Laura Diane Hamilton

Technical Product Manager at Groupon

Resumé

Ten Simple Design Tips for Non-Designers

Here are some tips on how to make a sleek, modern-looking website, even if you are not a designer.

  1. Use a free CSS framework such as Twitter Bootstrap.
  2. Make the key call-to-action (what you want your users to do) big, prominent, and easy to understand. Read more about proper call-to-action design here.
  3. Make text a light gray such as #5A5A5A (example: Twitter Bootstrap) or #333333 (example: Fog Creek). Whatever, you do, never use black text. It will make your site look outdated and trashy.
  4. Pick three harmonious colors and use them in 60-30-10 ratio. The Maldives government site uses a couple too many colors.
  5. Remove as much as you can. Avoid unnecessary banner ads, navigation panels, widgets, and forms. You don't want your site to look like this cat blog.
  6. Use Font Awesome for scalable vector icons that are simple, elegant, and easy to scale or color.
  7. Use Google Fonts to give your design a bit of personality and a modern look. With the advent of modern browsers and web-hosted fonts, we no longer need to restrict ourselves to the old web-safe font list. Just be sure the font you choose is easy to read!
  8. When searching for stock photos, avoid any photos in which people are looking directly at the camera. Here is a better option.
  9. Use alignment to add order and elegance to your design.
  10. Get custom artwork quickly and cheaply from fiverr.
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