Colour is subjective. There’s no right answer. But there are definitely some firm guidelines. Pale blue, maroon and yellow for example, fall outside these guidelines (I’m looking at you Aston Villa). But then sometimes, out of nowhere, colours you assumed were hideous can work. Is there ever a reason to use mustard? Yes!
Unless they’re very scary:
When used correctly, good imagery can make a website, especially in the increasingly popular flat design trend. The layout matters, of course. Our centre-aligning days are behind us. Everyone prefers pictures to walls of text, as long as they’re high quality and appropriate. I’ve drawn a handy diagram to illustrate the preferences for your website imagery:
The other night, I spent one hour tweaking, saving, repositioning, resaving, retweaking, resaving header art for a client’s Twitter account. Nudge the logo a few pixels up. A few pixels right. Resave. No, not quite right. Nudge the logo a few pixels down. Hmmm, still not perfect.
It does not strike me as odd or unusual that this level of pedantry can be given to making a website. This is me all over really. With my artwork, I thrive on my ability to obsess over a miniscule part of the picture until it is, in my mind, the best 1 cm squared of artwork that has ever existed. Now, that being said, as a human being who strives for doing the best at everything, after some time has passed I will begin to feel disgust at how bad that 1 cm squared is. Human nature means that most of us want better. After betterment, we want more betterment. This is healthy.
So, one of the things I love about web design is devoting a seemingly extortionate amount of energy to a seemingly menial task. This effort is not lost in translation either – you can see when a designer has put that much thought into how something looks or functions. The very best websites demonstrate this. For example, when I feel the need to daydream about winning the lottery, I browse extraaircraft.com. The imagery is delicious and the layout is unusual. The blocky nature of the links, headings and quotes provide consistency. For me as a web designer, there are elements in that site that are clever and surprising and this intrigues me.
Attention to detail drives all other skills – I know that if I am confounded by some issue with a website, I will feel terribly uncomfortable using a workaround or a backup option. Sure, the workaround might work but… Is it correct? Knowing I need to master a skill to get around that issue is enough of an incentive to go away and skill up until I understand the issue inside and out and, most importantly, can fix it!
I like to think that this is what sets us apart. Anthea and Laura are OCD about web design. There are always images to be aligned better, font colours that could be lightened slightly and, oh maybe we need to put that box up a few pixels and add a background and definitely make that text 1 point bigger…
This is why we are Fractalise: there is an never ending checklist of tweaks to achieve a perfect website, and we just love that.
Galway Startup Weekend
The team (Laura and I, two people count as a team) spent our weekend doing Galway Startup Weekend. It’s a start up initiative. You have a group of people (about 60-70 at the Galway event) of varying skill sets that form mini companies and develop a business idea. At the end you pitch to a panel of judges and if you win the prizes are pretty great.
I was 12 when we got our first computer. It was an Apple iMac – a top of the range, cathode ray tube monster with a funny one-button-mouse. My brother and I used to play Nanosaur and Solitaire on it.
When we got a phone line splitter, the dial-up internet was ours. After 6pm, the internet rates were cheaper so our parents enforced strict after-6 surfing rules. Every few months I would change my allegiance from Netscape Navigator to Internet Explorer and back again.
I soon discovered Yahoo GeoCities, registered an account and started learning HTML. Webpages back then were simply horrendous!
Hello. Welcome to our wonderful world of website and graphic design. I thought I would open with the story of our name.
If you’ve ever been to a table quiz, you’ll know the distress, rage, uncertainty and anxiety associated with picking a name. Sometimes there’s a prize for best name, so even if your useless teammates don’t know Jimi Hendrix was a member of Club 27, you might still walk away with that coveted box of Roses chocolates. You argue, you rack your brains trying to think of other table quizzes you’ve been at where teams had brilliant names, you settle on “Team 8” and live with the shame. You don’t win any chocolates and Anne’s brother Dave has never heard of Jimi Hendrix.
So imagine that… Times a thousand.