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Structuring your layout with form

From: Design Aesthetics for Web Design

Video: Structuring your layout with form

Number five in the elements of design is form. Form is one of those elusive characteristics in art and design, which can sometimes be difficult to grasp at the start. Here we'll begin with a simple description, and then we'll learn how we can use this knowledge to deliberately create unified structure. Within a web layout. The simplest description of form is, the overall mass of shapes within your design and how they relate to one another. Think of the massive shapes as meaning, the sum of all the parts.

Structuring your layout with form

Number five in the elements of design is form. Form is one of those elusive characteristics in art and design, which can sometimes be difficult to grasp at the start. Here we'll begin with a simple description, and then we'll learn how we can use this knowledge to deliberately create unified structure. Within a web layout. The simplest description of form is, the overall mass of shapes within your design and how they relate to one another. Think of the massive shapes as meaning, the sum of all the parts.

You see, you can place the logo at the top of a design. But, how it fits into the overall design with the rest of the elements can only be determined when you have finished adding all of the rest of the elements to your layout, and then consider the group of shapes as a whole. That's form. Good form, then, would be a design in which everything in it looks like it's meant to go together. Like it has always existed, and nothing is out of place. Some people refer to that phenomenon as having all of the structural elements hang together well.

The parts all fit perfectly together, like a hand in a glove. So here's where you come in. If form is the structure of your design it's up to you as the designer where to place all of the elements in the design. Doing that well often takes time and considerable care. One trick that many designers employ to create successfully formed designs is to plan and execute their designs in black and white, or grey as you see here, first. This almost always guarantees that your design will be a success when you're ready to add color.

Andy Patrick Design at andypatrickdesign.com is an excellent example of really good form. His sites elements relate interestingly to each other in each distinct section, and he's using parilex scrolling to manipulate the form. As visitors use the site. So let me show you what it looks like. So as we scroll down, look, that little airplane comes out. It's stationary but, as we're scrolling, it looks like it's moving. And as you can see, each section is a little bit different, but there's a nice cohesion. It's really organized >> And interesting to look at.

And you want to explore and see what's next in each section. Other designers often play with form on the web by incorporating other interactive elements like sliders, accordions, and other HTML5 or CSS3 2D and 3D animation type effects. This, in particular, is a wonderful site. For a website to use good form, it should have an overall clean balanced design using interesting interactive features, with clearly defined areas of interest. So in this example, we have the layout.

There's the branding, there's the navigation. Some images to take you into other parts of the website. Some instant giant headline, some text that you can scan or skim, a little sidebar that highlights with check marks, some important things that the viewer might be interested in learning. Another section to highlight services, reason post testimonials get in touch, and a footer. When you're designing your own web projects, think of form as a way to create a balanced, harmonious layout.

Work with the grid systems to see how all the pieces fit together, and relate to one another as a unified whole. I want you to be organized, be innovative, and keep interesting. However you ultimately end up placing all of the elements on your page in your design, keep the concept of form in mind. Form is the overall massive shapes within your design and how they relate to one another. Start working in black in white. Place your content deliberately. And try to build your site structure with form in mind, so that the whole design makes sense.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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Design Aesthetics for Web Design

32 video lessons · 13978 viewers

Sue Jenkins
Author

 
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  1. 2m 8s
    1. Welcome
      38s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 30s
  2. 9m 10s
    1. Understanding aesthetics
      4m 41s
    2. Examples from art and design
      4m 29s
  3. 35m 44s
    1. Understanding the elements of design
      1m 47s
    2. Using color to set the site's mood
      5m 50s
    3. Tweaking color values to add contrast
      3m 30s
    4. Using texture to add depth
      4m 53s
    5. Repeating shapes to unify your design
      2m 43s
    6. Structuring your layout with form
      3m 50s
    7. Using space to organize your design
      4m 38s
    8. Setting boundaries with line
      4m 36s
    9. Communicating with the right fonts
      3m 57s
  4. 38m 26s
    1. Understanding the principles of design
      1m 45s
    2. Using contrast to set areas of interest
      3m 8s
    3. Applying font styles to show emphasis
      5m 23s
    4. Aligning objects to achieve balance
      4m 40s
    5. Using hyperlink styles to create a sense of unity
      4m 10s
    6. Applying background patterns to create harmony
      3m 14s
    7. Adding movement with scrolling and animation
      3m 31s
    8. Using border styles to add rhythm and repetition
      2m 57s
    9. Achieving proportion by scaling objects and text
      2m 43s
    10. Simplifying by removing the unnecessary
      3m 21s
    11. Using gradation to create perspective
      3m 34s
  5. 37m 45s
    1. Responsive web: Creating CSS for different devices
      3m 2s
    2. Composition: Using the grid to organize space
      4m 45s
    3. Typography: Choosing and using web fonts
      5m 15s
    4. Color theory: Picking harmonious colors
      4m 16s
    5. Communication: Leading viewers through a design
      6m 30s
    6. Accessibility: Using size and color effectively
      6m 10s
    7. Originality: Stepping out of the box
      7m 47s
  6. 1m 57s
    1. Next steps
      1m 57s

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