Young designers who are fresh out of graphic design school are often under the impression that they will be able to design spectacular works-of-art for every client. After a few years of nine to five labor, you come to understand the short cuts, what your employer or clients like and the types of briefs you should get before you can your web design project right the first time.

If you’ve been working as a graphic designer for a while, you are probably quicker, less emotionally sensitive about your work and able to produce a more professional-looking website than your inexperienced peers. The problem is that designers often pick up some bad habits along the way. Here are some back to basics website design principles:

Text vs background colors

We all learned that light text on a dark background isn’t a good idea, but after the hundredth site we start experimenting and decide that it isn’t such a bad option. Even if the website looks fine with light text on a dark background, it puts a lot of strain on the reader’s eyes, so try to avoid it if possible.

Get your navigation right

Research, as well as trial and error, has showed that people look at to certain areas on a website to find the “About Us” page, “Contact Us” page or a booking form. These facts should be incorporated into your basic design principles. Even if it seems repetitive and boring – you can reinvent the wheel in other ways without it leading to the website user struggling to navigate the site.

Don’t overdo PHP

If you’ve gotten the hand of more complicated website programming languages such as PHP (as opposed to HTML or CSS), don’t start using it for all your projects. PHP is great for more a complex site, such as e-commerce or multiple forums, but CSS still offers easier, more user-friendly layout for smaller sites.

Less is more

Don’t overcrowd your pages with logos, animation or graphics. If you need to draw the website user’s eyes to a specific section of the page, you can do so by simply changing the font or typography if the page is already too busy.