Common Ground: Graphic Design vs Interior Design

Common Ground: Graphic Design vs Interior Design

Picking the color of paint for my front door and stair way wall is a current project of mine.  The thought crossed my mind of how similar the process of choosing a color/style for my wall is to designing the color/style of my webpage.

It can seem quite stressful to make a decision that you’ll have to live with for the foreseeable future.  Change is doable.  But, you will lose time and money if you don’t like the outcome – and it can be super frustrating! So to avoid the frustrations, here are a few tricks of the design trade that will help you in whatever design avenue you are venturing in.

First – Know yourself

Deciding on a wall color seems pretty simple.   Any color seems like it would do.  You could even just consider painting it the same color as it was previously or just white!  Realistically, if we take a minute to look inside ourselves, usually we like change, or certain moods, feelings and environments.  I tend to like a simple, light, uplifting mood and color for my wall.  Similarly, when you design a website, it needs to be something that you like looking at.  It needs to create the mood and feeling you like to see.  Even if it sounds a little giddy — it needs to make you happy!

So, do some research.  Look at all different kinds of rooms (magazines, Pinterest, furniture stores, etc) to find a mood and color you like.  Alternately, for web design, look at lots of websites and find the ones that pull you in, make you want to stay a while.  Then, note these findings.  Keep them in a journal or reference file.  And with these findings, in a small way, you know yourself.

Second – Motif

Keeping a motif  helps you to stick to a style and keep your design cohesive.  A motif is a distinctive feature or idea in design that forms a pattern or decorative design.  With a wall, this may be the texture, pattern or gloss of the paint.  In web design, this would be the theme or reoccurring patterns on your site that help it be cohesive.  For example, your site might display these preview cards on each page to help navigate your reader.  Or, your header could be displayed in the same fashion on each page.  There needs to be something consistent that blends the design and helps it all come together.

Third – Balance

Balance should be considered in every design you encounter.  Balance is affected by the lines, shapes, colors, even textures that are present.  So, to achieve balance in your design you need to understand the ‘weight’ of objects. Dark colors are heavier and should be used comparatively less then light colors to achieve a balance.  Heavy lines on one side need to be counteracted by several smaller lines on the opposite sides. This creates balance without things being exactly symmetrical.   (Although symmetrical is a good way to balance a design too.)

When designing a webpage, balance can be achieved by creating ‘white space’.  White space is actually just that.  Space with nothing in it.  Blank white parts in a design.  When there’s balance, your eyes see the design as comfortable and pleasing.

Do you want the wall you’re painting to be an accent wall?  Do you want it to lengthen the room?  All these things help to balance out the space and create the mood and environment you are after.

Fourth – Have fun! 

Best of all — Have fun!  Your design shows the world who you are.  Really. Surprisingly, it comes out in your wall color!  It comes out in your business website! It comes out in the color of wardrobe you choose to wear!  There is no reason not to have fun with it. Let design bring out your inner self and  you’ll find your design decisions make you happy!