I’m very new to the whole graphics and web design thing, and upon trying to put together the first few pages for a site im working on, have realized that nothing looks as good as i imagined it would.
The major problem seems to be that everything looks like a kindergarten school project, with solid, blocky colours that are too bright.
I’ve realized that i need to make things more sleek- Subtle patterns instead of solid colours, shadows, multi-faceted borders…
Only thing is i have no clue where to start, so i was really hoping someone could give me like 5 of the top/most commonly used techniques that tend to be used to make a page look more elementary and less professional.
I guess 2 tips that i have so far seem to be that i should use softer (less vibrant) colours and that i should use subtle patterns instead of solid colours.
Thanks in advance!
If you have trouble choosing matching colors or selecting an appropriate combination for the design you are working on, you should check out adobe’s application called kuler:
There is thousands of user made combinations which you can browse and use for your projects and you can also create your own by using their creation tool which incorporates the most commonly used color rules.
As for tips, the only thing I can tell you is that from my experience subtlety and simplicity are the key. For example, a gradient with two colors that are so much alike you can’t even tell they aren’t the same can make the difference between something that looks good and something that looks great. In fact, if I’m not mistaken (which i could be as I’ve not checked other than by looking) I belive the div’s on the sides such as the the “community bulletin” one have a very soft degradee. Also try blending div’s together to create more complicated designs such as this, or maybe even try make it so that you can’t even tell the different div “sections”. Other than that, shadows, patterns and small details are what makes a good design.