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Are Design Fads Ruining Your Blog or Web Site?

Even the most talented graphic designers and web designers tend to be slaves to fashion. Seemingly unable to resist the latest design trends, they often follow them without thinking–even when doing that makes blogs and web sites difficult or uncomfortable to read.
The secret is that design courses teach them to look at the layout without reading the text or headings. That’s a great strategy for checking the overall design, but if carried too far, it leads to unreadable pages–in print or on the web. They simply are not looking at how easy or hard it is to read the text, links, and subheadings.

Many people seem to assume that being flashy or fashionable is the heart of good design. But the real purpose of design, especially on the Internet, is readability. Research has shown that on the Internet great content, not stylish design, is what people search for and act upon. Web sites, blogs, and other publications should be, first of all, easy to read.

Site visitors decide in just 5 to 8 seconds whether to read the content or leave the site. You must draw them into the content right way for the site to accomplish its purpose. That means the text must be easy to read.

Black Type on White Is Still the Best. The designer of the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and other world-famous publications, Roger Black, found that if you want people to actually read what you write, the best color combination is black on white, with touches of red. Extensive (and expensive) research conducted for newspapers and magazines proves that he is correct.

That doesn’t mean white type on a black background, either. Reversed type, as it is called, must be larger and bolder than black-on-white type to be easily read. Even then, it is harder to read than plain old black on white.

Gray Type Is Too Hard to Read. Lately many web sites and blog designers are using gray type. Their employers or clients don’t seem to realize how much that hurts readership. They have no idea how much business they are losing because of this unfortunate design fad.
Generally if you zoom in, you can puzzle it out, but why bother? Most readers will just move on to another site. With a billion web sites and blogs competing for readership, often millions of them covering the same topic, there’s no need to strain your eyes on chic but badly designed sites.

Even business application forms that the site owner surely wants filled out accurately make that extremely difficult by featuring tiny gray type on a gray background. If people can’t read what they are typing, they will make more mistakes. It’s just common sense. More important, they may just decide to go apply somewhere else, where they can read the application.

Worse yet, many sites feature gray type on a colored background. Gray type on a colored background is often illegible. Faddish Colors Are Boring and Hard to Read. If gray type on white is hard to read, the new fad colors for links and headings are even worse. Orange or yellow-orange is the new designer favorite. Not only is it hard to read, but it’s boring to see the same color subheadings on every site. How can that possibly be thought to demonstrate good design skills? Next most popular are yellow green (coming up fast) and light blue. Some links and headings that I’ve seen in these design-fad colors are almost impossible to read.

How to Find out if Design Fads Are Costing You Money. If visitors leave your site without reading it, you are losing potential clients and customers. If your site has some other purpose, you are losing out on that. Take a close look at your site, especially if you use it for business, and make an honest assessment, no matter how pretty it may be:
Is the type gray instead of black? If so, you are losing potential readers in droves. People have to read constantly. Sites that make their eyes tired tend to be left behind.
Are the subheadings orange? Even if that is one of your company colors, it is still too hard read. Worse, it is now a hideous visual cliche. The message it sends is that whatever you have to say is boring, poorly thought out, and derivative, and that you don’t care if it’s hard to read. Is that really the message you want to send?

Are the subheadings light colors? Black is best if you want readership. Next best are very dark blue, very dark green, and so on, depending on the subject of the site. The truth is that the darker the color, the easier the type is to read.

If you have trouble persuading designers to give up gray text with light-colored subheadings (not to mention the dreaded light-colored type on dark background), insist on testing different versions of your site. See which one gets the best response from viewers.
Test objectively. Don’t just ask people what they think. Find out what they do. Test two or more versions to see which combination causes site visitors to take the action that you want—whether that means reading more pages of your educational site or buying products or services that you sell on line.

Get Back to Design Basics. Color is great if used wisely in large page headings and graphics, but for text, try to stick to black type on a white background. And for subheadings, keep the colors dark, subdued, and relevant to the topic of the site.

Colored backgrounds make text more difficult to read—even if you put a light color behind black type. A colored background behind colored type reduces readability.

The most successful sites are those that visitors actually read. Good design is good whether in black in white or in color. The purpose of design is to communicate, so colors should be chosen wisely to communicate first. When in doubt, stick to basic black on white text, use medium-dark blue for links, and save other colors, used sparingly, for accents.

Importance of Hand Coded PSD to HTML Service

With the advent of internet and e-industry, most of the companies come into the business of web designing and market for designing is growing continuously. This led to a substantial increase in the demand for PSD to HTML conversion services. Process of conversion services is difficult and time consuming and require profound knowledge of technology and excellent coding skills.

PSD to HTML conversion services are very popular and are used extensively. These services are helpful in converting digital images in dot (.) PSD extension into dot (.) HTML code conveniently. Moreover, it helps in smooth navigation of website. Hand coded conversion service, valid HTML coding, w3c standards makes the design search engine friendly.

As there are many PSD to HTML companies in the market and most of them give some kind of guarantee over their services like guarantee for the fastest turnaround time. But many companies are there who use automatic conversion tools, whose aim is to convert PSD files to HTML as fast as possible but quality of conversions are very poor. It reduces the usability of your webpage. Just for the sake of speed you should not compromise on the quality of PSD to HTML conversions. Page with full of errors is of no use. Moreover, when page is not hand coded, compatibility level of your webpage is not guaranteed in the entire popular browser. So, to get the quality coding PSD to XHTML conversions should be done manually.

One of the most important tasks in PSD to HTML conversion is to hire a right PSD to HTML service provider. These service providers play a significant role in hand coded PSD to HTML conversions because these highly skilled HTML developers are complimentary to web development company. Therefore, it is necessary to choose right company who provides professional touch for your web pages and can handle your project very safely.

As we all know hand made things always carry more weight-age than machine made. Same is the case with PSD to HTML conversions where you have two options with you, whether go for the software or human coders. And it’s better to opt human coders because with software conversion you have to face lot of semantic technicalities.

PSD to CSS /XHTML conversion is quite tedious task and requires great skills and experience. With the help of manual coding you can easily modify your content in future and helps in minimizing the size of the files.

Color Theory Essentials for Designers

While many of you may be graphic designers who studied graphic design software programs and computer graphics, the basics of fine art color theory are essential knowledge tools that can assist you within every aspect of your career goals; whether computer graphics, desktop publishing, web design, graphic arts, etc. Color theory involves all aspects of design, whether website design or painting. While web design doesn’t require the fine art skill that painting does, it will require that the designer understand basic visual patterns and effects.
Basic color theory can have a major impact on any one person’s reaction to a website, graphic piece or printed piece. In this article I am going to cover the basic color combinations most appropriate for text and websites. Any and every designer, digital or fine art, should understand the fundamental theories of color combinations, while they also apply it in each one of their creations. Believe me, you’ll be surprised at how useful this information will lend itself once you begin designing! After you master these basic fundamental theories for color and color design, you will have a hard time remembering how you ever designed without taking into consideration color combinations and effects.

Primary Colors: Red, Green and Blue
These three colors can be combined to make almost every color you can imagine. Acrylic painters often only need to buy these three tubes of acrylic paint in order to create their art.

Combining the three primary colors in different amounts and proportions will give you varying levels of colors.

Secondary Colors are made by combining only two of the primary colors…Cyan, yellow and magenta.

Additive colors: Red, green and blue…Why?
As you add color to them they turn more white. This is how a computer works with additive colors. But, color printed on paper is different because computers use light, the color turns more white, but printed color on paper use pigment like toner, dye or ink. These types of colors absorb light and reflect other colors.

Subtractive Colors: Cyan, yellow and magenta…Why?
As you add more color pigment to these, they become darker as they are subtract light and reflect the color coming from a flat piece of paper emitting no light like a computer screen does.
There are fundamental theories involved with hue, saturation and brightness that do not directly relate to Photoshop…But, I’ll cover those aspects in the second part of this color theory series.

How PHP Supports Web Design

Today PHP is among the latest scripting languages which has been advantageous to web design community. It is an open source freeware, thus, you need not pay anything for downloading it! Codes can be customized as per concerned requirements of clients and there won’t be any licensing activity involved in reforming the code. A web based phpmyadmin can create database tables quite easily. PHP has enhanced database support with languages like MY SQL2.0, SQL etc. i.e. it covers extensive database connectivity supporting RDBMS and DBMS. It runs on almost every platform including versions of UNIX, Windows and Macs.

It has been observed that PHP has been successful in purveying fast, scalable, secure and dynamic web portals to web design companies. HTML completely supports PHP codes, thereby, making it completely supportable platform for web development. It is easy to understand this language as it heightens simplicity in design and interface. Developers usually doubt on its security issues, but its security functions are much secure, they enhance the language security from virus as well as spyware attacks. There are forums for PHP including a vast community which provides technical support from programmers sitting in different parts of the world.

As far as its frameworks are concerned, frameworks like Zend helps in creating big portals on real estate as well as social networking portals. It is one of its unique advantages of it over other platforms. The forums for PHP help many new developers to grasp knowledge regarding language updates and issues involved in it. Moreover, this language is quite easy to learn as compared to JSP (Java Server Pages) and ASP (Active Server Pages) thus, it helps average developer mind to think and imply logics in much better way. PHP based frameworks like Joomla and Drupal often regarded as CMS (Content Management System) help in development of many corporate sites.

3 Tips for the Graphic Designer Beginner

Being a beginner is daunting. You’re rarely certain that the correct things are being done and, even if they are, you are still not set on the right path. This holds true for graphic designers who lack experience. Their creativity may be stifled by insecurity– hesitation to make the right decision. They start to shrink; their confidence retrogrades into a diminutive speck, instead of being full-grown and capable. On the other hand, there are others that are overconfident, their ego being the size of a country, who don’t know the first thing that makes a successful designer. You, as a beginner, do not want to be in either of these camps. This article aims to provide some knowledge and tips on how to swim, not sink, in the waters of graphic design.

Learn From Others
Graphic design, just like any other profession, is not arbitrarily mastered one day through sheer luck. There is no sudden “enlightenment” when you wake up one morning. Knowledge is accumulative. You may obtain a tip here, a piece of advice there. Great graphic designers didn’t become proficient by obstinately sticking to their own guns. No, they learned from others. They found ample inspiration in their neighbor. They joined design communities to learn from the pros (forums, perhaps.) They saturated themselves in these communities so that they would have more knowledge at their disposal, more “tricks” up their sleeve. Learning from others will help you find your creative pulse. Don’t insulate yourself in a lonely, ego-driven bubble. Reach out to other, become inspired.
Become comfortable in your niche

Once you’ve acquired ample knowledge, apply it to your niche. If your niche is logo design, practice often and market your attributes. Don’t be withdrawn (or too overconfident.) If you believe you have the skills to heavily market yourself, then, by all means, spread your name. Be proactive in advertising what you offer– get an accounts on Facebook and Twitter and push your name. Create a blog or website where you provide cogent details as to why you’re an amazing graphic designer. In short, become a brand that is marketable–create something that is memorable– and clients will come to you (as a beginner, you will, for a while, have to go to your clients.)

Find Balance
In the beginning, I admonished you to escape from your hesitation and inaction while urging others to drop their obnoxious egos at the door. Find a sense of balance, an equilibrium in not solely your temperament but in your skills as a graphic designer. Don’t skim your way to success. Learn by asking questions, reading articles, studying other’s design. This is how innovation is engineered– not by copying but by creating; not by creative sterility but by installing fertile imagination; through being honest with your work. These are the ingredients to a great graphic designer. I urge you to acquire them.