Web design is typically more dynamic than graphic design because it can help or hinder how your visitor navigates your page. For example, a web design has to incorporate space for a menu, while this is not an element of graphic designs. A page’s look and feel incorporates graphics and designs intended for view in the visitor’s browser, while the website is actually created with hypertext markup language (HTML) and other web scripting languages. These languages use text codes and, as you learn to design websites, you will be able to envision the visual result of the codes as you type them. These 5 free resources for beginner web designers aid both in the artistic and programming sides of web design.
W3Schools is all-inclusive so a designer only has to visit one website for answers. It also has a leg up over the competition because it offers several unique features, including:
· Quizzes about languages and tools that help a designer test her knowledge
· Complete HTML and CSS reference pages
· A “Do It Yourself” editor that allows designers to modify and test code examples
· Articles about designing quality websites
· Quick links to code validators
W3Schools also offers multiple books, which are available from Amazon, so designers can reference tutorials as hardcopies.
Gimp is first program that comes to mind when many designers think of free image editors. According to the official website, Gimp can be used to create images for web use or to re-touch photographs, while others may enjoy Gimp as a simple paint utility. Designers who use multiple computers can download Gimp to any system running Windows, Mac OS X or Linux.
This editing software is ideal for any designer who uses a drawing tablet because the program supports tablets out-of-the-box. The hardware support allows the designer to customize the function of buttons and scroll wheels on a mouse as well, and these buttons can become shortcuts to modify the size or opacity of a brush.
Photo enhancements are simplified with Gimp’s default correction tools and filters so even imperfect photos can become the basis of a web layout. If Gimp doesn’t provide native support for a function, designers can add it by installing a plug-in. For instance, a popular plug-in adds the option to save an image for web use.
3. Colour Lovers
Colour Lovers is a community-based website that offers palettes based on colors and patterns. A designer can use the website as inspiration when developing patterns for web projects. They may also read the posts about the latest design trends on the Colour Lovers blog, or visit the forums or blogs to seek input from over 1,500 other designers when inspiration fails. When inspiration abounds, designers can upload their patterns and palettes to the website for others to use or to save as a reference for the future.
4. Smashing Magazine
5. Web Design Library
This is another website that breaks down tutorials and content by topic and includes topics that may be overlooked elsewhere. One unique inclusion is tutorials and resources for designers who use Adobe’s Flash, an interactive technology for website. There are also number of tutorials for image editing in the various versions of Photoshop, the industry-leading graphic editing program. In addition to this, Web Design Library offers free downloads of 3D graphics, which can be used in web design.
Designers who also help clients create their web presence can check out an entire section dedicated to creating and maintaining a website, with articles about web hosting and registering a domain name.
For inspiration, new designers can check out the Showcase on Web Design Library, which features over 2,500 layouts and themes for web use. Designers can even download some of these themes for free. The website features a site of the day and site of the month, in addition to the showcase.
These resources listed here are just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless options besides W3Schools or Gimp that teach you to code, allow you to create graphics or help inspire when you run into a road block. What are your favorite free resources to beginning web designers?