Contrary, to what the design of this website may suggest, I think I’m at the stage where I’m a pretty decent web designer but feeling as confident in my design abilities, as I do now is a relatively new thing.
So what’s changed
So why do I feel more like a designer now, than I did 2 years ago? One word: ‘experience’. The more experienced I’ve got by creating designs plus learning how to notice good design and imitate (and subsequently adapt) it successfully.
My first professional design
During 2003-2004, I did a work placement as a web designer for Manchester City Council – and the above screenshot shows the design I came up with for a project called MEWAN.
At the time, I was very proud of this design – it took a long time and I needed a lot of mentoring to make sure it didn’t look awful but I though it was good. Looking back now, I can see that it isn’t too great. Regardless, of its appearance – it just didn’t do a good enough job of conveying the information it needed to.
A more recent design
Although, using a quite similar colour scheme (which I’ve only just noticed) to the MEWAN design, I feel this design not only looks better, but it does a better job of selling the content to a visitor.
Creating the design took a fraction of the time that my first design took, but the results are far more substantial.
Promoting myself as a ‘designer’
Recently, I met up with a client, for whom, I’ve just completed a (well-received) design. Showing them my portfolio, made me quite pleased to realise how far I’ve progressed since those early days. I’ve always been a little scared to promote myself as capable of producing a design as well as creating the HTML/CSS templates but now I feel much more confident in doing so.
To be a good designer, you don’t have to just create something that looks good – you have to get over the message you’re trying to convey. Personally, I think that a lot of web designers (and clients for that matter) neglect the last part and tend to concentrate on creating something that looks nice.