I read an article a couple weeks ago on Smashing Magazine about interior design principles as they relate to web design. I will be the first to admit that I’m not much of a graphic designer; I’ve never taken classes and my talents and interest lie somewhere more in the realm of front end coding. However I would love to learn more, so I’m always interested in a new take on designing for the web (I have trouble following the more technical articles).
This approach to looking at web design principles specifically and seeing how they relate to a design field that is based in the 3 dimensional world, not to mention a much older field than web design is interesting. I love the idea of taking inspiration, not just for the artwork but for the actual composition, from the real world. Some of my favorite site designs incorporate realistic elements like wood, cloth and paper into their basic design elements, so why not take it one step further and make the not so obvious layout a bit more “realistic” as well. Considering other design formats is a great way to come up with ideas when you’re stuck or in need of something new.
This article also brings up the idea that no matter what kind of design you do many of the principles are the same. So your best move to get started is just to learn basics, and it really doesn’t matter if what you are learning is actually specific to your field. I think that not limiting your consideration to a single field as you start to learn is probably more beneficial in the long run. It will help you think outside the box and get more creative with your web designs as you progress because you have already considered design from other perspectives. I feel that getting caught up in the minutiae of your specific design field is ultimately limiting to your ability as a designer.
I was told once that when I design I shouldn’t be concerned with the technical aspects of how the design will be coded and turned into a page, because I will limit myself. You should let go and be creative. There is almost always a way to translate what you have created into a coded and functional website.