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Learn Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide

Web design offers a promising career, as websites are a necessity for businesses and increasingly personal use.

Did you know you can learn web design without taking programming courses? It’s even possible without knowing how to use scripting and markup languages like CSS, JavaScript, or HTML.

Read on as we will explain the basics of website design and how you can practice with Zyro.

Step 1: Learning the basics of web design elements

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of the web designing process, you need to grasp its foundation first. The following are six fundamental elements that make up web design. 

Layout

Your website’s UX (user experience) depends on its layout. You need to make sure that your site is easy to navigate and has a logical flow.

An example of a one layout web design

One of the simplest and most adaptive layouts, especially for mobile screens, is the one-column layout. It presents content in one vertical column — perfect for minimalist websites.

An example of a grid layout as a web design

A grid layout is good for websites displaying lots of textual content. Column cards containing cover shots and excerpts of posts make it easy for visitors to navigate through the site.

For websites that lean towards visual content, using a full-image layout can make a striking first impression.

An example of a full image layout

This type of layout is useful for directing visitors’ focus to a specific event, content, or product. To further emphasize the design, it may also use a unique typeface or font style.

If you want to show different yet equally important information, you can opt to use the split-screen layout. This divides the screen horizontally or vertically.

An example of a split-screen layout in web design

Many eCommerce websites use this layout type to promote their business. It’s perfect for showcasing product images and copy.

Meanwhile, an asymmetrical layout lets you place web elements anywhere you like without having to align them.

The example of an asymmetrical layout in web design

It’s ideal for prolonging visitors’ stay as there are many focal points worth paying attention to.

Typography

When it comes to fonts, you need to choose styles that represent your brand and complement the site’s aesthetic.

If you like serif Serif, you might use Times New Roman. It gives off a traditional and formal vibe. 

This typeface is perfect for websites that want to be perceived as respectable, reliable, and professional.

If you want to go for a contemporary design, consider using Sans Serif fonts. Calibri and Arial are a few among many popular members of this font family. 

They’re generally clean and simple, making them suitable for all types of websites.

To leave a strong and chic impression, use Modern font styles like Futura and Century Gothic. The fonts’ dynamic, stylish, and progressive nature makes them fit for cutting-edge designs. 

The Script typeface consists of fonts with liquid strokes and fluid style, which often resemble calligraphy. Lavanderia and Bickham Script are two popular members of this font family.

This typeface represents creativity, elegance, and affection — excellent for vintage web design.

Meanwhile, using the Display font type’s unique and expressive style can make your site stand out.

Due to its large size and bold strokes, Display fonts like Giddyup, Valencia, and Cooper are great for titles and headings. 

Color scheme

According to an analysis, different colors trigger different emotional reactions. Therefore, your site’s color scheme should reflect the feelings you want to evoke from visitors.

The monochromatic color scheme consists of one color tint with different levels of shades.  

You can use cool color schemes to create a calm, comfortable, and soothing atmosphere. Blue, green, and purple belong to this group.

Blue is often associated with depth, knowledge, and trust, whereas green represents peace, health, and prosperity. Meanwhile, purple symbolizes royal, softness, and romance.

Warm color schemes — with red, orange, and yellow — communicate optimism and excitement. 

While red brings joy and love, yellow is associated with happiness and freshness. Orange suggests energy, health, and wisdom.

Alternatively, you can use a neutral color scheme to evoke an approachable and relaxing feeling. Earth tones like brown convey elegance, comfort, stability, and experience.

Navigation

Your navigation contributes to your site’s usability. Visitors must be able to explore your site effortlessly.

Adding a navigation menu to your web design is one of the best ways to ensure this. As there are different types of navigation menus, it’s essential to pick one that best suits your website.

An example of a streamlined navbar in web design

The most common one is the streamlined navbar, which appears at the top of the page. People also call it the standard horizontal or top bar menu.

The sticky menu is a navigation bar that remains visible when you scroll down the page. 

This type of menu is handy for single-page websites, like Nike, and long pages in general. It lets you access it without having to scroll back to the top.

If you prefer a vertical menu, consider using the static sidebar

Similar to the sticky menu, the fixed sidebar stays in place and in reach as you explore the website — a neat and efficient solution to your navigation system.  

An example of fixed sidebar on a website

For a more subtle approach, you can use the hamburger menu. It usually appears at the top right or left corner of the page, represented by a three-line symbol, as seen on YouTube.

Alternatively, you may use the footer menu to display social media links and supporting pages like Contact, Privacy Policy, and Support at the bottom of the page.

Responsiveness

Another big factor for user experience is the web design’s responsiveness. This means the web template’s adaptability to different screen sizes.

With 3.5 billion people using smartphones today, having a responsive and mobile-friendly website template can benefit your site in the long run.

This won’t be a problem if you start your project with the Zyro Website Builder. All of our web templates are fully responsive, so you can focus on creating the best website. 

Step 2: Know the website you want to create

Different types of websites require specific templates based on their content and purposes. The following are some of the most popular website types you should be familiar with.

Blogs

A blog contains frequently updated content posted in the reverse chronological order. 

It’s a place where people discuss their daily life and hobbies, much like an online diary or journal. The topics can range from food to fashion, and from finance to fishing.

Since an individual or a small team generally runs the blog, it tends to present its content in a conversational tone. 

Similarly, the blog owner gets to decide the web design based on their personal preferences and the site’s niche.

The web design of Kisty Mea’s travel blog, for example, showcases the owner’s illustration by hand-drawing the logo herself.

To make sure the blog conveys her personality, Kisty picks pastel colors and adopts the concept of minimalism. These are two significant parts of her personal style.

A web design example of a blog

There are plenty of blogs that use the traditional one-column layout to feature post lists. Others — like Kisty’s — use the grid card layout to include images alongside the post excerpts.

The grid layout is likely to attract more attention as photos tend to be more memorable than words. By putting up appealing cover shots, you make your posts more clickable.

Blogs generally have multiple pages. However, no one’s stopping you from building a one-page blog like Coffee Table and Perrera.

Business websites

Unlike a blog, a business website contains static pages that require no regular updates. Its primary purpose is to advertise your business or brand. 

The content generally includes a company profile, a portfolio, a product catalog, and client testimonials. It may also display physical addresses to promote brick-and-mortar stores.

Its web design takes inspiration mainly from the brand the site represents.

Katsuya, for example, dedicates its one-page business site to informing potential customers about the restaurant’s locations and menu, and managing reservations.

A web design example of a business website
Zyro's business web template

With Zyro, you can start building a business website using our customizable business web template.

Resume websites

A resume website is an interactive online CV. It shows your education and career history, as well as other information relevant to your professional life. 

Since it’s promoting you as an individual, the site’s interface and content tone of voice must showcase your personality.

Cam Strobel presents an excellent example of a resume website. He proves his straightforwardness by laying out his backstory and work experience timeline right from the start.

Meanwhile, the hover animation applied to the email call-to-action button and social media links reflect his fun and approachable side.

Cam uses the split-screen layout to make the left side static while the right side remains scrollable. 

An example of a resume website design

First impressions are crucial when it comes to resumes. However, you don’t necessarily have to depend on flashy graphics, animation, or fancy features to ensure that. 

The most crucial step you can take is to make sure your site is organized, easy to navigate, and readable. Use a minimalist design and clean fonts to enhance the information you’re sharing. 

Zyro's resume website template

You can start honing your web design skills with this type of site by customizing our one-page resume website template.

Portfolio websites

This type of site is perfect for professionals or freelancers in creative industries. It’s the online version of a traditional portfolio where you can showcase your skills and best work there.

Considering its purpose, a portfolio site usually puts the focus on the visual content. This might include photography, artwork, or project documentation.

To direct visitors’ attention towards content, it’s vital that the web interface is clean and incorporates negative space. You can use creative fonts to enhance aesthetics.

Finally, your contact information should be visible and easy to find on the page.

Velvet Spectrum’s portfolio showcases the right way to balance the work documentation and the interface’s design.

The creative studio’s portfolio consists of colorful graphic designs, 3D animations, and illustrations contrast with the page’s plain black background.

An example of a portfolio website

Zyro has a single-page portfolio template that is free to use if you want to practice designing this type of site.

Zyro's portfolio website template

Step 3: Learn different styles of web design

After knowing what kind of website you want to create, it’s time to explore the styles applicable to web design.

Minimalism

Minimalist designs are currently trending. Sites with this style tend to have a lot of white space, clean fonts, and a clear visual presentation. 

The lack of distraction helps visitors direct their attention toward your content.  

Tinker is a great example of a minimalist website. The site uses lots of negative space, giving the spotlight to the promoted product.

An example of a minimalist website design

To add more white space, it hides the navigation bar using the hamburger menu. For the same reason, the color options are presented visually instead of using text.

Flat

Websites with a flat style incorporate 2D images and graphics. This style usually uses simple shapes and vivid colors to grab visitors’ attention and convey messages. 

A flat web design example

Design Thinkers creatively use this style. The posters surrounding the main information look like decoration, but contain the name of designers speaking at the event.

Illustration

If you want to use drawings as the central theme of your website, consider using this design style. 

It’s perfect for digital artists who want to personalize the site with their art.

Adding artwork to your design can not only make the site look unique and fresh, but also gives an amusing and approachable vibe.

An example of an illustrative website

Check out Pitch Tents to see what an illustration based website looks like. 

Step 4: Design a website with Zyro

Now that you’ve learned the basics of the website designing process, it’s time to put everything into practice and learn web design. 

You can do so with Zyro — a free website builder packed with a drag-and-drop editor and user-friendly tools. 

To practice, simply move the web design elements around, use free stock images, play around with fonts and content placement.

Here are the steps to creating a website using Zyro:

  1. Join Zyro, then navigate to Templates. Pick a website template that you like, click Start Building.
  2. Customize the elements by clicking the blocks. Click Add elements, then drag and drop additional call-to-action buttons, text boxes, and images to the template editor.
  3. Align them any way you want using the grid tool — no calculations needed.
  4. Select Preview to see the final result, then click Publish site to launch it.
The website editor interface of Zyro

Why you should learn web design

By learning how to design and build your own website, you get to save money. You don’t need to hire a professional web designer or splash out on expensive tools.

Not only that, but you also have the chance to express your creativity. Design websites that are not only functional but also. 

Once you get the hang of website design, it’s possible to turn it into a hobby or even a career. You can start a business and generate a stream of income.

Wrapping up

If you want to learn web design, it doesn’t mean that you have to take programming courses. The following are the steps you can take to start learning about web design independently:

  1. Understand the basic elements of web design.
  2. Know the different types of websites.
  3. Explore different design styles.
  4. Practice styling a website with Zyro.

Now that you know what to do, it’s time to give it a try. Good luck.

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