So You Want to Work in Web Design: How Art Basics Get You There

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An article by contributor Eileen O’Shanassy.

For the past two decades, programming skills and advanced computer knowledge has been the barrier to an entry into web design careers. As important as a background in coding may be, an understanding of art fundamentals is becoming an increasingly necessary quality among web designers. Art students are often unknowingly equipped with perfect web designing skills. Here are some things to augment your art education with to help you gain the job you want.

Experience with Popular Design Software

In modern digital marketing, pictures and video are vital to a business’s online success. The same software used in the art classrooms is used for marketing across the web. The Adobe Creative Cloud is filled with applications that are part of a web designer’s regular toolkit. As a result, many web designers are expected to learn Photoshop, Premier, Audition, and other related software. Those students entering web design from an artistic background should already be experienced with this software.

An Eye for Contrast

Even masters of HTML, CSS, Javascript, and other front-end programming languages need to know about visual contrast to succeed in web design. Knowing the appropriate colors to elicit a desired emotion is an essential skill for web designers. Still, knowing the emotions a color inspires is not enough—a designer must also know how colors react with each other. Colors that strike the right level of contrast are essential in making a website look its best.

The same logic can be applied to fonts. Websites benefit greatly from fonts that contrast each other. Designers need an eye for applying the right fonts to each part of the website. For example, header text and paragraph text should rarely be of the same font. The necessity for contrast is fundamental among all types of art. Art students can apply their knowledge of contrast to make a website’s colors and fonts memorable.

Demanding Attention

In some ways, this is an extension of contrast. Art is all about demanding attention. The best designers are those who can assure people will focus on vital parts of their website. The most important parts of a page need to be the center of attention. Art students spend a great deal of their studies analyzing the focal point of paintings and other pieces of art. When that same knowledge is applied to web design, a website’s performance can be increased greatly.

Despite the importance of programming skills, art students have talents that are directly relevant in web design. Many fundamental art concepts are just as difficult as programming. Ultimately, any art student willing to learn new skills has a great background for a career in web design.

Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy

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