I have some excellent news for anyone out there who thinks they’re unemployed: You’re actually a web designer. I’m serious. It’s a much easier line of work to get into than you might think. In fact, anyone who tells you otherwise thinks much too highly of themselves, and probably went to some sort of art school or has years of experience. You, my friend, are going to skip those expensive steps and get right down to business!
I’ll prove how easy it is. If you know someone in your life who claims to be a web designer, ask them about some of their work. They will, no doubt, sooner or later recount a story where they lost business because their client decided to use their high-school aged nephew who is “good with computers”, for example. You could be that nephew!
Step One: Get Yourself a Copy of Photoshop – $699
Hey, I know its an expensive piece of software, but that’s how this stuff is done. After a while you might want to get started figuring out how to use Illustrator as well ($599), but by that point in your career you’re probably going to be one of those people who loves Helvetica and thinks that web design is hard, or something. Yeah, it will probably happen to you too. That’s life, I guess!
Step Two: Make a basic Design in Photoshop
There are about a million tutorials on the internet that tell you how to do this, but I’m going to hit the high points. Your design should be slightly less than 1000 pixels wide, and should basically look like this:
Step Three: Choose Colors
You might want some color to spice up the basic design above. Note that I didn’t say “need” because no one needs color. Dogs can’t see colors worth a damn and they’re happy as hell. If you simply must add some, there’s a flash app called the Color Scheme Designer that will help. Check it out, play around with it, and then use whatever it tells you to use.
If your client already has a logo, just use the colors in that logo for the site design. If there’s only one color, use it for anything that looks like a label or a header. If there are two, use the second one for backgrounds of labels and link colors.
Step Four: Always use a White Background
No exceptions. Trust me on this one. After a while of using photoshop you might think you can come up with some nifty backgrounds, but refrain from doing this until you have designed and delivered at least ten sites with white. If it’s good enough for the Apple Store, it’s good enough for you, buddy!
Step Five: Deliver Your Design
Once you slopped a bit of color on, send a mockup of your design to your client and ask for their opinion. They will want to change at least one thing, and get ready because you are about to make your money. This is the most important moment!
Step Six: Game Time
As soon as you get the notes back from your client, go absolutely ballistic. Do not, under any circumstances, agree to change one iota of your design, and be willing to escalate the situation to the point of violence if need be. I suggest raking off the surface of a nearby desk or punching a wall for starters, but experienced designers will keep a croquet mallet handy for these moments.
Your clients may express a measure of surprise at this point, but do not let up on them. They’re just shocked at how good you are at business. Turn things up a notch at this juncture by ripping off your shirt and screaming wordlessly, like an animal. Then attack everyone and anyone within reach… even your coworkers, if possible. If they are worthy colleagues they’ll be flying through the air or swinging a bat by this point. If they’re just sitting there, they can use a business lesson.
These tips work a lot better in person, so always schedule meetings at the client’s offices. It’s really hard to smash someone’s desk lamp over Skype. Just saying.
Look, being a web designer is easy, we both know that. If you want to win business, you have to deliver more than just the finished site. You have to deliver an experience. More than that, you have to make your client feel as though they wrestled with you and then prized their site from your maddened claws under extreme duress.
Trust me. Your clients will thank you for it. Good luck in your new career!