I have been doing a lot of thinking lately with regards to design and the rules we bind ourselves within. In the next couple of days (maybe today) I will be reintroducing a site that will begin to showcase my thoughts from the previous weeks and start to apply these thoughts across a couple of my sites — Whitespace included.
Within our designs we have applied both spoken and unspoken rules that every once in a while get broken. When this occurs it seems to start a revolution amongst the townsfolk who contemplate whether the idea is genius or not. In the end though, sites that follow the norm will always dominate because they wouldn’t be in the norm otherwise. I am sure though that none of us simply wish to be part of the norm when we know we can strive above it.
With this in mind here is a list of rules that I think sites follow to keep them in the norm.
- Logo at the top
- Left-aligned or center-aligned design
- Recent entries/comments on all pages
- Comments under entry
- Two or three column layout
- Having a logo on the site
- More than one entry on the homepage
- More ads equals more chance to make money
- Bigger is better
- Smaller is cooler
There are a couple of sites that I am sure you have come across that don’t follow these conventions or rules. Garrett’s site is one column and it seems to be effective in its presentation of content. He is by no means the first to use one column and he certainly won’t be the last, but I brought him up because it was the last one of recent memory that I could think of.
I don’t believe that anyone should attempt to break these standards since they are there for a reason. They just work. However, I wonder if we get so caught up in them that as designers we no longer attempt to stretch the limits that we have set for ourselves.
In any case I look forward to sharing my thoughts on this topic further and in applying the new principles that I am setting for myself because I think it will make this site and all the other sites involved much better.
As for the comments, if you could point me to some sites/blogs that break some of the rules that I have listed above I would greatly appreciate it.