A little while ago I had a brief discussion with an online contact over at Pownce. It was about web design, and how he felt that it was something that had totally degraded. In his point of view, designers just didn’t try hard enough, they just went with the current flow, sporting a pretty one-sided canvas.
I agree to some extent, that’s why I bashed the rounded corners in one of my first posts here at Wisdump. It’s not that I hate rounded corners, if they’re warranted in a design then that’s fine, but more that I think that too many uses them just because that’s the current craze. Just like the fresh Web 2.0 pastels and whatnot, we all know the look, and we like it. If all aimed to achieve it, the web would be a bit boring, however.
Breaking the mold is hard, you know what you’re good at, and what you can do. When taking on design gigs, the client often have an idea of what s/he wants, and anyone who’s been doing design freelance work know that some clients rely on you and trust your decisions to be warranted, while other micromanage and downright destroy your work with changes, additions and whatnot. Sure, they’re paying for it, it’s their problem, but designers know how frustrating this is.
And this is one of the reasons why I think design today is pretty similar. Trends control our influences and decisions to some extend, but the clients are even more traditional in their preferences than the designers themselves. This means that your kickass groundbreaking idea probably won’t get approval, and you’re stuck with that 2+1 column design yet again.
This is a problem.
The second main reason why groundbreaking design isn’t easy to get through in projects is the actual implementation of it. If you’re designing a blog, then there are features that are needed, and these are expected to look and work in a familiar way. A corporate site might use a CMS that limits your choices.
These are all problems that can be handled, but it takes more time and will cost the client more money. And that’s the thing, isn’t it? It needs to be one heck of a groundbreaking design if the client is to pay double for the project, right? Even if both the designer and the client likes this kickass piece of work, and the latter is prepared to pay more for it, then there’s that risk of it being too out there for its purpose.
Groundbreaking design is hard, and I’m not talking about actually achieving it in the first place. Driving it through can be an even bigger challenge.