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July 23, 2007 9:35 AM   Subscribe

Help me find books/sites to help me learn how to make good-looking websites!

I have been making a fair number of sites lately, and while I've got the chops for programming any flashy functionality that is needed, I am hopeless for making sites that simply LOOK good (for one of the more ugly sites, refer to

I am wondering on you MeFites recommendations about books/sites/general resources on design, and just making things pretty in general.
posted by LoopyG to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I feel your pain, I know the technology underneath but suck at making anything look good.

Places I've started learning:
Before and After Magazine. It's aimed more at general graphical design, but they are the perfect bite sized articles for making pretty designs. Check out a few of their samples.

A List Apart. They focus on making CSS do what you want it to. They go into some classic layout issues like how to get a common baseline for all your text, and how to keep your page accessible. It's probably a good place to read through their archives.
posted by cschneid at 9:44 AM on July 23, 2007

For basic design principles, try The non-designers design book by Robin Williams (no, not the comedian). She also has some books specifically on web design.
posted by maudlin at 10:20 AM on July 23, 2007

Response by poster: Those books look like good possibilities maudlin, though I'll have to go to Borders first and browse it a bit to make sure its what I want (the reviews mention that there are chapters dedicated to things like registering domain names and such things). Cschneid, I already check ALA here and there, though it more tells me what I know already, which is how to make sites look like I want them to like. Trouble is, I don't know what I want them to look like! I'll be checking out Before and After though. General graphic design is fine by me, because I am hoping the knowledge I gain can help me in non-web ventures too.

Any other ideas MeFites? Surely some of you make beautiful webpages, how do you do it?
posted by LoopyG at 10:36 AM on July 23, 2007

WebCreme | Design Inspiration
CSS Beauty | Gallery

I also keep running into The Principles of Beautiful Web Design, although I haven't read it myself.
posted by junkbox at 11:39 AM on July 23, 2007

I'll 2nd the non-designers design book. It's a solid introduction to underlying principles of graphic design.

Visual design has been a real struggle for me, too. Something that helps is being really conscious of design and looking with a more thoughtful eye.

Browse galleries of sites and note which ones you think are really well designed. Start making notes about common visual techniques. (color combinations? textures? shapes?)

Then practice deliberately including those techniques in your projects. Practice is key in learning any new skill.

If you know a designer or two who you trust, ask them to help you make your work better. Specific recommendations can be helpful.
posted by epersonae at 11:39 AM on July 23, 2007

I know it's been a couple of days, but a link just turned up on that might help.

The Guinness Draught-inspired colour scheme looks good for an Irish photography site.
posted by Leon at 2:52 AM on July 25, 2007

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