Design for the Rest of Us

Tips from design greats Doug Bowman and Dave Shea.

Two things that I get asked a lot are: “What makes good design?” and “How do I learn good design?”

I spend a lot of my own time thinking about these questions, both personally and professionally. While going through some notes from this year’s SXSW festival (Austin, TX last March) I realized that I had a few good answers tucked away from the “Hi-Fi Design with CSS” panel. If you want to see the full slide shows from the panel (and ignore the rest of my post!) go to:

» Doug Bowman’s presentation
» Dave Shea’s presentation
» Dan Cederholm’s presentation

From Dave Shea’s panel session, I learned about important design concepts to master if you want to learn and practice good design:

Color theory

  • Typography
  • Form and shape
  • Spacing
  • Texture
  • Dimension

But, how to grasp these concepts? Some very good practical tips from Dave Shea:

  • Know your tools
  • Find imagery sources
  • Practice
  • Study inspiring design
  • Keep your eyes open
  • Study typography

From Doug Bowman, more great advice: Spend time looking for beautiful examples of design in nature.

I hope that I can improve my existing design skills and learn more as the year goes on. As far as inspiration, look no farther than the Garden.

Author: Lance Willett

My name is Lance, I am a blogger and web craftsman making high-quality, engaging, and user-centered experiences for people that use WordPress. México-born. Excellence Wrangler at Automattic.