As a second year Graphic Design student you’d expect we’d be focusing more on areas such poster design, branding or even editorial design. We can do, and the workshops are open to us to do so. But not yet (for me anyway). In my first workshop sessions of the year I have been thrown into the wonderful world of web design.
And it’s difficult.
We’re learning to code in HTML and CSS and to all the computer science students and people who can already code, yes I know it’s not actually that difficult– it’s not programming code, I’m aware. But moving from open ended design to a logical program which requires you to remember to close your tabs (for example, <B> text here </B> makes the text bold– it won’t if you don’t include the closing tab) and to follow strict rules otherwise nothing will work? It hurts.
But y’know what? I’m loving it.
It’s challenging and I don’t really understand what’s going on but when I made a black box go around some other coloured boxes (and then put some simple padding in to move some text around) in the CSS part of our last workshop I felt like a computer wizard. I also felt like how US television depicts hackers a la NCIS and all I’d done was put a box inside another box. Step back Bill Gates, the new kid is on the block.
As a creative person we’re told to reject rules and to push boundaries yet web design doesn’t really let you do that– so it becomes strangely comforting to have to follow these parameters and rules, that as long as you remember to do some basic groundwork things will work and then you can be more creative (though again, by following rules). But at the same time, if it doesn’t work then sure you’ll have to pour over the code for a bit to find out it was one spelling mistake of one forgotten tab but at least you’ll learn from it.
In some ways it’s no different than making sure to manually adjust your leading and tracking in InDesign (sorry non designers, our jargon makes no sense to outsiders) but as you’ve got to do it by adding numbers in a screen with no images it becomes much scarier. Because like many other arty people I see maths as a thing to be feared and to run away from (obviously hyperbolic but seriously, I remember jack all from GCSE maths).
Despite its difficulty and the scary numbers I’m having a great time so far and would really recommend at least dipping a toe into the wonderful world of web design, which you can do at places such as codeacademy and codeavengers. If it’s not for you then hey, at least you tried, right?