Designing for the Web ~ Layout
The visual language guide documents how the site can be built out in the future. From the various colourways for each section, through to how the various content objects work in the grid. It’s important to note that this document is by no means a comprehensive guide to cover every eventuality. Those types of guideline—design documents generally fail. Many designers do not like to work within strict constraints. Instead, we proposed this document to be a starting point. It touches on all the different elements of the visual language, but provides enough scope for creative movement for the various editors and designers who will be working on the site. Providing this framework allows people to be creative in the future, and by doing so, they should feel a degree of ownership. The visual language will begin to represent the ongoing content on the site, not describing a designer’s vision. That is a subtle but important distinction.
The principles of layout — from composition theories to grid systems – largely do not rely on the medium of the design’s delivery; most of the layout theories I’ve discussed are derived from either print design or photography. There’s a good reason why they shouldn’t be discounted. In ‘Getting Started’, I highlighted that early in the development of web design, many designers practicing web design were print designers. They used established conventions and graphic design practice to create web sites. This wasn’t a bad thing — it was all they knew — but over the past ten years the words ‘print’ and ‘web’ are often met with grimaces from web designers working in the industry now. The old ‘the web is not print’ argument raises its head every now and then, and we cover the same ground, and reach the same conclusions. The result is that web designers are not learning applicable graphic design craft. There is still much we can learn from the practice of graphic design and layout is just one.
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Designing for the web