8 months ago


158 The Principles of

158 The Principles of Beautiful Web Design cooking, or ordering it. The images on the Olivia Restaurant site 3 , seen in Figure 5.4, are amazing. They create an atmosphere that makes you want to get in the car and head for the nearest location. An image like this doesn't just express the idea of a great restaurant, but also suggests a great experience awaits you there. The chef doesn't just look like a regular old cook, he looks like an artisan, with amazing craftsmanship. Figure 5.4. Olivia Restaurant: amazing restaurant photography I realize that relevancy, interest, and appeal are all very subjective, but sometimes subjectivity and artistic license are appropriate. If you think it’s a good image for the project, run with it. Generally speaking, I’d avoid monsters, slime, and aliens in most websites, but as we’ve seen above, given the right client and target audience, it may be a valid design direction. For every image you choose for a design, you need to be able to answer “yes” to at least two of the questions above. Why not all three? Well, sometimes it’s fun to toss in an appealing and interesting image that has nothing to do with your content. You know, like a bunch of birds carrying a whale in a net (the famous Twitter “fail whale”, shown in Figure 5.5). 3

Imagery 159 Figure 5.5. Twitter's “fail whale” Legitimate Image Sources So where does one acquire interesting, appealing, and relevant imagery to use for a website project? You basically have three options: create it yourself, purchase stock images, or hire a professional. The approach you take will depend on the budget and needs of your client, as well as your own skills. Take It or Make It For me, taking pictures with my own camera or creating my own illustrations is usually a win/win situation. If local clients need pictures to use on their websites, it gives me a chance to escape the office and do something different for a change. I’ve had the opportunity to take pictures of products, restaurants, a factory, apartments, a martial arts studio, storefronts—I was even able to ride around in a golf cart to take pictures of a golf course one morning, all while I was on the clock. But it’s more than just a fun outing for me. Clients usually like the idea because it shows them that I want to be involved in every step of the project. It can also cost them less than it would to contract a professional photographer. 4 The same is usually true for illustration and animation work. Most of the time, a custom site design requires some level of illustration. For items like icons, buttons, backgrounds, basic drawings, and logos, you might consider taking a stab at fulfilling the client’s needs yourself. Keep in mind that illustration doesn’t necessarily have to be complex or time-consuming for the message to be communicated successfully. Take a look at the website for the agency Designzillas 5 in Figure 5.6. The cartoon dinosaur isn't necessarily complicated, but it serves as a mascot for the company, and immediately gets your attention. The bright green and yellow work well with the black background, too. 4 While you may not think of yourself as a photographer, taking good photos is a skill that, like design, can be learned. A great place to start is SitePoint’s Photography for the Web []. 5

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