So I've decided to start a blog. This will give me the opportunity to show some works in progress and display completed works in a more easily-accessible way than just sticking them elsewhere on the website. I'll probably write some things from time to time (like this) but time will tell how it will look. Now, rather than making this entirely a "NEW BLOG OMG I'M WRITING NOW HOLY SMOKES!!!1!!!11!!" post, I'll just jump right in. One paragraph of explanation is quite enough, I think.
Recently I was asked to completely redesign a website. Not just advise on design elements and give some opinions, which I've done in the past, but create something completely new.
I love good layout and as a designer I "grew up" in print, so to speak, but I can tell you after working for a while on this project that those are completely different animals. I knew that in my head of course, but diving into this job has really brought those differences to life.
The only analogy I can think of is playing music by yourself vs. with other people. You're doing the exact same thing in both cases (playing music/designing), but there are suddenly a great deal of new, different things to keep track of (other musicians/rules of thumb). Print design has its own rules and complexities, and many of those things carry over into the web world, but in the end people will be interacting with the final product in one way: they'll pick it up and look at it, and it will be exactly the same for everyone.
With web design, though, there are suddenly new eventualities to consider. How will it look on someone's phone? How is this going to read when it's on a 27" monitor? Should all the elements stay the same in between desktop and mobile? How will you deal with fonts? What does the fox say?
** EDIT: My sources indicate that a fox says, amongst other things, "Gering-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding." **
I learned to play drums by sitting down at a kit with my headphones and my trusty Zune and just playing along to my favorite songs. I took 3 or 4 lessons and I learned a great deal from them, but mostly it was just years of me thrashing away on my drums in my bedroom (with extremely patient parents) or playing to a dark, empty gym on my church's kit. I taught myself everything I knew that way, but it wasn't until I started playing on worship teams that I grew in a different direction and discovered a new passion and appreciation for playing.
I hope to do the same thing as a designer. I've learned a great deal from teaching myself, and the vast majority of that has been in the form of print design. I learned a lot from school, and I'm still learning new things all the time. But now that I've started on this new venture I hope to expand in different directions, and in many ways it's already increased my appreciation for print design.
I'm not discrediting print or trying to oversimplify it by any means. It has been and will continue to be a huge passion of mine, and it's every bit as complex as web design. I'm also not trying to sound authoritative on the subject of web design, because I'm clearly a bit of a rube and I'm trying to learn everything I can.
I guess the takeaway from all of this is that you should try new things, plain and simple. How that looks in your life will probably be different than mine, but you can only grow if, every so often, you're willing to emerge from the isolation of your headphones and play with the band.