writing about web standards was a great place to start learning about web design best practices, and influenced my thinking a lot about how to architect a website based around digital rhetorical structures versus just making something eye catching for the sake of thrills.
is hands down the best place to explore free web-safe fonts (download to your computer, or use their convenient CDN links for your site), and play around with pairings. The UI they've designed for this site is also beautiful and a fantastic example of good UI and UX design (take notes).
(formerly Adobe Kuler) is perfect for exploring color themes, and helps you select entire palettes based on color rules (analogous, monochromatic, complementary, compound, shades, etc.). It also provides you with easy copy-and-paste features including an easy download for your pre-made palettes directly into Adobe Suite products (super sweet).
Do your homework and search around the internet for inspiration galleries, or design forums (dribbble
are great places to start).
Lastly, and arguably most importantly: start learning in your spare time. There's so much free information available, be it a library, the internet or informal interviews with professionals, that you have no excuse to excel in your work and career. There's a phrase I'm fond of saying when I don't feel like jogging: “You're lapping the people at home on the couch”. Same goes for extra-curricular learning: if you want to be a highly-sought rock star in your field, then make time to enhance your knowledge and skills when everyone else is content with settling for the bare minimum.
For example, Smashing Magazine
and A List Apart
are two of my favorites. They provide a multitude of helpful articles from industry professionals who discuss everything from technical skills & gotchas, to design patterns, tips on freelancing, and even how to handle problematic clients.
Ben Froese is a UX Consultant and UI Designer working at C/D/H
in Grand Rapids, MI. He graduated from Michigan State University with a Professional Writing degree, and has been involved in the web design and development community for over ten years. He is an avid reader and in his spare time can be found producing music in his home studio, trail running, mixing cocktails for his friends, and traveling.