A girl I dated a while ago did something pretty much everyone who catches wind of what you do for a living does, which is critique your work. They mostly mean well of course, offering constructive criticism, but more often than not they tend to miss the whole point.
I mean sure, we’re perhaps conditioned look at anything design related from the point of view of the visual appeal, but when you cross over to the other side and look at design from the point of view of the designers and the primary clients for whom the designs are being put together, it’s not about visual appeal at all. Okay, maybe just a little bit, but it’s not about how “pretty” the logo is or how “glossy” the website is, for example.
So in the same way my ex girlfriend didn’t quite like how many of the websites we’d designed looked (some she really loved as well), some clients do indeed miss the point of design – they miss the essence of design.
Look, I know clients perhaps want to weigh-in on how their brand is going to be ultimately represented through their website or through other branding material, but for goodness’ sake – sometimes they can get really petty in trying to put their own stamp on everything, like weighing in with seemingly insignificant suggestions such as moving the logo, using a different font or even something like using images which they deem to be “more professional” (“spelled stock photography”). These may seem like very small suggestions that have no real bearing on the overall design, but then sometimes their impact is much more significant than what you may think, prompting us designers to sometimes even go as far as not associating our names with the final draft the client is happy to go live with.
I swear – there are so many instances in which our own agency has chosen to forgo including that “Website Designed & Developed by Us” footer. This is because the petty little tweaks the stubborn client insisted on having done ultimately fall outside of standard and optimal web design standards. It’s a matter that strikes at the heart of what the essence of great design is – it’s not so much about appearance, but rather about functionality.
Think about it from this point of view – when someone visits your website, do you want them to spend a bit of time browsing through the pages and marvelling at just how beautiful it is with all its animations and gloss, or do you want them to get all the information about your products and services in a focussed and effective way?
It’s the latter, isn’t it? That’s why any self-respecting designer would point to a website such as that of Master Environmental as one of the best out there. It’s all about what the company has to offer and the beauty of this site resides in how the information a possible client would want is delivered – upon landing on the site you immediately know that these guys are the real deal when it comes to the handling of environmental waste!
That’s the essence of great design!