Do you want to learn how to design websites for yourself or for clients? If so, then you have come to the right place.
Although web design is a huge topic and it covers a lot of things, I will try to explain it and show you the main steps that are required to properly create designs of websites.
Before you start to design websites, it’s recommended to know and fully understand the basics of web design.
What Is A Web Design
Web design is the process of creating a design for a website in a design tool. After the design is done, it goes to a web developer which then creates that website with code. That’s web development.
Web design itself consists of many small parts but the two main parts are User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI).
UX is not about design itself like colors and typography. Its main focus is on functionality, features, ease of use, etc. Read more about UX here.
But UI is all about design. Here you create layouts, choose colors, images, fonts, etc. UI designer’s job is to create high-quality, modern, websites. Read more about UI here.
I won’t cover these two topics here because they are too big. But I will try to combine them together and explain how to design websites in a beginner-friendly way.
Best Tools To Design Websites
Because web design has become very popular and is growing day by day, there are many tools where you can create websites. And most of these tools are free.
But there is no best design tool because most of them work and have very similar features. The best tool depends on your personal preferences, what you like, and which is the easiest for you to use.
Also Read: Best Design Resources
Also, design tools have features like prototyping where you can connect different page designs and make them interactive. So, you can see how they look on a real website.
Some of the most popular web design tools are:
Figma is my favorite because it’s very intuitive, web-based (however it has a desktop version too), and has a free plan. Also, they constantly update the tool and add new features.
The sketch is only for Mac and Adobe XD is from Adobe and if you have used one of their products, it will be very familiar for you.
You can try these tools and see which one is the best for you. But I really recommend Figma. It’s so great and easy to use.
Now, as long as you understand the basics of web design, what it is, and what tools to use, it’s time to know what are the main steps to follow to design websites properly.
Step 1: Create Website Sketches
The first thing you have to do when designing a website is to create website sketches. This step is often skipped which is a very bad practice because it’s a very important one.
A website sketch is just a raw outline of the website layout and its elements. Don’t think about sizes, images, typography, or anything else. Just draw it.
When you starting thinking about design, you may have several ideas and it’s not a good idea to immediately start designing. Instead, just draw your ideas on paper.
Alternatively, you can draw it in a software with pencil tool or something like that. Also, there are several tools for that like MockFlow.
But don’t create just one sketch. Create different layout variations. Try how different layout looks and which one is the best for your project. Also, you can assemble the final sketch from different variations.
Step 2: Create Website Wireframes
After you choose your final sketch, the next step when you design websites is to create a wireframe of a website. But still, don’t think about colors, fonts, images, etc. Just build the layout with black, white, and grey colors.
Wireframing is a process when you build a design with black and white colors, default font, and shapes. This way you will have a skeleton of your website.
Use shapes instead of images, default font, and random text, make text black and image placeholders grey to have contrast. Leave background white.
But build everything such as navigation, hero and different sections, add elements like buttons, and so on. And also think about sizes of images, sections, etc.
Also, when you do website wireframing, you should already know what layout it will have. Will you use 12-column based layout or other? Will you implement an 8pt grid system? What would be the max-width of your website? and so on.
When you finish wireframing, you will have the final version of your website but without colors, images, or preferred typography. The main purpose of this is to build the layout of a website.
Step 3: Choose Typography
The next step is one of the most important ones and its typography. In simple words – choosing the font for your website. And also choosing the sizes for every text element.
And as we know website types differ. So, every type of website needs a very different font. A wedding service website and a nightclub website can’t have the same font. It’s all about aesthetics.
So, when you design websites, choosing the right font is very important. You have to decide which font style would be the best fit – Serif, Sans, Display, or even Handwriting.
Also Read: Create Modern Navigation
Also, the very important thing in typography is its size. When you choose the font, at the same time you must choose the sizes.
And you have to give the size to every text element whether it is heading, paragraph, button text, or any other element. Also, which one should be bold, italic, etc.
The best practice is to have a default size for different text elements. For example, section headings should have the same size, every paragraph should be the same, and buttons should have the same size.
Helper tools for typography:
So, depending on a website type, choose the font you think is the best fit, give every text element its size and style.
Step 4: Add Colors
Colors are perhaps the most important in design in general and they can make or break your website. No matter how good layout or typography a website has if colors are wrong, it won’t look good.
When you design websites and choosing colors for them, you can follow some guides that will help you to choose the right colors.
And don’t think that if you choose many beautiful colors, your website will look more beautiful. It’s the opposite – fewer colors are better. But also it depends on the type of website.
But as a general rule, you should choose the main, secondary, and accent colors. This way there will be a balance.
Most of the time, the main color is white which is a background of a website, the secondary can be any color that is used on text or different elements, and the accent is mostly used on buttons, and mostly it’s vibrant in order to attract the eye.
There is a 60/30/10 rule for colors and you can learn more about it from this video.
But don’t forget about the brand. If you build a website for a brand that already has its color palette, of course, you must use those colors but follow the general rule.
For example, here is a good color choice for a website. It looks clean, professional, yet colorful.
And this is a bad example of color use.
See the difference? Yes, more colors don’t mean better. And it applies not only to web design but graphic design, interior design, and so on.
But if you have a hard time picking a good color palette or don’t know how colors work, there are several tools that will help you.
Here are some of my favorite color tools you can try:
Color is very important in design and you mustn’t overlook it when you design websites. When you choose colors properly, a website will look more modern and professional.
Step 5: Add Images
And the last step is to add any type of media to a website. It can be images, graphics, icons, or even videos. It’ll make your website alive, beautiful, and eye appealing.
But you have to think about several things when adding media to a website because as typography or color, wrongly picked media can break your web design.
The first thing is to find high-quality images or graphics. You don’t need low-resolution, pixelated images. Also, all media should be beautiful and made by professionals.
Next, you need to consider using only images, only graphics, or both of them together. But they must fit to design and they should work together.
Also, choose images that have similar colors as your elements on a page. If there is a high contrast between elements and image colors, it won’t look good.
When you design websites everything – layout, colors, typography, images – must be in harmony and work well together. Any element could be good on its own but if it doesn’t work with other elements, there is no use for it.
Awesome images and graphic resources:
It’s better to add media last because images can have influence on your design and you may choose wrong colors because of it.
As you can see there are a few things to do when you design websites. Of course, UX and UI is the much bigger topic. But I tried to create a simple, compact, and beginner-friendly guide for starter designers.
What you need to do is to understand web design fundamentals, what a web design is, how it works, and follow these steps. Learn the basics of any design tool you like and start practicing.
Because in web design and web development, practice is the most helpful and best way for learning. Practice, make mistakes, gather experience, and you will become professional.