Is Your Web and Graphic Design Purpose Driven?
Design is a word that is often misused, especially in the realms of web and graphic design. Some may refer to the aesthetic, layout, color or style of a logo or website as its design, while others may classify the way these things look as their design. While aesthetic, style, color palette, look and feel are all elements of design, they are not the design itself.
Design is about providing a solution in the best way possible to accomplish a goal or set of goals.
A well-designed car is not only good-looking, but it functions well and accomplishes its goals in the best possible manner. It gets good gas mileage, uses energy efficiently, is comfortable to ride in, has features that set it apart, AND it looks good. In other words, a well-designed car accomplishes the goals for which it was built.
So why do so many discussions about web and graphic design center around how something looks?
Unfortunately, many people who are in the market for a website redesign, a new logo design or some other type of visual representation are misguidedly starting their research and conversations with the end goal being something appealing to the eyes, rather than looking at what they are trying to accomplish and trying to engage the other four senses.
Sure, a great-looking website or logo or brochure is always a plus. No one wants to look at something repulsive or just plain boring. But if the only positive is its look, how much farther will anyone delve into the offering?
I don’t believe there is a cookie-cutter methodology to what makes a well-designed creation either. This is why I am encouraging you to evaluate your design and determine if it is purpose driven.
Is your design accomplishing its goal(s)?
For a website, goals could be a number of things: building a community of repeat visitors, growing a mailing list, selling advertising, providing information about a person, organization or business, selling products, and so on.
A logo is a tool of communication, branding and identity. What do you want your logo to communicate the first time someone sees it? What do you want someone to think of when they see your logo? How does it represent your organization and what does it make others think about you?
Business cards, email newsletters, social media profiles, print brochures, Facebook pages – all of these and more place a certain level of importance on design, which does, of course, include how they look. But are yours accomplishing their goals?
If they are not, you probably need a better design.
This new improved design may or may not change the way they look. It could be a rewriting of content, a readjustment of layout, or a complete overhaul of usability and flow of user experience. Whatever it is, your design or redesign should always be purpose driven.
Start the design discussion with your goals. What are they? What are the best ways to accomplish them? What must be done to pursue them and engage others to invite them along for the ride? What is not as necessary to the point that it can be left behind?
Let your design be dictated by the answers to these questions and almost naturally the aesthetic, style, color palette, and all other visual elements will fall into place because there is a clear understanding of what you are setting out to achieve.
Or you can set out to make the best looking creation imagined, stand back and beam proudly as others marvel at your work, then watch as they move on to the next piece hanging on the wall in the museum.