Students will gain a basic understanding about Form and how to use it deliberately to create a unified structure within a web layout.
- [Instructor] 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 the 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 mass of 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 gray 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 site's elements relate interestingly to each other in each distinct section, and he's using parallax 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. 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 checkmarks some important things that the viewer might be interested in learning. Another section to highlight services. Recent posts, 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 it 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 mass of shapes within your design and how they relate to one another. Start working in black and white, place your content deliberately, and try to build your site's structure with form in mind so that the whole design makes sense.
- 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