Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Understanding aesthetics

From: Design Aesthetics for Web Design

Video: Understanding aesthetics

What is aesthetics? Why should it be important to you as a web designer? In this lesson we'll explore these questions and discover some reasons why paying attention to aesthetics is important for good design. In general terms, aesthetics is an area in philosophy in which practitioners study beauty as it relates to art. Plato first spoke of the pleasure brought on about by the quality of beauty. Later, Aristotle furthered the idea that it was the function of art to create an experience of pleasure in the viewer.

Understanding aesthetics

What is aesthetics? Why should it be important to you as a web designer? In this lesson we'll explore these questions and discover some reasons why paying attention to aesthetics is important for good design. In general terms, aesthetics is an area in philosophy in which practitioners study beauty as it relates to art. Plato first spoke of the pleasure brought on about by the quality of beauty. Later, Aristotle furthered the idea that it was the function of art to create an experience of pleasure in the viewer.

Based on a Greek word that referred to sense perception, the term aesthetics was coined in the 1730s by a philosopher named Alexander Baumgarten. He also introduced the concept of taste, whereby one judges the beauty of an object by one's senses. That is, their sight, their sound, touch, taste, and smell. So what makes a thing beautiful? Can we disagree about beauty? Could then, beauty be objective? Well, yes and no.

Many might agree that some things say, like the Mona Lisa, are irrefutably beautiful. There can be a historical, contextual, and subjective component to what is considered beautiful In the 1870s, Immanuel Kant revised the concept of aesthetics as the subjective means by which one can judge and appreciate beauty. He further stated that beauty is subjective, it can shift over time, and it is dependent on context. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, beauty is the quality in a thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.

In other words, beauty arises when qualities like color, form, and shape are combined in a way that pleases the aesthetic senses and the intellect. However, if beauty is subjective, and can shift over time, and is dependent on context, Can a work of art or design be considered beautiful today, and then not beautiful in 100 years? Aesthetics as it relates to graphic design in the 21st century, has come to refer to the visual attractiveness and cohesiveness of work.

Which usually means utilizing one or more of the elements and principles of design, which we'll discuss later. Good design communicates more than words, good designs communicate a mood or a feel that goes beyond the content in the design. So, why should you pay attention to aesthetics as a web designer? Because today, especially with the prevalence of the internet and touch enabled devices like tablets and smart phones, design aesthetics is moving beyond the visual to include other senses like hearing and touch.

Designs for the web should be fluid to adapt to a variety of devices which requires more thought and attention to detail than a static design used for print. In design, as with the fine art and marketing, first impressions are vital. In fact, they matter so much that the beauty or aesthetics of a design can make the difference between a positive and negative brand association. Good design can produce positive feelings about a product or service. Think about your own preferences as a consumer.

The visual appeal of a particular design is often immediate and unconscious, and can be just as important as a non-visual quality of a product or service like price or durability. I can't legally show you examples of bad web design without first getting permission from the creator, which admittedly, would be difficult for the bad examples. I'm sure you've seen in your own Internet travels examples of sites that blow you away with their beauty and their creativity. And you've probably also seen many other sites that are simply awful to look at and leave you wondering how in the world the person who designed it can seriously call themselves a web designer at all.

As a web designer you have a responsibility to create good designs for your audience. Design influences everything, and we can find examples of it everywhere we look. We see design in our furniture, electronic equipment, in our food packaging, our transportation, our clothing, our architecture, and our technology. We experience design at every turn, at sporting events, in the supermarket, on billboards, at the mall, our TVs, computers, touchpads, and on our smartphones. So, look around you.

Get inspired. Good design is everywhere if you look for it. As you work through this course, you'll be introduced to new concepts that can help you improve the aesthetic qualities of your web designs.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Design Aesthetics for Web Design
Design Aesthetics for Web Design

32 video lessons · 14709 viewers

Sue Jenkins
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Design Aesthetics for Web Design.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.