A beautiful web design is not always a good design

A beautiful web design is not always a good design (and vice versa)

As an introduction, it is convenient to make one thing clear: design is not equal to art. Summing up, we could differentiate these two disciplines based on what each one of them wants to achieve:

An artist captures his vision of things, expresses himself, shows to the outside what he feels inside with no other purpose than his enjoyment. It’s like a kind of personal relief. The artist reflects his own vision of the world in his work.

A designer always has a practical objective, his work must have an end. You never design just because, you design because you want to achieve something.

Having made this clarification, we can now get down to business and conclude that your web design should be carried out by a good designer, not an artist. And be careful, I hope my words are not misinterpreted. I have nothing against artists, in fact I really enjoy seeing works of art that I would never be able to. I simply consider that there are specific professionals for each discipline and that, in the same way that I would not commission a designer to paint the Sistine Chapel, I would not put the success of my online business in the hands of an artist.

What is "good" web design?

Actually, what I am going to tell you now is applicable not only to web design, but to all designs that have to do with your company.

If you allow me, I will tell you a story based on real events. This story is about how I realized that it is not enough to do something beautiful, you have to do something that makes sense.

For many years I have dedicated myself to design, both graphic and web. In all this time I have faced all kinds of jobs, each with its peculiarities and the tastes of each client. And if there is something that I have learned in all this time, it is that I cannot convince anyone that my design is beautiful. If my client doesn’t like it, he doesn’t like it.

Good design is usable and beautiful.

Who am I to convince anyone of what is beautiful and what is not?, why my tastes are better than yours? And most important of all, why does your company have to show itself to the outside with an image that you don’t like?

I can assure you that at first I did not understand anything, I did not know why some clients did not value my work, with the amount of hours I dedicated to it and how “beautiful” everything was on me.

Something had to give ...

One fine day, I can’t tell you very well when or where, I decided to change the way I present designs to my clients.

Before, I just showed them and waited (crossing my fingers) to see what they looked like. I was convinced that my client would like what I had created for him, and I thought that that was enough … how wrong I was!

Afterwards, I stopped doing that and began to explain to my client the reason for everything on his website. Telling you in great detail why each element was where it was and what I wanted to achieve with it, leaving aside whether it seemed beautiful or ugly, that no longer mattered to me.

Surprisingly, from that day on, clients (or at least the majority) began to value my work a little more.

I made it clear from the beginning that I am not an artist (nor do I pretend to be, nor do I have the slightest talent to try …), but also, he does not need an artist, but a professional who understands his project and works together to him to succeed. Do you remember that in the introduction I said that a designer always has a practical objective…? well here you have it.

When I used to show the design as it is, I would receive in response phrases like: “I don’t know, I’m not convinced …” or “It’s not how I imagined it …” Now that my clients understand the meaning and usefulness of good design, they intervene, propose, ask and give their opinions. Perfect! Because that’s what we need at the agency to do our job well.

Know everything about our client’s product or service, about their own personality and show it abroad in the most faithful way possible. And of course, with a “I don’t know, I’m not convinced …” we couldn’t do much.

Why is this change occurring?

Well, this is not a miracle. It is something as simple as understanding that you should think of your client above your personal tastes.

We are talking about your business, not decorating your own home. In the business world, aesthetics make no sense if it is not accompanied by results. Doing something beautiful is not the end, it is simply one more argument in our favor to try to achieve our goals: whether it is to sell more, make ourselves known, make contacts or improve our brand image.

Is there anything more beautiful than an online store that sells? Do you really care that your competition’s website is beautiful if you get double the number of clients?

In business, the aesthetic does not make sense if it is not accompanied by results

A very clear example is found in this advertisement for what to me is the ugliest car ever made by man: The Fiat Multipla.

As you will see, Herr Michael Schumacher does not speak at any time of the aspect of this atrocity of engineering (and I understand it …). It talks about its usefulness, its functionality and everything it could contribute to the user. (By the way, despite his efforts this model was a real sales failure, but that’s another matter).

Conclusion: in the middle is virtue

In this last example we can see the importance of a good design. If the Fiat Multipla hadn’t been so darn ugly and had a little more ‘art’, someone would have appreciated its usefulness. As I have said before, the key is to put yourself in the shoes of your client and in this case, it is obvious that nobody likes to drive a horrible car, however practical it may be.

All this that I have told you is applicable to all kinds of designs, from the simplest such as a business card to those that require a higher level of detail such as a corporate dossier, a website or an online store. Don’t go crazy with art.

To finish and as a revealing example that sums it all up:

  1. If your business card is beautiful and super cool , but the contact details cannot be read because they are too small, it will be of absolutely no use.
  2. And if your business card is so darn ugly that it hurts to look at it, rest assured that no one will call you, no matter how well the data is read.

As I said, in the middle is virtue.

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