7 Secrets Graphic Designers Won’t Tell You about Effective Website Design

The other night I stumbled across a blog post from 2010 entitled ‘7 Secrets Graphic Designers Won’t Tell You about Effective Website Design’.
The 7 points were very interesting and insightful and did have a slant towards educating potential clients of designers of what to look out for and what to ask for.
But one thing did bother me… that was that the article only spoke of the negatives of Graphic Designers rather than having a balanced argument to it.

The article spoke of websites that have been designed to be different but are too confusing for the user… Point taken I’ve seen a lot of those!
The article also spoke of those Graphic Designers who promise an effective website but don’t deliver what they have promised, that isn’t uncommon either!

But let’s not forget that in a designer / client relationship there are two aeries involved and in my experience the client is just as culpable in any mistakes or ineffective qualities as the designer.

Most website projects involve the client sending at least one request via email saying “can we just add this, this and this?”.
This attitude towards design always causes an issue and is usually an added extra that the client wants but isn’t prepared to pay extra for, no matter how much extra work it takes the designer to apply. A lot of designers will take the hit and gladly add the requested extras, but they can get out of hand and result in the designer / client relationship breaking down.

Would you ask a builder to just add an extra square metre to your extension (without charge) or ask your local bartender for an extra couple of drinks (on the house)? No, you probably would not.

So by all means read all the articles that educate you about what to ask for when employing a designer to help you, but please keep in mind the fact that the designer is there to help you develop your business and he or she cannot do it all for you, you have to have just as much positive input and respect what they are producing for you.

If you’re still interested the seven points were:
1: Pretty doesn’t count. (it helps though)
2: You don’t need a redesign. (actually a lot of websites really DO need a redesign)
3: You don’t need to spend a fortune. (very true)
4: Maintaining a website needn’t be expensive. (very true)
5: You don’t need to be totally unique. (very true, look at copycat brands for example)
6: Branding is a special skill, and not all designers do it well. (very true again, branding is more than just a nice logo… A lot more!)
7: Design Isn’t Just about Photoshop. It’s about Psychology. (very true, all sales and marketing is about psychology.


My comment to the article is shown below:

Hi, I know I’m a bit late in commenting, but I’ve only just stumbled across your article tonight. I think it hits the mark. I’m a Graphic Designer yet I always approach my design briefs from a strategic point of view first. Too many designers know how to use the design programmes, but don’t know how to use their brains.
Sure, a design must look attractive, but it must also be cohesive and simplicity is always the best form of design, whether your designer the user journey through the website or just simply designing the skin.
But a website isn’t enough on its own and a marketing mix of both online and print solutions needs to be applied to attract visitors and potential customers, and then to nurture those customers so they’ll come back for more.
A designer is a part of the process, not the be all and end all of it.
But let’s not forget that some designs do get out of hand because of client demands too, “can we just add this” is very common and often an unpaid extra that is shoehorned into a design brief but really shouldn’t be there.
Designers are followers of trends and a lot of inexperience designers will piggy-back on a design trend and force it upon a client rather than actually think what the client needs to maximise their ROI. It’s always worthwhile spending a bit of time looking for an experienced designer with a strategic marketing background rather than just someone who ‘dresses like a designer’ and promises a lot but delivers very little.

 


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