Monthly Archives: August 2011

I’ve talked about this in the past on this blog. I was reminded of this debate from a past professor who re-blogged a post by Frank Chimero.

So, should designers be coders? The answer is, “Yes, to an extent.”

I say ‘to an extent’, because we can’t expect a web designer to be able to do everything a programmer can. These are two different career paths. We can and should expect there to be an overlap between these separate fields. This overlap mainly lies in knowing HTML and CSS. (now you know what the question marks are for in the graphic). So designers should understand code and be able to write HTML and CSS.

Adobe’s recent release of Muse has surely stoked this debate even more. Muse promises to rid the need for a programmer/coder (you know, the way that Microsoft Publisher rids the need for a designer). The problem with this is that Muse promotes a lack of coding knowledge and as a result web designers are still uneducated about coding and their websites are worse off because of it. Websites are not digital versions of print design. They are living documents in 4D – changing based on user interactions, responsive design, dynamic elements etc. For more on why Muse is not the answer to web development, read Elliot Jay Stocks’ assessment.

The point here is that web designers should understand and be able to write HTML/CSS. As a comparison, take this example I mentioned in the aforementioned blog post,

…an architect should understand how a house is built. Otherwise, the architect has become a meaningless decorator of a medium he doesn’t understand.

Frank Chimero says it like this,

Design decisions are not only affected by the characteristics of the content being designed, but also the qualities of the format. The best way to understand the characteristics of the web is to speak its language.

What are your thoughts on this? Should web designers know how to code? How extensively?

Want to know where to start learning how to code? Check this out: Don’t Fear the Internet

 

I couldn’t help but notice a few striking similarities between current GOP candidate websites and Obama’s 2008 campaign website and the current White House website.

Glowing Blue Background

It seems that the new political design trend is going to be glowing backgrounds. Most of the candidate’s sites use a glowing blue background of some sort (see newt.org and michellebachmann.com)

Home Icon & Typography

The designers for Ron Paul’s website must have been inspired by whitehouse.gov because the navigation typography is almost identical. The flag icon on whitehouse.gov links to the homepage, while the home icon on Paul’s site links to the homepage. While not similar in design, the unique idea of using a homepage icon in that particular position is pretty similar given the other similarities.

However, I give props to Ron Paul’s web guys for actually making the navigation real text and not images, like the White House site. To be fair, whitehouse.gov has their full sitemap in real text in the footer.

Right Column Shadows

This one is minor, but I had to mention it because of how similar other elements are between whitehouse.gov and Ron Paul’s website. The right column on both sites are the same exact width as well. Inspired much?

The hokey, ‘look inspired and into the distance’ Photo.

Also known as the 40-year-old virgin portrait look. This is only funny because I really want to imagine the photographer holding up a picture of the Obama 2008 website and directing Bachmann to pose similarly. I feel like she forgot where the camera was one other time too… I kid, I kid!

Is there anything wrong with this?

Of course not. There is no copyright infringement here. Is it funny when you notice it? Yes. Mostly because of how different these candidates are from President Obama in every other way.

Here’s to great design that draws some of it’s inspiration from Obama 2008!

Looking for someone to design your website (or logo)?

I’m your man! Check out my portfolio and get in touch with me. Let’s make your next project awesome!

Today, I made this photo of my wife. I had her sit next to a window and used a medium-sized gold reflector to bounce a bit of fill light into her face. I’m really happy about how it came out and how the eyes seem to come alive among the soft oranges/reds of the rest of the photo.

I’m lovin’ me some natural light portraiture!

I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to get this photo. It was definitely the golden hour! I found some great spots to shoot (thanks to a old friend from the city)

When we went to Des Moines, IA for a weekend, we got to watch 100’s of hot air balloons take off at sunset at the annual balloon festival in Indianola. This particular balloon never could make it off the ground. The basket was extra small and a boy who seemed to be 10 yrs old or so was the ‘pilot’… He was going to fly solo. He had a helmet on – you know… safety first!

If you would like a print of this let me know!