I’ve worked with graphic designers for years and I’ve come to rely on them a great deal.
Design can be a very tricky area of the website creation process because clients have a lot more invested in it than in other areas. A client doesn’t care how you code, as long as it works; not that interested in who is hosting. Payment gateways and SSL certificate providers? Whatever works. But when they make the decision to create a website, they do typically have a design in mind, which looms large in their imagination. And yet that site they imagined is not necessarily the best site for what they want to accomplish.
The challenge here is to have a healthy interface between the client’s vision and the visual expertise that the designer brings to the table. So here is some advice to those of you who have a website or are thinking about making one and are working with a designer.
- The most important discussion with your designer is about the general look and feel of your website. Once that is done, trust the designer’s intuition about where particular elements should go. I’m not saying don’t have a dialog. That is important, of course. But where there is a difference of opinion, give due weight to the designer’s expertise. It’s why you hired him or her, after all.
- Questions of design are not just about what you think looks cool or pretty. There is also a sense of what is contemporary and what communicates to your audience that must guide the visuals in a project. And that is something that you might know very little about. If you insist on relying solely on your own design sensibilities, you may be limiting the appeal of your website.
- Encourage your designer to be creative and think outside the box. If you have some sites you want to emulate, don’t insist too literally on this. There is a danger, when combining ideas from other websites, that your site will just end up looking average. But that’s not what you should want. Your website should feel familiar and inviting while at the same time be unique and stand out. The standing out part is where your designer is going to be your greatest asset. Everyone likes the opening to be creative, so why not encourage that?