Why Learning Design is Vital for Front-End Developers and Practical Ways to Start Designing
May 28th, 2018
Here at ILLUMINZ, we have always talked about how awesome products can be created when teams work quite closely.
Effective communications and active involvement of the members with timely updates are some of the key ingredients that go into the making of great projects/products.
Because of all these factors, results are glorious.
One debate we recently made in the company was- “is learning design so vital for front-end developers?”
For every front-end developer bringing their code as close to the design is a challenge. We often sit down in teams to discuss how we can build a product that not only looks and feels right but also has an incredible functionality.
Though there are a lot of ifs and buts, let’s start by discussing the benefits of the amalgamation.
1. Helps developers gain full ownership of the product
If a frontend developer learns the art of designing, it will be a boon for understanding the product. Designers know what they want and how they want the page to appear.
They get several opportunities to create a product without following many instructions.
Not only does designing the product saves time for frontend developers, it will help them gain true ownership of the product. They’ll feel much more involved and understanding product feature will not be an issue.
2. The collaboration is a powerful resource
Why do you need anyone else when you can both design and code? Designers often worry about how the front-end developer will incorporate user-experience in the design. When you design, you get more control of the project. The more control you have towards the look and feel of it, the more awesome the product turns out to be.
3. Boost creativity in design
Front-end development and design are closer than they seem. Both involve creativity, logic and sometimes just basic common sense. Learning design is a great boost to your creativity. It gives you the power to see the business more closely and understand its true needs. Learning user interaction and experience helps the product grow enormously.
Skeptical on how to start?
You don’t have to go to design school to become a designer. If you have your frontend logic clear and the will to learn, you are already halfway through.
We are sharing simple steps on how you can start thinking as a designer teach yourself to become one:
Inspiration is the key to learn design as it helps you find your style. It is the basic understanding of how things work and how other designers are pursuing their work. Though there haven’t been any hard and fast rules that every designer needs to follow, here are a few questions you need to ask yourself to discover your style:
1. What do you like?
2. Why do you like it?
3. What elements did you find the most compelling?
Once you discover your own traits, you can work towards understanding your style.
Design inspirations can be a great way to start as you can study projects more closely. Ponder on questions such as why bank websites prefer using the color blue and why in development of a food website they use fonts like Giaza Pro and Timberline.
This brings us to even bigger aspects of design:
As a designer, you’ll have to understand that colors are a personal preference. It is highly subjective and cannot be anyone’s opinion. This is why you should use colors that look perfect with the theme of the business and feel of the website.
We use red for ILLUMINZ as we want to project our image as industry leaders. While working on My Sea Time, we wanted to choose a color that was trustworthy and showcases dependency, making Blue the perfect choice. Moreover, it also happens to be the color of the sea.
Inspirations play a huge role in helping you understand color theory. All you have to do is invest your thoughts.
Typography is more than the beautiful looking alphabets. No matter how hard it may seem for frontend developer, stepping up as a designer and finding inspiration will help you in understanding fonts much better.
You can start by looking at fonts near you. Look up to the hoardings at the subways and invest your thoughts in learning about how different industries choose their fonts. You can also read books on typography to enhance your knowledge on the subject.
Want to learn typography? Find amazing tips on typography with Thinking with Type.
2. Know the power of usability
No matter how beautiful you make your design, the real power only comes into play after the product becomes usable. It is the bridge between functionality and design that helps the user use good looking products. With the creativity of a designer and the logic of a frontend developer, usability becomes a piece of cake.
3. Get a good taste
Having a good taste is the key to good work. Once you get a good taste, you can always start working in the direction in creating meaningful designs. Developing good taste goes beyond looking what your peers are doing on Dribbble and Behance. You need to get away from your computer screen and start looking at the beauty around you. Draw inspiration from nature or lookout for the smallest details in the hoardings, the journey of a taste in design is of your own and very personal.
4. Understand the project thoroughly
Once you are truly inspired by the inspirations, ask for a test project. This is the time you’ll have to step forward a designer. Start by learning everything about the business- what the business is about? What kind of audience will use the website? Go into the depth of learning about the age and gender of the user.
Use colors and fonts that best suits the business. For example- while designing a kids website choosing hues of pink and purple is an optimum choice.
5. Learn Sketch/ Illustrator
Here are some apps you can start learning:
Pick a project you want to design, like a website or app. Sketch it out on paper and then try and recreate it with Sketch. Put your thoughts into designing and aim to create a design that is usable.
Design is the future of front-end
It won’t be late that the line between front-end and design will disappear. Fortunately or unfortunately, designers with the power of frontend (or the other way around) will become a necessity for work. Often referred as the Creative Technologist, these people will possess a skilled design approach with sharper logics towards the code. Many design firms have started following this approach to hiring people who can really bring life in the impeccable designs with the power of code.