I’m a designer by trade. I have a degree in graphic design and illustration and design is ultimately what I’m really good at. I appreciate all aspects of design from cartoons to web design to interior design and everything in between. Since I’ve traveled down the web design path I obviously deal with how my client’s web presence is presented to the world and I believe that the most subtle details are incredibly important. I have experience with what works and why – so I appreciate it when a client lets me fully do my job because design is CRITICAL to the successful translation of your business to the web.
This is not a post about the finer points of web design because this is not the place and there are a million other sites that focus on the art and craft of web design. My sole point here is to convey my belief that designers should be left to do their job – unless they do something that is 100% wrong and against everything that you stand for – something that they’re not aware of – they should be trusted most of the time. Designers are hired for a reason so why not let them do their job?
Now, this is not to say that designers are ALWAYS right. You should feel free to step in if something is blatantly wrong or you simply don’t like the work. There’s always another way to travel in design. But there is a fine line between a successful design and one that completely misses the mark. What you think is important or what you think is right might ultimately kill the design and affect the overall success of your website.
There is a fine line. I don’t have an example to illustrate this in web design but you usually know it when you see it. But I do have two great examples to illustrate the concept. First, I’m a big fan of Pixar animation. (The Disney company that has successfully brought their animation division out of the tank) If you closely study what makes the characters and the overall movies successful you’ll find that it’s a success because of the details. Characters are believable, characters are funny, characters are believable because of the very, very subtle details that the animator labored over to make them so. Without incredible attention to detail and a knowledge of design and animation the character and ultimately the movie would fall flat on it’s face. The same concept holds true for design in all other arenas – especially web design. The right colors, fonts, placement of elements, textures, photos, navigation elements, etc. all need to be precisely placed for success.
To close out my illustration of this idea I have a funny example. I followed a twitter link from a friend and saw an advertisement for a t-shirt company that sells humorous shirts. I followed the link and just laughed out loud at most of them – mostly because they NAILED the joke with a very simply illustration. The success of the joke relies precisely with how the details are presented by the designer. There’s a very fine line between a joke that leaves you rolling and a joke that falls flat. In the example to the right I don’t believe that this joke would even be slightly funny if the designer didn’t nail the elephant’s expression and how it’s holding the weapon. I believe the same attention to design and the details should be applied to your website – and an experienced designer is the one that can get the job done right.
Chris Auman is the President and Creative Director for Sanctuary Marketing Group, Inc. – You can follow him on Twitter.