Artistically challenged - am I wasting my time?

As I complete my first HTML/CSS projects on FCC, I’ve come to find that I’m sometimes more frustrated with style, design, color than with the coding itself.

I’m a machinist. That’s my current full-time occupation. In this trade I would say a good machinist is definitely a creative person in a way that lends itself well to coding. Working with and understanding various machine tools - their capabilities and limitations - and how to use them to get to where I need to be. Very analogous to coding, I think. So the code half of things doesn’t bother me so much. What has been bothering me lately is looking at the finished projects of other people on here. They look so nice! I just finished writing the markup for my survey project. I got all the code to pass easily. But now that I’m trying to apply a style to the thing I can’t seem to get it to look… Not ugly.

I can’t draw well. I can’t seem to pick any pleasing color combinations. And my layouts always wind up being pretty much the same.

So my question: is there a place for a person like me in web development? Or am I just wasting my time since I probably won’t ever make anything very visually pleasing?

Good UX (user experience) design is not art. There are rules and best practices and research to back them up. The vast majority of web applications are not meant to look like works or art. They should be easy to use, adaptable, and usability oriented. If you actually use reference material for design decisions, you’ll actually be doing much better than most people who trust their “eye for design”.

Yes, there is.

This is also something you can get better at with a little practice, but visual design isn’t something every dev has to concern themselves with.

If you happen to be a good designer then you can be more marketable in some contexts, but it’s not necessary for all programming jobs.

In my current job, I get no say over colour choices, but I do need to be aware of sensible design when it comes to use of white space.

Tip #3 from the article below really got me to think differently about design and my ability to do it. The whole article is good, but #3 stuck with me.


Awesome. Thank you very much for that. The article was an interesting read.

I mean just look at
There is not really any artistic design and the layout is quite simple. I think too many people look at websites on dribble and think they have to make websites look that good. Of course you can learn design and how to make your own, but focus on the code right now and learn some design on the side gradually.

Oh, I’m pretty officially neurologically impaired when it comes to making things look good. However, what thaty’s boiled down to is when I have to, I follow simple rules and … end up with somethign simple that works, like that little icon for Aunt James Academy…
I’m sharing everything and … if somebody wants to make it prettier, let 'em have at it :wink:

Hey @iSmashButtons :wave:

There is definitely a place for you in web developement. A lot of engineers who are part of a larger team, don’t necessarily have any freedom on the design anyway, as there will be project managers, lead designers and such, so the interfaces of the websites, or software you’re developing has already been decided.

You may be able to offer better suggestions while implementing those designs, and in a good team your opinion will count for a lot. You will also learn a lot from the designers. I’m a QA on a team, and my personal projects have improved just by working with other designers.

Keep at it, you’re miles ahead of me already… you can make your code pass! :smiley:

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That is fine.

Not everything needs to be visually pleasing, nor does everyone have to be a CSS expert. Simply put you could become better (as most suggest above) at learning the basics, leveraging the tools and practicing so you can make things nicer looking, or you can just focus your efforts on non visual parts of projects.

I’m a terrible artist, if you ask me to draw people, I will draw stick figures. I have the artistic skills of the average 1st grader. This isn’t a big issue because my job is to deal with code, logic, databases, and operations. All the stuff that sits “behind the scenes” of what the user interacts with. I tend to a few visual issues here and there, but I usually leverage existing tools, methods, approaches, or just ask for help.

Knowing what your good at, and not good at is better than trying to be good at everything. As it allows you to understand what you can and can’t do. If you aren’t a CSS wizard, or have any artistic skills and you know it, then good. You can go out and try to get better at it, or focus your efforts on making up for that weakness. Web development is such a wide field, there are plenty of jobs and plenty of work beyond just what stuff looks like.