Tutorial :Silverlight developer wants to gain some designer chops - where do I start?



Question:

I'd like to reskin a Silverlight app to be more visually compelling. Unfortunately, I went to school for computer science, not design, and I have trouble deciding if two colors even match. How do I get started? Let me add that time and money are both factors so pursuing a design degree isn't an option (though it might be ideal).

EDIT: I also need to learn how to implement good design, so any guidance on the toolsets (Blend or Illustrator?) would be helpful too.


Solution:1

Design is one of those things that is very difficult to teach. Only a small percentage of it can be taught. The rest must be learned through experience and practice. If you have an inclination toward art / expression, your learning curve will be much shorter. Here are some things to get you started:

Color Theory:

http://www.tigercolor.com/color-lab/color-theory/color-theory-intro.htm

http://www.colormatters.com/colortheory.html

Design Basics:

http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/graphicdesign/a/designbasics.htm

http://www.online.tusc.k12.al.us/tutorials/grdesign/grdesign.htm

Software:

http://www.adobe.com/products/illustrator/

http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/compare/

Software Tutorials:

http://www.adobe.com/designcenter/video_workshop/


Solution:2

Visit the Cooper site. The books listed there are well worth a read. "About Face" in particular belongs in the library of anyone required to do UI work.


Solution:3

If you're really only interested in making your app look nicer, going with one of the built-in themes from the latest Silverlight Toolkit is probably a smart choice.

Check out the links below.

Toolkit -Themes

Jesse Liberty Blog - Themes

EDIT: I'm not much of a designer myself, but I know if I wanted some insight on the subject, I would start by going to the Silverlight Showcase page and seeing some of the things that can be done, and drawing inspiration from these apps.

Silverlight Showcase


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