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- Understanding aesthetics
- Picking harmonious colors
- Structuring your layout
- Using space to organize your design
- Communicating with the right fonts
- Aligning objects to achieve balance
- Adding movement with scrolling and animation
- Achieving proportion by scaling objects and text
- Creating CSS for different devices
Skill Level Beginner
To get you in the right frame of mind to understand aesthetics, let's take a look at things that society has deemed beautiful over the centuries. Afterwards, we'll talk briefly about aesthetics in print and web design. So we'll start a review of beauty and things with pleasing aesthetic qualities by looking at nature, such as space, earth, science, and animals. Galaxies and nebulous in space, pyramids in Egypt, the Grand Canyon, spiral patterns in nature, schools of fish, zebras and so on.
People also find beauty in man-made structures and objects like architecture and furniture. Think Notre Dame, the Empire State building, the Guggenheim Bilbao. Or an Eem lounge chair or an Egon Ireman plywood chair. In the world of art we have such iconic images like Michelangelo's Sisteen Chapel and Bodecelli's Birth of Venus. There's Mona Lisa, Van Gogh's Starry Night, and Gustav Kimp's The Kiss.
I can't show you any more contemporary work without obtaining permission, so let's just drop some names here. Looking at more contemporary art, think Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Richard Serra, Louise Bourgeois, Damien Hirst, Andy Goldsworthy, Cindy Sherman, Anish Kapoor, Jenny Holzer, Kara Walker, Ai Weiwei and Olafur Eliasson et cetera. In the world of graphic design, there are noteworthy designers. Milton Glaser, Paula Scher, Saul Bass, Paul Rand. Michael Bierut, Stephan Sagmeister, Massimo Vignelli, David Carson, Louise Fili, Ellen Lupton, Karlsson Wilker, and Jessica Hische.
In web design, there are a whole slew of people you should know about. Including Jason Santa Maria. Chris Coyier, Meagan Fisher, Jeffrey Zeldman, Rachell Andrew, Paul Boag, Aaron Gustafson, Rachelll Hinman, Cameron Moll, Luke Wroblewski, Dan Cederholm, Andy Clarke, Simon Collison, Elliot Jay Stocks, Sarah Parmenter. Veerle Pieters, Yaron Schoen, and Jan Rajtoral, and I apologize if I've mispronounced anyone's names, these are the movers and shakers in web design. So definitely take the time to look them up.
Let's shift now to talking about what makes for good design, and how good design can effect perception. Take a look how these two graphics speak about environmentalism. Is one of them more appealing to you? More objectively successful in design than the other? And why? What can we say about the choices that each designer made with regard to fonts, colors, illustrative styles, and the intended message behind the design? Who's the target audience for each of these images? Is it the same audience? Should the audience matter? Absolutely, the audience should matter.
Part of being a good designer is learning who the audience is and creating a visual that will appeal to that group. Or, what kind of things do people find attractive in designs? Well, there's things like glossy surfaces, like water. Those kinds of things attract us. So does symmetry and alignment. The right colors and fonts can also help communicate the message to the viewer along with any text or images that are included. All of these design elements provide a perception of quality and honesty.
And all of these things help to create good design. What about cost? Does good design cost a lot of money? Sometimes it does. Does good design mean good quality? Are we persuaded rightly or wrongly by good design? If it looks good on the outside like a package or a brochure or a website mustn't the product or service also be of high quality on the inside? And more worthy of our consideration than that of a competitor, say with an inferior design. These are great questions worth pondering.
Just because someone spends more money on a design though It doesn't necessarily mean that they have a superior product or service. Or does it. As a web designer, you have a responsibility to your clients to create designs that promote their image, their products, or their services, while also attracting their target audience. As you go through the rest of this course you'll be introduced to design concepts that when used effectively can help you improve the aesthetic quality in your designs.