Pankaj Shah

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6 Basic Principles of Web Design for College Students



There are thousands of students who want to get into web design. It’s a great discipline for creative people and a good way to earn a living. They dream of making web pages for businesses of all sizes and industries. Yet, not all of them are familiar with the basic principles of web design.

Students believe that making an appealing website isn’t that hard. Finding a good font and adding a couple of buttons and images seems simple enough.

But web design doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. There are several solid rules that apply to any web page.

6 Basic Principles of Web Design for College Students

Direction Drives the Design

Look at your frequently visited websites. There’s a strong chance they have distinct designs. For example, pages students visit to order essay online look different from informational pages. While all websites have a utilitarian side, they need to have a distinct look. Designers push boundaries, take uncharted routes, and follow innovative ideas.

It’s the web designer’s job to fulfil any goals set by a company. Maybe they need to redesign the page for a younger demographic or a new product line. It’s also a designer’s goal to make the website as user-friendly as possible. For example, an e-commerce website won’t work if users can’t find the right category or item.

Designers put a lot of effort into making a perfect page for finding various products. They need to make the process as simple and carefully calculated as possible. There are many ways for designers and brands to create a distinct vibe. They have to come up with visuals that capture the essence of their business. But selling things remains the ultimate goal.

Direction Drives the Design

Balance Between Visuals and Empty Space

Many users love websites with gorgeous visuals. Web designers often try showing off their visual prowess by adding images whenever possible. In many cases, these visuals add to the experience. While it makes web pages memorable and unique, this decoration should be balanced.

Web designers have to know where to place visuals for maximum results. This way, visitors will focus on elements that matter. In some cases, adding too many will take away from the design. It can make it more difficult for users to find the right things on the page.

That’s why one should keep in mind whitespace and visual hierarchy. Both of these things are crucial for a successful design. A well-constructed web page can be easily understood by any user. Hierarchies tell them which elements are connected or not. They also highlight the most important areas of the page. Whitespaces provide visual relief.

Balance Between Visuals and Empty Space

Mind Proportion, Place, and Space

These concepts are strongly connected to white space and visual hierarchy. But they focus on a different aspect of web design. Professionals have to become familiar with certain web design laws and rules that dictate

  • proportions;
  • proximity;
  • shapes.

They are proven concepts of how users see and process web page content. The rules are based on the Gestalt theory. It has a set of rules by which humans perceive visuals. This especially concerns groups of elements. Needless to say, putting a bunch of arrows and buttons won’t do the job.

Without going into much detail, the rules explain the way human eyes work. For example, the brain always fills in the blanks. It tries to create complete images even when looking at something incomplete. The IBM logo proves this. Hick’s law is another important web design principle. It posits that users take longer to decide when they have too many choices.

Know Your Customer

One of the core principles of web design is understanding who you are marketing to. It’s impossible to make a well-designed page without following it. Web design has to be deliberate, so professionals must understand

  • what the audience is;
  • the issues it faces;
  • what it wants;
  • how it thinks.

Web designers need a clear image of the final consumer. The better the vision, the higher the chance of creating a successful design. The end result will be determined by the end-user more than by the professional. New designers may find this a little confusing. This part of the process goes beyond the design team.

When students start working for big teams, there will be many people doing user research. This data tells who they are and shows their needs. It’s crucial information as it sets the tone for the entire project. For example, designers create different pages for various demographics. A website for young adults will look different from the one made for seniors.

Find the Right Typography

It seems strange, but typography is one of the things that can make or break web design. Finding a good typeface can make all the difference. It’s a professional’s job to choose a font that can be easily readable in a small size.

They need a solution that will catch the eye of users and make them read the latest information.

The web has plenty of good examples of websites that own their vibe to the chosen typeface. A correct font makes pages visually exclusive, improves branding, or supports other visuals. There are plenty of unique finds drawn by industry professionals. But using Google Fonts is easy and free for any website.

Keep It Mobile-Friendly

With everybody owning smartphones, making websites mobile-friendly is a must. It’s no longer a bonus feature but a necessity. Professionals have no choice but to come up with designs that work well on both desktop and mobile screens. That’s why the majority of designers learn about making mobile-friendly designs from the start.

Web designers have to maintain the essence of the design and brand identity in a smaller space. It doesn’t take scaling down the elements and rearranging them. They have to redo the entire design to feel natural on the mobile screen. Professionals start with changing the layout by prioritizing and allocating space. Everything is put away, but the major elements remain.


While web design is made of simple principles, perfecting them takes time. Students will be experimenting and finding out what works and what doesn’t. But it’s a strongly rewarding profession that will have them working with many interesting people.

Article by Pankaj Shah: DCP London Web Designers

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