary complexity of code that slows downloads and doesn’t dramatically improve their control over the layouts.
It is rare to find naturally gifted graphic designers who also are talented programmer. That is due in large part to the fundamental different skills involved. In fact the dominant elements of each world use different sides of their brain. The creative individual uses more of the right brain, while the logical is more left brained.
Some examples of common issues that graphic designers working online can run into include not having supported frames for your browser, cached pages with improper information (e.g. blue triangle). The viewer then runs into a problem where the site can look wonderful only if they have the right plugins, or it can take forever to load. The additional worry is that the site won’t be found or rank well in the ever important search engines.
Graphic designers are talented, creative, passionate, and strong willed individuals, but if they are to succeed in today’s design world, they need to prioritize and familiarize themselves with good web design elements that will keep them an important consideration on the design team. Don’t be afraid to approach an experienced web designer for helpful hints so you don’t waste your creative efforts on elements of design that can’t be implemented realistically on the website.