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You may be an amateur Web Designer if...

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I've seen far far too many people refer to themselves as web design professionals who have no idea of the implications of the term or what it really means to be at a professional level, so for your consideration a list of traits that may very easily be warning signs you need to reconsider your eogotistically inclined notions of design prowice.


The first and foremost mistake I notice is people that believe owning professional software makes you a professional in right. This can be no further from the truth. If you honestly believe that owning a copy of photoshop ranks you among the professional class you're sadly mistaken and may want to consider another job area. If I were to somehow acquire a stethoscope or medical scalpel would you honestly want me to go anywhere near you with the inclination I know what I'm doing because I own professional tools? I hope not, if you do then I suggest another type of help, it's called a Psychologist or your local S&M club.


Some of the most common design mistakes I notice are perpetrated by almost any would-be web designer. They're cliche for a reason. Among the horribly cliche'd styles and types are the following:
  • Gradient everything
  • Starburts
  • Silhouettes
  • Sunburst
  • Rainbows
  • Neon Colors
  • Photoshop Layer Effects
  • "Complementary" colors

But this is far from a complete list, but you get the point.

Just because something seems popular does not mean it's a good idea to use. In fact it should be avoided for the most part, otherwise the only "creativity" you "have" is based from other designers work. Be original, don't be afraid to experiment and see what happens.


The study of Typography is ESSENTIAL to being a designer, there's no way around it. If you're not aware of whitespace, kerning, serif, sans-serif, and other common typographical terms you're in for a world of hurt.

Typography is nothing to skawk at, everything you read, INCLUDING this, is made of a selected font used for the web. All the content you've ever read is based on a carefully selected font created from years of research. If your definition of typography involves profound usage of Comic Sans, Papyrus, or much of any free font you need to learn proper typography.


By Grids I am not referring to tables in the least. Consider the News Paper with me. The amount of content is astonishing and is only effective because of a strong grid system and plenty of whitespace.

So what's whitespace? I've used the term all over the forums on a frequent basis, but for good reason. White space is the space between sections of content, their containers, and design elements. Effectively empty space it helps direct the flow of the page and prevent visual strain from occurring. Effective whitespace lines up in a grid based system creating easily scannable content.


Honestly if you want my view on it I'm extremely hesitant to call myself a professional and very rarely will to other designers, only to clients. Why? Isn't that shallow?

Hardly. Professionalism to a pro is far and beyond different from the view of professionalism of the average client who views it as someone who can get the job done on time.

The number one tip I can give to anyone is experiment and read. NEVER think you know everything, always read, always experiment, seek newer and better ways to do things. Never settle, never stop. A designer that has no desire to learn is one that will soon run dry of ideas and fall into debt.

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