Mar 2, 2013

Do not forget Typography and Color harmony for your website


While I am not (and will never be) a web designer, I recognize that slight changes in typography aspects and in the colors can significantly transform the visual impact of a website.
Colors and other text-related dimensions cannot be chosen randomly. Unless you are an expert, you do not have the instruments to wisely choose graphical elements that are in harmony.
This is because color harmony is a theory, not necessarily a natural gift. The same holds for typography: there are typography theories explaining why a text looks pleasant to be read while another one might not.

Typography and Colors are like Music: you have to follow the rules to make good things. Once you know the rules, you get to know how to break them to do even better.

Graphics designers (and designer in general) indeed are “crazy creative” people. However, they study very hard to understand how choose wisely. There is an interesting book on pattern of colors that anybody should at least rent from a Library.

There are useful tools on the Web, which help us to choose colors by either following the theory or by following some enlightened minds. Unfortunately, this is not sufficient.

If you are not an expert in graphics design and you want a cool template for a website, please hire a graphic designer. If you can not afford a freelancer, then start by buying some cool templates. I often work with WordPress (ineed.coffee uses WordPress). There are so many talented people out there, e.g., 8bit, WPZoom, and themeforest. Starting with a pre-made template is a clever move. I must confess than even graphic designers do that, in order to only focus on the interesting parts of the theme (i.e., CSS and pictures).

Once you have got a basis to work with, do not rush to touch the CSS. You might end up like a dumb customer willing to fully control the design process.
Take your time to read some material on the topic. In addition to those already reported, you have to read (and play) Interactive Guide to Blog Typography by Tommi Kaikkonen and the neat tricks on the Golden Ratio in Typography by Chris Pearson. Chris Pearson was so kind to build a web tool to create an on-line Typography Calculator for the Golden Ratio.

While all of this does not make you a graphic designer, it helps to open your mind and to adjust things.

Featured Image Credit: El Bibliomata

written by dgraziotin

Dr. Daniel Graziotin received his PhD in computer science, software engineering at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy. His research interests include human aspects in empirical software engineering with psychological measurements, Web engineering, and open science. He researches, publishes, and reviews for venues in software engineering, human-computer interaction, and psychology. Daniel is the founder of the psychoempirical software engineering discipline and guidelines. He is associate editor at the Journal of Open Research Software, academic editor at the Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) journal, and academic editor at the Open Communications in Computer Science journal. He is the local coordinator of the Italian Open science local group for the Open Knowledge Foundation. He is a member of ACM, SIGSOFT, and IEEE.

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