Design or Decoration?

To design something is to start with a question, dilemma or problem and then to devise a visual or a system that answers the question or provides a solution. Whereas to decorate something is to take an existing item or object and add to it in such a way that it becomes more attractive. Both practices have there merits and uses however it can be damaging to treat them as interchangable.

The design part of our job as web designers is often considered to be the visual part, the layout, the colours the style. But the design in a website goes much deeper than that. We design how visitors will travel around the website, how they will find what they are looking for, how they interact with the site, how they access the products and services on offer. We design how to make visitors feel comfortable, and how to build trust and rapport using only web pages. Design thinking is at the heart of all of this.

When creating the kind of products we do (websites, logos etc…) making something that looks attractive is undeniably important but this is only one aspect of design.

Design is essentially about improving the way we live – in all facets of life. That can be physically, socially,emotionally… in any way.  When designing you need a solid reason for including each and every element and a rationale for every decision. This includes the parts behind the scenes, the areas where our clients update their site, or places where automated processes have been built in to reduce their workload. If doesn’t improve things on one level or another then it’s not included.

Pretty isn’t everything

Amazon / eBay are widely (and arguably) considered to be quite ugly sites. This is not to say however that they have not been wonderfully designed. Both sites are immensely easy to use and make the process of purchasing or listing items incredibly easy, this is in the most part due to the ergonomic, intelligent manner in which they have been designed. They are so successful at this that have become household names . Ebay to online auctions is what Biro is to pens.

An integrated approach

For us the function of a site and how it looks are dealt with hand-in-hand. Too much focus on functionality design and you can generate a site that is easy to use, but has no brand identity, that leaves the visitor cold. On the other hand focusing too much on visual appeal can make the website harder to navigate and irritating to use.

Design is about improving the way we live and if your website hasn’t improved the way you do business, or hasn’t improved the way your customers feel about your business then talk to us.

2 responses to “Design or Decoration?”

  1. It’s interesting how many people think graphic design is just about pretty/stylish/etc, but there again, a lot of people think teachers go home at 3.30!

    I think that due to the points raised above, when used correctly, design can help a company/project/charity/etc be successful.

  2. […] may be interested in our other design related blog posts: Design or […]

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February 28, 2011 | Share this article on