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Web layout - I got nothing


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#1 tangosdad

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:47 PM

I am doing quite well in most aspects of web development - html, css, Dreamweaver, php, jquery. My biggest weakness and achilles heel is putting together a layout in Photoshop. I know how to use photoshop, I know the tool pretty well. I can slice and dice an existing layout. But the problem is that I just sit there looking at a blank page and have zero idea how to start a layout of my own.

I sure would appreciate some suggestions how to learn to put together different types of layouts in Dreamweaver. I prefer web 2.0 type layouts, nothing real fancy or artistic, just basic user friendly designs. Is it really this difficult or do I just have a mental block?

Help please!
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#2 benjaminmorgan

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:46 PM

I really don't recommend doing the design in photoshop. Either get out a pencil and paper or just start coding. For inspiration here is a good site. http://www.csselite.com/ remember don't copy the design exactly. Just get ideas. It should help. Just take some time to browse through and find some sites you like.
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Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler. -Albert Einstein

#3 Ben

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 07:38 PM

I think the design aspect of web design is something that takes a lot of practice and experimentation. It isn't always easy to do -- just like any design work, creating something that is unique and memorable takes time and effort. I would suggest starting with pencil and paper first, and doing some sketching first before going to Photoshop or to start coding. Consider questions like:

-- Who is going to use this website? How old are they? Do they have any physical limitations that might influence the design (color/size of elements/etc.)
-- What are visitors to the site expecting? What information are they looking for?
-- What are the most important elements of the website? What message needs to be communicated?
-- Has the client (if you are working for a client) provided any guidelines regarding what sort of sites they like or dislike?

Whether you go to Photoshop first or dive straight into the code is up to you... but in my experience, I'm much more comfortable starting with Photoshop first, since it's easy to make significant positioning changes and to do detailed graphics work first in Photoshop. I have found that it usually works better for clients too, since if I started with the code and the client decided they weren't happy with the design, it could mean there would be a significant amount of time consuming recoding/redesign to do.
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Benjamin Falk
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#4 Face

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 08:09 PM

I like to draw everything via pen/paper before I even touch the mouse/keyboard.

I'm not good enough at PS to just let it all flow out on the fly, I have to know exactly where I am going before I start.

Try brainstorming on paper - drawing roughed out sketches. look at other sites for inspiration. think about the end user.

A couple shots of tequila can really give the mind a jump start ;)

But really, give a storyboard on paper a chance.

Cheers,
Face
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#5 tangosdad

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 09:11 PM

Wow, pen and paper... now that's from the pan into the fire. I'd have to take Face's suggestion of a few shots of Tequila to even draw a straight line! :-)

For me, Photoshop is the only way that I even have a shot. I've been thinking about finding a site that I like and just try to duplicate the design in Photoshop or maybe there are tutorials around that explain the intricacies of what was done behind the scenes in a basic design. I may need to toy around in some of the design tutorials for a while. Even if I have to follow a recipe step by step for awhile to accomplish SOMETHING.

Another option I've been looking around for are some templates to get me started that are real basic web 2.0 style that I then change around to my liking. Have not found any of those yet though that I like. I learned html, css, and php by tearing apart someone else's code. I've been thinking this may be the ticket for me in Photoshop but I'm not sure yet.

Thanks for the feedback!
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#6 Face

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 09:28 PM

hehe, when I say sketch it out with pen/paper - i really mean rough rough sketch. stick men, scribbles - but more than anything - just going directly from the brain to my hand to the paper. I suck at drawing - but for whatever reason it helps me stay in check and organized.

Use the tequila as a reward :P

Cheers,
Face
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