• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

What makes a good website design?

I am currently creating a website design in Photoshop and i need it to look upto date so to speak so that it doesn't look old, am not using Flash at all for it, because at the moment I pretty much detest it!

Any tips on how to create the website to make it look appealing in this day and age ?

Also you can suggest some programs which may be of use, plus any sites which you can use for commercial images which are free?

Also another question.....what kind of fonts do you guys use for websites which don't look too standard and boring, without breaching copyright and them being free or do you pay for them?

All feedback would be welcomed thanks guys! :up:


Senior Member
im pretty new to website design myself, but i think originality and simplicity is important, although almost impossible.

when i got stuck recently i looked at the first 20 sites that came up in google which were relevant to the type of site i was creating and took notes on all the things i thought they were lacking and anything i particularly liked. i never rip off anyone elses work or design, i try to take bits i like and improve on them and add anything thats missing, kinda like looking at a painting of a field and saying i like that, im gonna paint a field, except better, maybe put a cow in my field.

photoshop is i believe the industry standard, but i prefer illustrator for the initial layout because you can play with shapes so much easier, get a nice bunch of boxes and then colour them in in photoshop. also i love flash but that i think it can become a debatable subject on here, i think what it comes down to is use it if you need it.

my advice for making sites up to date is to keep it fresh, in my opinion most websites are far to busy, keep it simple, keep it clean, design it on a grid system, if you dig about or google it you will find the link to the 960 grid system which is pretty highly rated. make sure your content is balanced and think about where everything should go, like any design think about what you want the viewer to see and read and what you want them to go away thinking.

Hope that was of some help.

Thats given me some idea of how to go about it, never thought to take notes from other sites. I am going to be creating a portfolio so its more tips on that. have created quite a simple design but it has to reflect me and im not sure how to go about that.

Also having to create a name for myself, which is the hardest thing ever! Brain won't work and I want something with meaning not like my username which has no meaning what so ever and sounds stupid :D


Senior Member
You need to look at other work that you like but go beyond that - understand WHY you like it, with that you can create the same impact without having to copy it. make sense?


Senior Member
br3n that was what i was trying to say, so yeah, what he said!

my username isnt my design name, you seem to be at the same stage as me i think, i am building my own portfolio website, and have recently decided to use my own name, i just thought "oh i read a good post the other day that will help you" then i realised it was your post! i thought it said you came up with a name? if i were you i would go with something thats a play on the word hill, quite a good opportunity for a good analogy, getting to the top, or overcoming an obstical, something like that?? also would be a pretty cool logo design project.

i went on all the portfolio sites on here i could find, had a look at what i thought worked and didnt, thought about why i thought that and i have now nearly got a fully made website, only to read a debate about accessibility and now i wonder whether or not mine is accessable enough?!?

from what i have seen you need to make it simple, so people know exactly what there looking at, easy to navigate, and easy to add stuff, change stuff and remove stuff.



Senior Member
also this might help you, im doing a web page for someone who is quite quirky and arty, but her profession is quite serious, she wanted to reflect both things in here website so i have made a patterned backdrop which from a glance looks like a roccoco style wall paper but on closer inspection it is made of computer related objects, then i have centered he main content which has a white background and is very straight forward very clean and looks very important, i think it works as a good formula to express both sides, without detracting from each other.

Thanks to both of you for your great advise!

Yeah I know about the play on words and all that! As a student is it too proffessional to have your own name for a portfolio because i thought it was for more if you had your own business, I am going onto uni after college but thought it would be valuable to add to if i did stuff at uni and for a career in future.

I shall look at other sites and take notes. Another question is about Illustrator, there are a few sites that have taken my fancy and they have these really great cartoon images in the background like this one:

Web Designer Wall - Design Trends and Tutorials

I would love to be able to create something like that.
Any ideas on what program to use as im a complete newbie to most programs and only really know how to use Photoshop!


Senior Member
ILLUSTRATOR!!!! its the shizzle, in my opinion.

for help on learning especially things like that i would recommend,

Veerle's blog 2.0 - Archive summary

looks to me like it has been hand drawn, scanned into illustrator, traced then extured and coloured in PS.

i am self taught and have found online tutorials invaluable in helping me learn, also if your not already aware get computer arts magazine, loads of tips tutorials, and also they always give away free brushes and also royalty free images, you should get it in any good mag shop. if you see something you like, try and replicate, only for practice tho, i think its a great way to learn.

also student or not i dont see any problem going "george forman" on your design, if its so good put your name on it!

Ok I will look at that website for some tips!

I shall have to learn Illustrator sooner or later anyway :)

Just find it hard to use for designing things, Photoshop seems easier to use in my opinion although you can do a lot more with Illustrator :)