Fact: the Wix team includes dozens of web designers. They spend their days at the office dreaming up new concepts for the Wix website template collection, marketing materials, Wix swag, and so much more. And it got us thinking… what tips would they have for new web designers who are just starting out?
We asked them to share their best advice for those new to the web design game, and they didn’t hold back. After all, why learn from your mistakes when you can learn from the expert advice of the seasoned pros?
Newbie web designers, get your Wacom pens ready:
Showcase your work with a gorgeous portfolio
Having a vast and impressive portfolio of your work is kind of a crucial. It gives you the ability to show what you’ve created, and will give your potential clients or employer a feeling for what your style is and what you’re capable of. The Wix pros suggest showcasing a variety of your work – but if you choose to specialize in a certain style or area, that’s cool too. Just go with a design that you feel represents you best and don’t be affraid to ask for feedback from your friends, family and web design peers.
Don’t have a portfolio yet? The Wix Template Collection has tons of templates made exactly for this purpose, and you can customize everything to get it looking just the way you want – all without having to use any code.
Put yourself out there
If you’re flying freelance, you’re going to need to have a little bit of moxy and good amount of motivation in order to get clients. Keep your eyes and ears open for potential work relationships and opportunities, and don’t be affraid to let your friends (even the extended ones) and family know that you are available for hire.
If the idea of letting your portfolio do a lot of the work for you sounds good, check out the Wix Arena. It’s a magical place where pro web designers (who create beautiful Wix sites) get matched up with people who are looking to hire a pro. A real win-win situation!
Master your people skills & learn to listen
Your new profession can mean a lot of time spent working alone, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to polish your people skills. Why? In order to get your clients an end result they’re happy with, (even if this means sometimes delivering work that isn’t to your liking) you’re going to need to form a good line of communication. In the end, the design you create needs to be something the client feels good about, and communicating clearly is the best way to make it happen.
Our experts’ advice: it’s always a good to start by asking yourself what the goal you want to achieve is. This will help you figure out the main purpose of your design. You’ll need to ask for your client’s thoughts on this, and you should try to do it at the beginning of the project. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have a much better idea of what you need to design, and how.
Stay on top of web design trends and new tech
Staying on top of your game and keeping your clients happy means you’ll need to stay ahead of the curve. Subscribe to blogs and online mags about your craft and don’t let the hottest trends slip past you. It’s important the keep switching it up and churning out fresh designs. Not only will it help you grow as a designer, it will keep things interesting. With that said, it’s also a great idea to keep your eyes peeled for inspiration that can come from areas that aren’t related to web design. Current fashion, retro objects, photography, art, architecture and nature are just a few – the opportunities for inspiration are endless and can yield some amazing results.
Learn from other designers
There’s always an opportunity to learn something new in the realm of web design. Whether it’s a new photoshop tool or trick or simply getting some inspiration from someone else’s work or style – there’s always something you can use to hone and expand your craft. Don’t be shy about approaching your peers and others in your field and asking for their opinions or general insights. Chances are you’ll be happy that you asked, and you’ll walk away with a new take on something, a solution to a problem or a sandwich.
Put special emphasis on UX
Beautiful designs are great, but if they’re not user-friendly and easy to navigate, they won’t be worth much. Sometimes this means swapping a really beautiful element for a more practical version, but it’s usually worth it if it means getting the UX right. Do your best to design with usability in mind, and eventually you’ll be a natural at marrying the two in perfect harmony.
Become a typography know-it-all
Some say it’s about 95% of the job. Whether this stat is completely accurate is difficult to prove, but it does mean it’s probably a good idea that you immerse to dive in the typography deep end. Don’t get us wrong – mastering spacing, contrast and color, grouping, flow, styling, markups, accessibility and [so much] more is extremely important, but typography is an extra hot item right now.
Remember the golden rule: map it out
As Petrula Vrontikis said: “Practice safe design, use a concept.” While this quote is chuckle-inducing, it’s not to be taken lightly. Planning before you design will save yourself lots of time, energy, and potential frustration. And… when mapping your designs out, don’t forget to plan for the mobile age that is upon us. Everyone is on their smart phone, so make sure your designs will look just as stunning on those small screens.
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