Papaerback - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Non-Designers-Design-Book-Robin-Will...
Kindle - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Non-Designers-Design-Book-3rd-ebook/...
Last weekend I finished reading "The Non-Designer's Design Book": http://www.amazon.co.uk/Non-Designers-Design-Book-Robin-Will....
So, I decided to test my newly formed designer skills and modify the look of the site here:
The central point of the book is that we can tell when something is off with a design, but rarely we know how to fix it. So, yea this is what I thought need fixing on the site:
1. There is conflict between "What" and "Less Boilerplate" Header. Firstly, the fonts are the same size, so they are competing for who gets viewed first. Second, the orange on "What" is a warm color so it will stand our more, hence overpowering the header. So, I shrunk the "What" and increase "Less Boilerplate."
2. Too control the eyeflow from top to bottom, I increase the size of the navigation bar.
3. I increased repetition by changing the color of the header to white,the text to white and the separator in the navigation bar to white.
4.To highlight the "What" more I indent the text under it. And also set the text under it to be the same font size. There is no conflict here, since the header "What" is already highlighted alot.
5. To show what items that are important under "What", I bold the text that is not in the list.
To answer your questions:
Why are you interested in learning more about design?
Because I want to spend my career making people feel the way I felt when I first used an iPod. I picked the iPod here because it seems to be the stock example that gets trotted out whenever someone needs to reference good design, but you can replace it with whatever well designed product you like. We've all had those experiences in our lives where we use something new, and it makes something that was previously difficult easy. That's the kind of stuff I want to spend my time creating, and a sound knowledge of design is a means to that end.
What have you found confusing about design?
When and how to break the rules. I'm a fan of Robin Williams' Non-designers Design Book (http://www.amazon.com/Non-Designers-Design-Book-Robin-Willia...), but as a consequence my projects can look a little sterile because I follow the rules exactly as she lays them out.
In contrast, if you go and look at something made by Jason Santa Maria (an outstanding web designer at the top of his game) (http://jasonsantamaria.com/portfolio/) you'll see he breaks a lot of the rules, and it doesn't matter. In fact, it often times makes the work better.
Perhaps you can't codify or reverse engineer that. Jason has design talent. Me, not so much.
What is one blog post/book/movie, etc. that has helped you better understand something about design?
I'm fond of The Contemporist (http://www.contemporist.com/) for its great photography of great architecture. It's a great place to draw inspiration. My favourite post so far: http://www.contemporist.com/2010/05/20/chicken-point-cabin-b...
What software tools do you find useful when designing?
For HTML/CSS/PHP I tend to use Espresso (http://macrabbit.com/espresso/). I never mock up web pages in Photoshop. I go straight to code.
For desktop software, I'm a big fan of Microsoft Visual Studio's IDE.
Other than that, I'd ignore dublinclontarf and learn to design directly in your edit + your browser. That's where the magic happens. As far as I see it, there is absolutely no reason to use Photoshop or Gimp up front for that much stuff if you are a html/firebug/css ninja.
FYI this was where I first heard the acronym:
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