During my research I select and bookmark some good websites which impress me. After I sketch a general wireframe, focalized on the resolution of my particular problem (such us the strange requests of crazy clients), and then it can begin the work with Photoshop. This is, generally, the inceptive routine.
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A my dear friend, in one of our discussions about web design, suggests me “try to use off-line inspiration, listening music for example. You could build pretty original web design.”
I initially am wary. Then a client asks me a website for a Blues Band. So I say to myself “We can try!”
I have build a website layout (Called Vince Vega) using the inspiration simply induces from music. Below you can see the final result.
In this article I want to explain how music has inspired this layout. I will describe the design process step-by-step making clear which songs I listened for each phase. This kind of work usually requires 60 – 120 min. and the timing of the following tracklist covers 70 – 90 minutes, but during the development of the design I have heard twice some tracks.
It’s important to listen some songs of the band for understanding the genre. Well, they are a blues band with some nuances of jazz, great music in my opinion. So, get in the zone.
Hearing the first tracklist I decide the color, “deep” dark blue, I want a dreamy atmosphere in a nocturne sky, using some “grunge” elements, but holding a clean and readable layout.
The power of music… four songs that inspire good ideas. Fantastic!
Now I need energy to start the work. I want rock songs. Sure, it’s strange to pass from trumpet and voice of Louis Armstrong to the sound of “modern” rock, but I risk of dreaming too long, I should work.
In my mind the goal is clear, for this reason it isn’t difficult to draft a simple wireframe on my block-note. I want a simple layout that emphasizes the communicative power of the blues and of the jazz.
Below it’s possible to see the first sketch.
Now I can start the work from scratch in Photoshop, holding in my mind the main guidelines.
In this step I want to create the basis to recreate the nocturne sky, remembering that the main topic of the website is the music of a band.
The following tracklist help during this stage.
I use a dark layer of background (#000) and draw a large, round, gradient (with The Gradient Tool in Photoshop) from #113567 color to #000 on a new layer.
Over these layers I create a texture layer, using this picture, and now I can add a photo with a guitar. Both the layers need an opportune blending mode and some adjustment layers.
A little tip. I add a new clipping mask layer above the clouds layers that contains a photo (I set the blending mode luminosity and an opportune opacity).
Blues is famous for the “blue note” (the “worried” note), a note played at a slightly lower pitch than that of the major scale for expressive purposes. It is almost “discordant”, but it makes a great emotive impact.
I try to reproduce this concept using some grunge elements in the header.
First of all I make a simple logo using a sans serif font and a “grunge” font for the subtitle. I also apply a particular style to the text layers using Drop Shadow, Gradient Overlay and Stroke.
The right side of the header is perfect to add the “grunge elements”. I make use of the cut and paste technique to put in Polaroid picture, plectrums and the tag. I generally find the images at Stock.Xchng.Hu. The decorations on the background are created using Musik Brush by Rozairo.
Adding the menu I have the following result for header.
The client has done the explicit request for a direct promotional message including a large photo of the front man and some other images in the home page. Perfect, music!
I create a large box for the direct promotional message in which I can use a large typography and recall some elements of the header, such as Polaroid pictures and plectrum.
Now I must add the photo of the singer and saxophonist of the band (in our fictitious example, Vince Vega). I want an image that is perfectly immersed in overall design. I isolate the man shape from a photo of the subject using the Pen Tool of Photoshop (for the article I use a sample image from Stock.Xchng.Hu). For my aim I create a first layer, applying an opportune style to create a glow effect around the musician with a fill of 60-70%, under this I insert a second layer, in this case I apply the Gaussian Blur Filter. At the end add a blue Photo Filter for both the layers.
Below you can see the result.
The hard work is ended, and to conclude the design I need a cheerful tracklist.
In this last step of my design process I add the content in the right side. The choice of placing the content on right is aimed to highlight the promotional message because the updates of contents will not be frequent.
I end with a simple footer that futures social media links and online activities of the band, to separate the sections I use a bevel effect.
This was a simple experiment for improving my experience using a different kind of inspiration. Finally I am satisfied for the result (personal opinion). Sure, it is only a first part of a work and during the other steps, such us the hand-coding or the testing; probably we need maximum concentration and silence. However I’m really surprised of making a website layout in Photoshop without on-line inspiration, exclusively using the sensations induced from the music. It’s a very nice thing.
You can listen to the complete playlist on my Blip Account.
You can also download the complete layered PSD Template, but you can use the file only to learn more about the Photoshop tips used to build this layout. It is a work that I made for a local web agency, so I can allow a personal use of this file, exclusively for learning.