In the past, HTML grids were the only way to web design. Then came the advent of CSS to allow redesigning websites with ease by separating the styling from the main code. Over time, layout code became complicate so frameworks evolved and eventually websites started looking the same. Gone was the creativity and the web became filled with cookie-cutter designs.
In an article by Jen Simmons, titled “The benefits of learning how to code layouts with CSS”, the author believes that we need to go back to hand-coding layouts for each project. She says, “I’m tired of every website looking the same. I believe in the power of graphic design to elevate a project. To make it stand out. To give it a unique voice, to help its readers / users / viewers understand what is happening. I don’t want to paint-by-numbers, I want to paint.”
Her statement also reminded me of a tweet from a web designer I follow:
I think Jen Simmons and @xobritdear are so right. I’m lucky in my web design program to start out learning to hand code without being dependent on frameworks. According to the article, the challenge is to learn all the tools to help a web designer create a product that effectively tells a story. It might mean using a grid, a flex box, and a float but combined together can produce a unique picture.
The author forecasts that in 2018, there may be an increase in the demand for designers to know how to hand code. Luckily for us, Google already has all the answers to teaching us the code we need. There are so many great resources online to help us along our way to hand-coded greatness.
My favorite part of the article is when the author said, “We stopped taking risks at some point. Everything online seems so polished and perfect. The frameworks do make a new project look snazzy right away. All that polish, all those rounded-corner images. But we’ve got to break away from that, if we want to make great work, great designs. If we can dare to make mistakes, and learn to play and experiment again, we can push this industry to a whole new level, and truly start to understand the web as a graphic design medium.”
I like the idea of seeing the web as a graphic design medium, instead of just code, syntax, and rules. I love the advances that are happening in web design that continues to push us to the next level and to make us strive for a look that is unique to our story and our product.