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  1. #1
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    I've been trying to get a layout and design fixed for a web site I'm planning to build for over a year now, and it's driving me nuts. For the life of me, I can't think of a design that would be suitable for this project. I don't feel inspired. Over the last year the site has seen numerous incarnations, but I've always quite half way through and decided to start from scratch on a better one.

    The site is called "Network Play," and we are aiming to create a general interest web site. Articles, commentaries, reviews, tutorials, essays, features, fan sites and the like which are based upon any given subject. Because content will be at the centre of this web site, I need something functional, but I still want it to be appealing. I'm having trouble combining these two elements.

    Basically, what I'm asking is how do you get started on web design projects? I've already outlined the content and how it will be delivered, both in my head and on paper, but I just have no vision of a completed site. When I sit down with pencil and paper, my head is clogged up with previous (and innevitably doomed) incarnations of this site. So please, if you have any advice on how to create layouts and designs, share them with me! I will be most greatful for any help

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  3. #2
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    Do whatever feels right. I can't really help, all my designs just jump from my brain onto the paper. I just let my brain and pen work together in harmony, and it works well.
    Rednerve
    Creative Freelance Design

  4. #3
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Here is something quite profound ...

    The very same HTML/Text content with alterations to the CSS style sheet.
    Done by several different people. Note how the look and feel are so much different with each one, even though the content is the same.

    Maybe something like this will inspire you ... it certainly does to me.

    Click on the various contributions by different authors:

    http://www.csszengarden.com/


  5. #4
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    Thanks for the link, it was very helpful After having a look around that site, I feel the need to ask a question, if I may-

    Do you think it is possible to be artistic, while retaining function, form and accessbility when creating a web site? Or do you feel that more fanciful layouts are best reserved for web sites who's purpose is to be just that; fanciful?

  6. #5
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    The key word here is "artistic" ...

    Note that most of the sites basically have a different "artistic" image
    at the top and various fonts and colors. Such a simple change between
    each one gives them all a unique "feeling" toward them. Some even have
    subtle changes such as gradient backgrounds.

    I would approach your project in sort of the same way. Get your site
    totally functional, error-free, easy navigation, etc. THEN, do some
    experimenting with color, images, fonts, etc. If you happen to use
    CSS (like CSS Zen Garden's experiment), you'll be able to accomplish
    a similar thing.

    "artistic", "fanciful" ... I guess would be in the eye of the beholder.

    I would definitely stick to something easy to read ... take this forum
    for example. Black text on white background, but with different shades
    of blue, subtle faded graphics on the header boxes, etc. I guess I
    would consider it more "artistic" than plain solid color boxes ... yet,
    it is very functional?

    Interesting though how frustrating it is ... I do the same thing you do.
    I can create sites for others and they are thrilled. I create a site
    for myself, and I struggle to "get it right".


  7. #6
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    I do have that problem myself. For some reason, when you design for yourself, you can never impress yourself. The key, however, is to know that it's not your skills that are off, it's your expectations that are the problem...
    Rednerve
    Creative Freelance Design

  8. #7
    Senior Member GeZe's Avatar
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    try picking a colour sceme first

    http://www.colorschemer.com/online.html

    then write down things that you think of when you think of that coloour(s) then use those things to make a design.
    -GeZe

  9. #8
    Senior Member Eddy Bones's Avatar
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    I take my old designs, "analyze" them, and add to them. Or at least I think that would be a good idea. What was once seen as bad can be made good without a complete theme/layout redesign. Try puting a new twist on something old. Add some subtle flair (yeah, that's a nice paradox there...).

    I've been redesigning the same site for 2 years and I'm still not happy with it because I keep telling myself it's getting old. Other people love it, but it just isn't what I want it to be. Yet I have not changed the way it's laid out; the nav positioning, the text box style, the boxy logo. It works, but I try to make it work better.

  10. #9
    Senior Member mossoi's Avatar
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    Good timing - I was in the middle of writing this when I saw your post :classic:

    http://www.lobsterweb.com/articles.php?var=13

  11. #10
    Senior Member DanielOliver's Avatar
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    sites like http://www.cssvault.com and http://www.cssbeauty.com are always good places to start if you are lacking design ideas and inspiration.
    http://www.stylegala.com is another. There are also loads of flash site galleries around. Hundreds.
    All have a number of great designs. If these sites don't get you going, I don't know what else will.


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