Beautiful & Handcrafted
We still see the occasional “refrigerator magnet” website—you know, the one that looks like a sundry, scattered collection of copied & pasted banners, boxes, and advertisements—random, mismatched colors, pixellated logos, misplaced elements, free fonts from the 90s, spelling and grammatical errors...
I am the anti-"refrigerator magnet" website guy.
I approach web design from the angle of pixel-perfection the moment I take on your project. If you have a logo or masthead, I build on that. If you don't have those elements (or want to update or redesign) I work with you to craft the visual assets your site will need to tell your story effectively. I start with a color palette and typography set that emphasizes your brand and invites your target market. Entire web designs often spring from a single logo, font, or identity mark.
Here are the elements of a great website, along with some of the ways I approach them:
I use modern color tools to establish custom and theory-based palettes. My first goal is to establish a definitive visual framework for your website based on brand identity and target audience. The same colors that look passive and reserved in one configuration can look bold and compelling in another. And there are other caveats: for example, the latest device screens can display 30-bits of color instead of 24-bits. That means you can see over a billion colors, and it makes a dramatic difference in many cases. For instance, in a sky like the one in the image below, where there’s a subtle gradation between shades of blue, you see a nasty, stair-stepped banding on 24-bit screens. With 30-bit color those gradations are smoothed out, resulting in a more natural image. The differences in how various browsers and screens display your website can be dramatic... and detrimental.
Understanding the tremendous impact typography has on web design, I seek out and license the highest quality typefaces and display fonts for my projects. While thousands of free fonts are available online, high-quality typography from a professional digital type foundry is almost always the better choice. That is why I license fonts from foundries such as Letterhead Fonts. The video below helps illustrate the precision craftsmanship that goes into quality lettering.
I am fluent in, and highly creative with, a robust set of graphic/photo editing tools. I have an eye for the visual components that will propel your brand into the hearts and minds of customers. If you (or I) can visualize it, we can create it. I can also convert your visual assets from web formats to print layouts such as business cards, cover art, brochures, posters, etc.
Media & Loading Speed
Audio, video, animation, and other rich media formats are essential to many websites, but their file sizes are inherently larger and slower to load. If a website's pages load too slowly, users will give up and/or look elsewhere. I use lossless or minimal-loss compression and efficient code to create an optimal, SEO-safe balance between engaging content and fast page loading.
My writing skills range from corporate, legal, and technical writing to multiple award-winning lyrical prose. My approach to copywriting is based on a life-long love of words and the English language, with particular emphasis on proper spelling and grammar. If I write it, it will be clear, cogent, commanding, compelling, conclusive, consequential, convivial, and convincing.
User Interface (UI) & User Experience (UX)
The fundamentals of the graphical user interface (GUI) we use today were refined and implemented by Xerox at their Palo Alto Research Center in the early 1970s after extensive research, development, and usability testing. As long as humans have their current configuration of arms, hands, and eyes, it will remain the ideal interface for the broadest audience in websites, apps, and operating systems.
In recent years one challenge has been to design user interfaces (UI) that adapt well for mobile device users. Different designers take different approaches, but I find that a common sense approach usually works best. For example, 90% of the human population is right-handed (no offense to Sir Paul McCartney and the world's great lefties—there are many), so it makes sense to me for my website's mobile navigation to be readily accessible by the user's right thumb and forefinger on their mobile devices.
Even more pertinent today is User Experience (UX), which relates to how easy or pleasing a website is to use. UX also relates strongly to responsiveness in that the response we're looking for is an emotional one—i.e., one that converts visitors into customers, fans, or followers.
These are the elements of a great website in 2017, and they are the areas of expertise to look for in your next web designer/developer. I have been developing for the Web for as long as it has existed, and I have helped bring many successful projects to market. I welcome the opportunity to apply that expertise to helping lift your brand... out of the white noise and into the vista.