The challenges which are faced by a web designer are completely unique and novel and this is something which can be assumed very easily. Web design nevertheless shares a lot of DNA with pre-existing forms of art and design despite being based on technology which is still relatively new in the grand scheme of things.
Brilliant individuals have been developing the tricks and techniques to make drawings, paintings, photography, graphic design, and other forms of visual media beautiful or arresting and arranging all the elements on a web page is as much as an act of artistic composition as the creation of an oil painting for hundreds and thousands of years of human history.
Considering their usefulness for web design, let us dive in and check out some of the classic visual art techniques that have stood the test of time.
The rule of thirds is one fundamental compositional technique that has been in use since at least the eighteenth century.
A great way of composing a compelling image is to divide it into thirds both horizontally and vertically and aligning the most important elements either along the lines themselves or at the points of intersection is what the crux of the rule is.
This is a great rule of thumb to consider for any portion layout especially which might include a hero image and some key floating elements as a website is not exactly the same as a painting or photograph as the user can scroll.
When they first arrive is a great way to impress them with your client’s style and professionalism as a greeting the website visitors with a striking and beautiful composition.
To make the users notice and respond to them as you can ensure that the key elements such as logos and call-to-action buttons are placed in compositionally strong areas.
Trying to arrange only those few elements which are key to the communication of the idea is the other aspect of good composition is not to start with too many competing elements.
As noted by artist Henri Matisse, the composition is the art of arranging in a decorative manner the various elements which the painter uses to express his sentiments as in a picture, every separate part will be visible and everything which has no utility in the picture is for that reason harmful.
Theory of Color
As it is for any other visual media, classic color theory is as relevant for web design. The vital skill for any designer is the pairing colors that complement one another and “pop” vibrantly or evokes specific emotions.
The concept of complementary colors is one essential color theory idea. They are the technical opposites when it comes to color orientations.
By picking those which that directly opposes each other on a color wheel as the complementary colors are easily selected. Blue complements orange, green complements red, yellow compliments purple and these goes on.
It can be very useful for the web designers looking for the perfect color for a call-to-action button or any other important element as complementary colors are paired in any composition will seem to “pop” vibrantly.
Designers should be aware that over-saturated and overdone color pairings can sometimes seem garish as designers should be careful not to over-use this technique.
While others may require more muted combinations and the complementary colors are excellent for the projects that require vibrant colors. On the color wheel, another color theory approach is analogous colors and provides a more harmonious blend of hues which are used together.
In any design, the color association is an important part too. Color provokes a psychic vibration is what the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky said. Acting on every part of the human body, color hides a power which is still unknown but is real.
It is a fascinating topic in and of itself as the psychology of color association is probably too broad a subject which is to be covered here.
The color choices which you make should ideally reflect the mood which you would like to convey to your visitors as it is worth considering at least in the general terms. It would be warm or cool, light or dark, saturated or muted if the vibe of your client’s business could be expressed as a color.
To ascribe specific moods or associations to colors there are plenty of sources online. Although they should perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt and it is seemingly quite rare for any two analyses to actually agree as these can be useful for general guidance.
White generally means purity, clarity, and peace in the West but it is the color of death to the Chinese as a color association is also heavily influenced by the viewer’s cultural background in any case.
Negative Space and Leading Lines
It serves to draw the viewer’s eye to an area of key interest otherwise known as a focal point; a “leading line” is a straight or slightly curved line in an artistic composition.
To focus the viewer’s eye on a specific element either by utilizing leading lines in the hero image or by employing interesting geometry in the page layout itself as this technique can be used in web design.
Either to the imagery of the product itself or otherwise to a key element of the website such as an important textbox or action button as this could be used to draw attention.
To draw attention to an element in a dynamic way with the use of negative space in the composition can also be used. The “dead space” around the subject of the image and can be used to make an element seem to be of critical, absolute importance.
The most important takeaway might be this that there are many techniques and possibilities and it is always the best to consider each project on its own merits and decide which approach will be the most appropriate for communicating the essential points in the conclusion.
In the words of Michelangelo, the main paints with his brains and not with his hands after all.
In putting your website designs on another level to your competitors by having a broad understanding of traditional art and design techniques which could be the key here. You could produce websites that are not only modern and clean but are classically beautiful works of art by learning the tricks of the old masters.