I spend a lot of time on the internet (surprising, huh?), and much of that time is spent looking at the websites of my fellow creative ladies. I have noticed something websites are all starting to look exactly the same, and I have some thoughts on why this has happened.
I’m dishing out a little tough love, so I want you to know that I am 100% guilty of creating websites that aren’t award winning marvels.
Reason 1: Designers aren’t aware what is possible.
I have been creating websites for almost a decade and in that time a lot has changed. The limits of web design and development are being broken every day. What once was impossible to achieve is now an exciting opportunity.
Designers have been told for years by web developers that what they designed was too difficult to implement. That’s not the case anymore, but designers are still restricting themselves to what they believe are limitations of web development. Stretch the limits of your designs without fear of restriction.
Reason 2: Designers are limited in their ability to develop unique designs.
A lot of us do lots of different things, but we are usually better at one thing over everything else. I’m going to assume your special gift is design, and development is your Achilles heel (if you even venture there at all). As a designer who also develops you are probably limiting yourself to all-in-one WordPress themes and builders which allow you to stay in your comfort zone of design. Developing your own work is limiting your designs.
What’s the solution? A web developer, of course! By finding a web developer that you can truly connect with and form a partnership, you can finally have the freedom to push the envelope on design. Now, some things may still be impossible (or just not good practice), but a good web developer will work with you, guiding your designs and finding a solution that is both unique and functional.
Reason 3: Designers are copying too much.
Good designers copy; great designers steal. – Pablo Picasso
OK, before you get mad at me because you think I’m accusing you of infringing on copyrights and being totally unoriginal – I’m not. I’m assuming that you start most of your projects with research. You learn about your client’s business, their dream clients, their aesthetic, and their competitors. In that search you are inevitably going to look at lots of websites and you (and your client) will gradually start to gravitate toward implementing a similar design.
So, the tricky part is performing the research without letting it influence your design. You can start by getting to know your client’s aesthetics outside their business. Find out what kind of images they are drawn to from a large collection that is totally unrelated to their work. Find out where they like to shop, how they decorate their home, etc. To keep yourself free from outside influence it will probably help to come up with a (new) creative process. Get out away from your desk, let your mind wander and come up with the craziest, most unique designs before reigning yourself back in.
I have talked a lot about pushing the envelope on design, but I feel like I should put a disclaimer here, because ultimately the purpose of design is to meet a goal. One goal is certainly to make brands stand out, but we must also create functional and accessible websites that are meeting the needs of our clients and users.
So, what are you going to do to help your designs stand out in the crowd? How are you going to make a lasting impact in the minds of your potential clients? Please help me in creating a more unique web with exciting design and implementation.