I Could Never Be a Designer

 |  Interwebs

I’m sat in today, waiting for the plumber to come and fix the hot tap in the bathroom. Instead of doing something constructive like tackling my ridiculous to-do list I’m fiddling with a design I started last night and wondering how I ever manage to finish these things.

I could never be a graphic designer… or a web designer for that matter. As per usual, I’m trying to add the finishing touches to a layout and find myself frustrated and confused by what should go where. How should I align the comments link, and should I make it big and bold to encourage people to comment, or less obvious so as not to detract from the entries? High contrast or low? Georgia or Trebuchet MS for the headings?

It’s all of these little things that make me crave the logic and sturdiness of cold, hard coding.

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

109 comments so far

  1. Matt said:

    Ooh I look forward to (hopefully?) seeing it sooner or later! :P I wish I could say the same… but I rush most of my layouts. I don’t think about anything when making them, I basically leave everything the same :P

  2. Kiera said:

    Hehe…I’m going to school for Graphic Design, i LOVE it. All that composition, white space, color contrast talk makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. That’s not to say I don’t go through my frustrations with it, I do all the time. Knowing when I’m have too much or too little is a struggle at times. You know, I also have web design students at my school that say they could never see themselves as graphic designers too, even though some of the same principles in graphic design can apply to web design.

  3. Vixx said:

    Whereas I am the COMPLETE opposite. Making things look good comes easily enough; making things WORK and writing dynamic code? Considerably fucking harder!! V xx

  4. Bobbi-lee said:

    I’m the complete opposite, I can’t code for shit, I just keep trying to learn. But I can design fairly well, except as usual my design in Photoshop never looks as good in code.

  5. Jordan said:

    My roadblock is usually just trying to come up with an original concept whether it’s for my site or a clients. When you’re so used to browsing certain sites that look one way,you keep seeing that design when you’re trying to get a wireframe together. It’s frustrating because it’s this perpetual annoyance. Meh. Most of the time I like the challenge. I just think I’ll end up going bald and crazy if I have to deal with clients that hire shitty graphic designers that make concepts that are better suited for 1999.

  6. Whitters said:

    I’m exactly the same way. Give me 100,000 lines of coding and I’d be right at home. But give me a 500x250px image in Photoshop and tell me to do something visually appealing and fundamentally useful with it and I’m at a complete loss. It’s probably why I’m taking the extra time to add in art (especially digital art) classes to my major here in school. That way I won’t be as lost as I was/am now.

  7. Emsz said:

    This looks great Jem :) I’ll have to get used to it, because it’s a great contrast with your last one, but I will :P I’m not really good at those things either, my layouts usually look almost the same, only with different colours and a different header :P

  8. Bobbi-lee said:

    woah I wasnt expecting this. Wow it’s so different from your norm yet I really like it. I’m on a slow connection so when it loaded I saw the polka dot background and I thought hmm I think I typed in the wrong site, then I saw it my eyes popped (in a good way). The only thing I think you should/could change is the links for the asides/notes/updates section as the text link “elsewhere” doesnt look like a link. Everything else about the sidebar is fine.

  9. Ian said:

    i thought i broke the site for a sec, but ctrl+F5 revealed a brand-spankin purty new layout! i am the same as you, when I attempt (enfasis on attemt) to design something its insuferably difficult, but coding just sorta flows through me and it way easier.

  10. Amber said:

    I think this is going to take me a while to adjust! I certainly wasn’t expecting to see this when I heard of your new layout! I like it though, of course. :P

  11. Aaron said:

    Keep Georgia for the headers. It looks good. But I’m not a huge fan of this. It’s too cute for my taste. Bright colours are nice, though, but your last layout was better. I can see myself getting used this new one eventually but the change is very dramatic. I do like how the title is in the sidebar, though. That’s cool. When you are finished tweaking it and fixing/redoing elements of it, I’m sure it’ll look better.

  12. Hannah said:

    Wow! Upon coming here, I was all “Wait- I thought I was going to Jemjabella?!” I love the layout! Even though it’s aligned to the left, it’s big enough that I don’t care (and I’m picky!). The only problem I have is that the header bar doesn’t extend all the way to the side; it just kind of ends. (image is 1680×1050 pixels – will load really really slow on dialup) http://tinyurl.com/3d46hj

  13. Kaylee said:

    I love it! :D It’s so cute; not really what I’d associate with you, but nice nonetheless. The dotted background is great, and Georgia headers, all the way! One thing I don’t like is the sidebar links; the bullets and the hover effect do not appeal to me. But I’m sure you’ll be tweaking things for a while…

  14. Jordan said:

    Drastic change in color scheme aside, this is definitely a concept that I can adjust to easily. I also like the lack of a footer–it’s a rarity when one doesn’t have it so I like that you kept it out. Not too sure how I am on the amount of light blue, but they all play well together. I’ll get used to it eventually! :o)

  15. Stephanie said:

    Actually, I think the fact that you’re thinking about all the details of how things work together shows that you could, in fact, be a designer of some sort,*because* you think about the details and how they relate aesthetically. Okay, honesty time: I think I must have been enthralled at your last layout, by the number of times I examined it to see if I could get a design inspiration for myself from it. It also seemed to go with your personality a lot better. So much sky blue just does not make sense for you, in my opinion.

  16. Daniel said:

    Hmm.. definitely a change. Its nice … personally too light bluish for my taste but it is well designed. I liked the ones you’ve been designing like the last one and the one before that. It seems more to the tone to the site. But this one is nice.

  17. Mari said:

    I like this layout better than the last. It’s really pretty and I love the colors. Honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the last one. I’m not really turned on to those colors. This is a nice change. However, I’m not sure I like the stretch of dotty background on the right. To me, it makes the content and sidebar look misaligned. I took a screen shot and played with it and I think this looks a little bettter: http://starrycity.com/images/jemjabellascreenshot.gif

  18. Annie said:

    I have the same problem as you when it comes to designing layouts =/ But wow, I love this; it’s a nice change from your dark layout! And it’s so cute :)

  19. Nellie said:

    Aside from having to drag my eyes over to the left side of the screen, this is one sexy layout. I’m having the same problem as you at the moment with my new layout. I want it to be better than the last one obviously but nothing is working out as I want it to! :(

  20. Lydia said:

    I love it! It’s very sleek and different from what I usually see here. It’ll be a pleasure to browse. :D One thing I’d add is a footer at the bottom, because on pages such as your articles page, the bottom just “cuts off” due to your content not filling up the entire space. I’m using 1024 x 768 resolution, by the way.

  21. Roxanne said:

    Yea Jem, never could you be a web/graphic designer. I mean look at this layout, its horrible! (Sarcasm) The colors all work well with each other and I love the font you used for the site’s title. To me, it’s more inviting then your last layout. Great job! =)

  22. Elcee said:

    As far as I can tell, this looks really good! I love the colors and the polka dot background on the right. I also have trouble choosing fonts for headings as well, even though it’s doesn’t really matter. What font did you use for the ‘Jemjabella’ text?

  23. Rilla said:

    Wow. Blue. This is so cute. But I’m not used to seeing a left-aligned layout at Jemjabella. :P Are you still editting? Because the navigation and content columns don’t span 100% height on shorter pages. It is so very new and flash :D

  24. Annie said:

    I think this layout is pretty but I’m not so sure about the pokidots, they doesn’t seem to fit in with the design. The name of your site doesn’t stand out, it might help if you made it more noticeable so people know they’re at Jemjabella, as this design is a complete contrast to your usual style. Eek, I hope I’m not sounding snobby :S I know you haven’t completed the design and everything but I just thought you’d like to know that when I refreshed the page I got this *screen shot* http://tinyurl.com/yw93ls.

  25. Skye said:

    Cute, but my eyes had to squint and adjust because of the glaring blue! Are you done editing? “And more besides” content doesn’t look good with the alignment and such. Contrary to you, I love thinking of what colors and elements to use to make everything flow together. I’d rather NOT code. lol

  26. Tish said:

    Wow, it’s very bright. I know that’s rich coming from me, but whatever :P I quite like it actually. The polka dots annoyed me when I first saw them, but now they’re starting to grow on me. The zigzags are a very nice touch as well.

  27. Hayley said:

    It’s very different. I’d like to see you center (centre? Coding has ruined my spelling) align it. I’m not crazy about the polkadots, for some reason, my brain’s first thought when it saw the layout was, “OMG, Jem’s pregnant!” (rumour mill here I come!) which perhaps isn’t the desired effect. I like the colours overall though and the zigzags are nice. One other thing, the bullet images on the sub-pages seem to be a bit too high up for their text? I’ve only looked at it in Opera (Windows) though. As for designing, I’ve got 5 layout designs that I did over two days. Only one of them was reasonable enough for me to attempt coding it and then IE6 broke me so I’ve left it for now.

  28. Ashley said:

    Wow, not what I was expecting to see when I visited your site today. I personally like the change. It’s different and not what I would typically expect from you. :)

  29. Jem said:

    @Hayley: I’d love for it to be center aligned but because of the way the sidebar is fixed and the content is fluid I’ve not quite figured it out yet. :S Thank you for all the feedback, everyone. Please bear in mind I’m having to edit this live because my laptop is still not set up with all my tools. This means things may break/change at random.

  30. Hayley said:

    Ah, I know that problem, currently having it with my new layout for quasi-evil, along with the problem of column lengths. Ninja looks brill. Does that mean it’s NinjaLinks here we come? :D

  31. Belinda said:

    Aww I was expecting the world’s bluest sidebar! I was imagining a torrid, uber-saturated gross blue! *dreams are dashed* :P But still, wow what a bubbly layout! My only question is, below the contents area, it’s currently still shorter than the sidebar (for the next 5 minutes probably, until this page is filled with comments as per usual), the right zig-zag edge of the sidebar isn’t the transparent; it has a backing of white. Bah, I can’t describe it, here’s a screenshot I took: http://immortalised.net/jemlayout.jpg I know it’s incredibly nitpicky but if possible, could it be transparent also? But yeah, it’s a tiny TINY thing. :P That ninja is so adorable!

  32. Jem said:

    @Belinda: the reason why it’s not transparent was because of the way the backgrounds are “stacked”. Instead of trying to work around this I’m currently trying to get the background to flow all the way down.

  33. Grant Mc said:

    i am back from barcalona whooo nice new layout i lk the center version of this layout compared to the other one i lk the ninja v.nice!!1

  34. Sarah said:

    Nice! I can’t remember the last time there was a light-colored theme on your site. This looks more like something Bubs would make rather than you. I think it’s pretty, though. :)

  35. Sarah said:

    Just noticed, upon submitting the previous comment, that the comment-added page looks wonky in this layout. The main area gets cut off because there’s only a paragraph or so of text, and the bottom area ends in a straight white line. Maybe for shorter pages, you could have the zig-zagging blue line along the bottom, so that the main area would connect better to the sidebar?

  36. Sarah said:

    Another comment! It seems a bit redundant to have a ‘See comments’ link directly above where the comments start. I can move my eyes 1 inch downward and see the comments myself!

  37. Jem said:

    @Sarah: the background is an “ongoing concern”, the “See comments” is left over from when I was fiddling with related posts above the comments (it’ll be removed) and I’ll add the ninja to the sub-sections. Thanks :3

  38. Meli said:

    OH my goodness, this is neat. I mean, first glance it’s like, where is that typical Jemmy dark layout? Well, the first one I saw of yours was pink and white, but on a dark grey background. Anyhow, suffice to say this is terrific. And the “1337” ninja just works. I agree about the comments link like Sarah said, though. And the asides on the sidebar look a wee bit funny, mostly I think because it’s wider than the blue background of the header directly above it. It doesn’t look so wonky down below, but for the asides, it just looks a bit off.

  39. Mari said:

    Hmmm, I commented before with a suggestion but it didn’t go through. You’ve already centered the layout anyway, as was my suggestion, so it doesn’t matter anymore. But I wonder why my comment didn’t appear?

  40. Mari said:

    Oh, my old comment did go through. I’m sorry, I must have missed it when I was scrolling down. Please feel free to delete both this comment and the one about how it didn’t go through :S

  41. Nyxx said:

    It’s starting to look really cool with the ninja and the fact it is now centered… but the polka dots… I don’t really like them. They look childish and unprofessional to me :S…

  42. Kimmie said:

    While everyone knows I absolutely love blue layouts… there’s just not enough contrast with this one. The blue sidebar blends in too much with the polka dot background. I also have to agree that I don’t really like the polka dots. They just don’t make sense with the ninja. Maybe throwing stars instead? Other than that, everything looks good.

  43. Rachel said:

    I’m with you on that, Jem. I always wonder how I manage to get some things looking decent. And even then, when I go back to look at it, I go, “Ugh…how could I’ve possibly found that appealing?” And want to redesign the whole thing only to find myself getting irritated and frustrated.

  44. Nyxx said:

    Oh and I think there is to much shades of blue… look at sidebar then background then navigation… they are too many, don’t you think?? Oh but how I love the ninja, I can’t stop staring at the ninja/title! :P

  45. Vix said:

    I’m much the same way – I can get the basic layout up and running with ease but all the bells and whistles confuse the heck out of me. Too many options! Even though this layout is bright, it’s not overwhelmingly so. Loving the jagged edges and the ninja!

  46. Vera said:

    I like the ninja a lot *high-fives*, though it does look like he/she is holding a banana hehe. The background (blue with whit dots) still irks me, but I suppose it’s more due to the fact that I don’t like the style. Anyway, I believe you need a footer of some kind, when the page is “shorter”, i.e. it doesn’t scroll and doesn’t reach the bottom of my browser window (I use 1280x1024px screen resolution) the layout ends rather suddenly… making it seem like it lacks something.

  47. Connie said:

    I actually really like the polka dots. They stick out and give me the contrast that I need. I think you need the contrast, otherwise its too “clean”? Just my personal preference. I like it Jem!

  48. Vixx said:

    This looks fantastic, Jem. And as I’m not a pyschopant (del sp) in any way, I hope you know that that’s a genuine compliment. My fav layout by you to date. :) V xx

  49. Saya said:

    Gorgeous new layout- I love the little ninja up there. Are the numbers 1337 of any significance? Unless it’s supposed to say l33t … hehe.. looking forward to any other ways you’ll improve the layout :D

  50. Laur said:

    I’m the same way. I used to be really into my designs and everything, but for a while now I’ve just decided to keep it simple. You’d think that would make things easier for me, especially considering how much I recycle my CSS (so I really have hardly anything to change), but I always have difficulty finishing off a new layout. They don’t even… have anything to them. They’re just completely plain, so I don’t know why it’s so difficult for me. Oh well.

  51. Hev said:

    I am sorry to disagree with your other visitors, but I love your new theme. It is a nice change from your normal “dark” layouts. But this is my opinion. I really can’t think of anything to change, but it is your decision.

  52. Aimee said:

    Very cute layout. It’s unique when compared to your other layouts, which is somewhat refreshing. Not what I would associate with “you”, perse, but it’s no less organised, clean and pleasing to the eye! Another success, I’d say. I look forward to it being deemed finished and complete!

  53. Julie said:

    Looking good. *loves Jacky’s ninja* I’m not too sure about the dotted background, but I like the border on the sidebar and content areas. The color scheme is also very welcoming.

  54. Emsz said:

    I really like the new look :D (Like I’ve said before) But now that I’m looking at it at school (IE6) The sidebar is all the way down. It’s not even next to the content anymore! It’s kind of underneath it all… Which is too bad for Jacky’s Ninja really..

  55. Bonita In Pink said:

    New reader here! I don’t know what your website looked like before, but it looks great now! I’m the same way… I suck at web designing and CSS and all that “designing” stuff but I manage to get by somehow… I don’t know why people still visit me actually! hahaha

  56. Jon said:

    I love your website design so I don’t worry about it so much. I think you would make a great designer. I think i prefer the older darker design to this current blue one but thats just my opinion. They are both great. It’s all of these little things that make me crave the logic and sturdiness of cold, hard coding. I agree with you on that. Im always wanting to just get some code done rather than mess around in photoshop. Can we get lots more posts on SEO tips :) Would be great!