A web design company can be a great investment early on in the life of your company. Your website will be the driver for generating and maintaining a new business, even when you are not working. It will help you market your products by showing credibility, giving you space to freely promote, and allow you to potentially reach global markets. Professional web design can cost a lot, even if it is worth the investment. If you are just starting out, using photoshop to get that professional web design feel actually isn’t too hard.
We’ll walk you through the process, but here are the basic things you need to know. Eye-catching imagery and pleasing aesthetics are key to drawing attention. Many stock images can help provide that professional web design looks simply by overlaying them on a clean background. It will look good, and feel organized to the average viewer. If you have too much going on, it becomes complicated and messy looking. Use your space conservatively, and with intention.
Draft and Start a Design:
Starting out you’ll want to create a general design of what you expect your webpage to look like. You won’t need much detail here. Sketch the layout however you want, but a good way to visualize this is by using blocks and text to show what you want to be displayed. Include things such as the logo, biography, social media links, portfolio, or anything else that might be relevant. Remember, the purpose is to get a general idea of where things will be placed and how big they will be on the page.
To start your design, create a new document. The size is up to you, and will depend on the pixel layout you are building for. For example, if you are building for 1024 pixels wide, something close to 1100 by 1100 will be a good fit.
Once you start, you can select the whole page to define are the area you want to work in. If you are following the previous example, select the area and transform it down to 1024 pixels wide. Add guiding lines for your reference. If it helps, create another set of guiding lines slightly wider than the boundaries of your website to have a buffer to reference when adding content.
Building a Header:
When designing and choosing a color scheme you’ll find that gradients are very helpful. Choose an area around half the size of your page towards the top. You can choose any two colors, but pick two that are fairly similar so that they will blend together nicely. Fill the area you selected with color, and then add a gradient.
To break up the color a little more, and give the background some pop you can add a highlight. For darker backgrounds use a lighter highlight, and for lighter colors use a slightly darker highlight. Create a new layer, and pick a soft brush of your choice. One click towards the center of the area should give you the right look.
You can draw a variety of patterns with the pencil tool, and add them to your background. This will provide a subtle look, but helps break up flat blocks of color and gives more personality to the design.
Start by going to the pencil and setting the size down to a couple of pixels. An easy pattern to do is checkers. All you need is to fill in two pixels diagonally from each other. Select those pixels and choose to define a pattern to add them as a new pattern.
Return to your original workspace and add a new layer. Choose where you want to place the pattern, and go to fill. In the contents, choose the pattern that you just made. You can then start using a Layer Mask, and blending the pattern in with a soft brush. Change the opacity on the brush as needed until you get the desired look.
Filling in Content:
Once you finish designing the page, you should have a solid base to work from and can start adding in the content you drafted earlier. Start adding titles, navigation buttons, and imagery. Text can be added directly to the page, and feel free to experiment with contrasting colors and fonts. For logos, continue using gradient overlays, and add drop shadows to give the text some depth.
For the rest of the page, the gradient tool will be your friend. Use it liberally to break up flat colors and provide a transition between sections. Don’t forget to use the brush tool as well to adjust highlights and opacity as needed.
Getting a professional web design look to your content is easier than you expect. The key is to always focus on simplicity. Solid color backgrounds with light gradients are the best way to go. You can also find tons of free background art online to use. If you take a watercolor splash and place it on a solid background you are essentially halfway done with your design already.
The rest of the work comes from fine-tuning the design. Brushing in highlights, or blending out colors. Adjusting opacity and overlay blending to fade out designs. Creating gradients and textures to place over your page. After that you just need to place text, decided where links and menu buttons go, and give those some shading or gradients. If you stick with these few simple things you can start off with a great-looking website in no time.
Many users will probably even consider that your website was done by a web design company. That is the beauty of Photoshop. You don’t have to be a world-renowned artist. You only have to follow the principles of good graphic design.
In the future, as your business grows you eventually may want to consider enlisting a professional designer. The intricate designs that can be created through Photoshop take years of practice to learn. Also, keep in mind you won’t be able to build your website from Photoshop. You can create a solid design, but make sure to consult a web developer to make sure your design will be practical in application.