Have you been putting off creating a website because you can’t picture the end result? This article will take you from vague concept to comfort zone when it comes to mapping out a site that’s true to who you are and ready to build.
Where to begin? Since images and photography often shape the mood of a website, start by visiting TheInspirationGrid.com, a great resource for photography, branding ideas and design visuals. You can also check out Pinterest.com, where you can create your own mood board with images found around the web or browse existing pinboards based on keywords. For example, do a search on Pinterest for “website inspiration.” You’ll get a slew of ideas and start to acquire a good sense of what visual styles you like and don’t—from images and mood, to layout, color, and font combinations.
Learning your visual likes and dislikes is critical when it comes to website design—and an important step in developing your own online personality. Collect appealing images and design ideas, either on your pinboard, or in a Word file or other location. Voila! You’ve officially begun to map out your site.
Next, because color is a major design factor in its own right, do some “hue research” at ColourLovers.com. Get inspired and focus your preferences by browsing colors, palettes and patterns. Also, cruise Colour Lovers’ color-driven blogs, trends and forums to discover more eye-grabbing ways to engage your web audience. You’re bound to find more than a few ideas that capture the look and feel you want for your site. Add them to your pinboard or Word file.
After studying images, pinboards, and color and setting aside current faves, dive into the world of typefaces. For a winning collection, head over to fontsinuse.com. Considered a paradise for typography nerds, this site serves up a fresh crop of gorgeous current fonts you can easily sort by industry, format or typeface name. Try on different font sizes and combinations and pair them with the images and colors you’ve gathered. Your “map” should be taking on more focus and depth, as you make decisions on these finer details.
Now that you’re familiar with visual design tools and have made some informed decisions to pinpoint your style, zoom out to regain a larger perspective and further explore site design possibilities. For more website-specific inspiration, check out:
An excellent resource for modern website inspiration, with filters to find websites by style, industry and other options.
Another high quality website gallery, with an emphasis on forward-thinking designs and layouts.
An online gallery of responsive (mobile-friendly) websites leaning towards clean and modern design.
Use the information you glean from these sites to revise or add to your map. And . . . that’s it! If you’ve invested time and thought in the steps given here, your pinboard or Word file should be a vision of your dream website. Whether you build the site yourself or have it done by a designer, you’ve taken a huge step towards bringing the end result you want to life.
Hey, you’ve waited a long time to get moving on your site. Pick up the tools suggested here to finally put one foot in front of the other—and go from vague design concept to full-blown and fonted-out cyberspace expression.
After all, you have some great ideas.
Now’s the time to get them down on paper (real or virtual)—and maybe even bring them to life.