This blog is about my studies in Web Design. I’ll write about my journey to a new skill. Enjoy your stay.
First the good news. I’ve got 3 clients for the on the job learning. I couldn’t handle more since I also have to do a lot of others assignments besides client work. I’m meeting the teacher next week for a recap. Every day designers get rejections from possible clients for different reasons and it’s nothing personal. Fortunately, there’s always someone who needs something to be designed. In my case, web design. When you lose some, you gain some. The passport to a better web designer is practice. If you can’t find clients, you never become better. It’s the same with everything is life. Practice makes perfect. It’s a cliché but so true.
People think web design is done under a week and it’s easy but that’s not the case. It takes a lot of planning and it also depends on how much of work there is to be done. If you want a decent website for your business, it should be made by a professional. Website builders are usually made for people who doesn’t know coding and who wants to have it done quickly. But there are no free meals. Even using CMS have paid features. You can go quite far if you use a free template but it does have its limitations. You shouldn’t believe in commercials that say it doesn’t take long to build a website because that’s not exactly true. You can set up one but when it comes to designing, you need to know what you’re doing.
Before I started to study web design, I thought is would be easy. It wasn’t a drag and drop thing. You have to think how a site is built and understand coding. I’ve used WordPress platform for blogging and learned how to use it. But designing a website is a totally different challenge. Using WP in blogging has been a big help, though. Without that, it would have been harder to understand it. Finding a good theme takes a lot of time and when you do, you have to examine it how much you’re allowed to edit it. It takes a lot of time to explore different themes and to learn how everything works. If you make a site from scratch, it takes even longer since you have to think about code. That’s a different world and I really admire those who bother to learn it and like it. Luckily a web designer doesn’t have to learn all the codes in the world. As long as you understand them, that what matters. Making a good site takes a lot of time and effort.
There are as many different kinds of designers as there are photographers. Both professions seem to look easy and people wonder why they cost so much. It’s not only about a click of a button or dragging a mouse across the screen. They plan, meet clients, photo editing, some need to travel, pay different taxes and so on. Running a business is not cheap. Being creative is tough and you can’t do a job for free. As a beginner, you also have to market your skills and that doesn’t happen over night. It’s not only about designing things, you also need to communicate, manage a project, stay updated for new trends and you also need to update your portfolio from time to time. So before judging how much it costs, think about how much work there is to be done. Designers make a living off their skills and a good one deserves all they get. If I decide to continue on this web design road, I hope my passport is good enough for the journey.
I’ve been so immersed into my studies, I haven’t had time to write this blog. I don’t remember exactly what we have learned. This post is more of an update than how it has went so far.
We had Joomla and then some more WordPress. I also got myself an own domain for my portfolio. Even if it’s CMS, it’s still difficult. It’s the finding stuff, themes, codes etc. that is a pain in the neck. It’s nothing like the blog version of WordPress where you don’t have the chance to change the codes. In the website version, the one you can download on WordPress.org or your web hosting service. You have to search the widgets, themes and plugins by yourself. You can also download some plugins through WP. In Joomla, it’s even harder so I prefer WP to that. Also because I’m used to it.
On the job learning begins next week. I had 4 clients but now it seems, there’s only one. What I hate the most is waiting. I’m still waiting for a reply for 2 others but I’ve lost hope. I really hope people would email back instead of keeping me waiting for ages. This is not good. Failing on the last-minute. I really need clients to make sites for. I won’t graduate otherwise. Client work is the main thing. One client was sure but I still haven’t got the contract signed. I’m really worried now. I’ve come this far and I don’t want to give in. The job learning is for 6 weeks and if I don’t have a job during that time, it’s been useless. I have nothing to show to the assessors who’s gonna grade our work. Am I cursed somehow? I had a hand full of clients and now soon none. It’s so close now and then clients fail me. At least it’s not my job where I get paid. I would become very poor if I had an own business. Maybe people don’t want to rely on a student. But how can a student gets experience, if no one wants to give you practise. Everybody doesn’t have friends and family to make sites for. I’ve searched the internet for ideas how to get clients but they won’t help me. Maybe I’m driving people away. It makes me feel like a person who thought they were creative but no one else sees it that way. I won’t become a real web designer and I have yet again think what I want to do for a living. It was such a good idea at first. But losing clients, have made me think if I can do it after all.
Every wannabe designer have trouble getting a crack at it at first. That’s what I want to think at least. When you lose a client for no special reason, you get up again. But when you study web design and you need to find clients, you get almost desperate and worried you won’t find new one’s. Other thing is, can I really do it? It feels like I forgot everything I learned. In the first on the job learning, it was really difficult and it didn’t become a site. I can’t use that in the last exam. It’s not impressive at all for a client work. When something is being the target of assessment, it should be decently done. You need to prove your professionalism because it is after all a further vocational qualification. Not getting a client, is a lame excuse and I don’t want to be seen as a loser.
So this post won’t become a negative one, I’ll end this with a happier note. Things is never too bad, you can’t handle them. I got through the first client work with decency and no matter what happens, I shouldn’t give up hope.
In photo editing you’re never finished. You always learn something new and different methods. For me photoshop is the more familiar photo editing program. There are others like Gimp which is free but when you’re used to using Photoshop, you’ll never go back. If I want something done very quickly I use PicMonkey but other times, I use that one.
Last week we had photo editing all week and it ended today. We had Lightroom and then Photoshop. In school we have CS6 but it’s not much different from the newer versions. They all similar, it only depends what you need and how to use it. We learned for example how to put text in a photo, reflections to a text, patterns on a photo, clipping masks etc. We also practised doing banners. One thing is to know what kind of tools there is and the other how to master them. That’s why practise is very important. Even if photo editing is familiar to me, a repeat is always in order. Today we had a little about 3D in Photoshop even though it’s not in the education plan. There are other programs where you can do them that are much better. But if you only want to make something simple, the Photoshop one is enough. Making things in 3D is a totally different world.
We haven’t only done photo editing but also learning Finnish grammar. Even if we live here, there’s always difficulties. I’m not surprised at all that foreigners have problems with learning the language. Talking and writing is two different things. You have to know where to put commas and so on. I’ve had troubles with that since Finnish-Swedish is my mother tongue. Last but not least. We have an assignment where we work in pairs. One is the client and the other is the web designer. Then visa versa. It’s a made up bakery and confectionery business and the site will be made with WordPress, so it’s a real site. We interviewed each other and then we would write a history about the make up story based on the interview. Then we should make a banner and a logo. That’s next on the agenda. It’s good practise for the future. Making web sites is not something you do in a day. There’s a lot of planning and hair pulling before it’s finished. You don’t make a web site to yourself nor the client. You make it for the customers. They’re the one’s using the site. That’s a story for another day.