Design is advertising and advertising is design.
Design is not simply graphics, shapes, and pretty colors.
Think text, layout and typeface. It’s all part of the design package.
Upon editing a website, a novice is clueless when it comes to “design” features such as the proper use of italics, bold text, colored text, changes in text size and when to mix different type faces. There are explicit design rules to follow such as: When to flush “left text;” flush “right text,” “center text” and when to use “text justify.” There are also design decisions regarding paragraph breaks versus line breaks.
My pet peeve is when a client uses an image or graphic that detracts from a well-executed, sophisticated and appropriate web design. A poorly placed graphic or photograph affects eye flow or the user’s ability to scan for information. Ditto for a well-executed graphic that is in the wrong place. They seem like petty issues but these flaws can collectively diminish your website integrity.
Lost is Not Just a TV Series. (It’s what happens to your business when you…)
A professional web designer understands all phases of design; layout, typography, color, eye-flow and balance. My mantra to design students and clients: “Anyone can draw a straight line, but only an artist knows when to draw it crooked.”
The do-it-yourself crowd
These are the thrifty folks who buy a pre-designed web template and hire a web development company or a freelance web designer to convert it into a website. There is a very fine line that separates a ‘template website’ from a ‘custom website.’ It’s the difference between a silk neck tie from Nordstrom and the polyester tie from an inferior discount store.
This handy Jack-of-all-trades hires a web design company and art directs the entire creative process. Any reputable web company would respectfully decline this demand or request.
Art Direction, Advertising and Design is a Serious Business
Advertising is a multi-billion-dollar business. When Nike or Ford need a new print ad, slogan, commercial, billboard or branding, where do they go? An advertising agency.
Large full-service advertising agencies have teams consisting of creative directors, art directors, graphic artists, illustrators, copywriters, branding specialists, producers, project managers, storyboard artists, media buyers, traffic coordinators and an interactive media team. (Websites). Some large ad agencies include; J.Walter Thompson, TBWA/ Chiat-Day and Saatchi&Saatchi.
In many cases these firms will consult a professional web-design company. An agency-level web-design company will have a roster of personnel consisting of creative directors, digital art directors, graphic artists, database programmers, search engines specialists, online marketing managers, web content editors, Flash animators, Flash programmers and network administrators.
The web has grown so big and complex that there is a demand for firms that specialize in nothing but ‘web advertising’, the management of web banner advertising, web ad placements or ‘web traffic buys’ and click through campaigns.
Some large ad agencies include; RazorFish, Sapient and Digitas.
Most often a ‘super client’ like Ford, Nickelodeon or L.L. Bean will seek the services of an agency that specializes in what they call ‘Online Interactive’.
Web Design is a Super-Serious Business
Unlike a TV commercial, print ad or bill board your website is live on the World Wide Web 24 hours a day, 7 days week and can be viewed by anyone, anywhere in the world. With that kind of visibility, you had better be sure to have a website that sells your services and products and effectively communicates your thoughts, ideas and opinions. Your website should also display properly in different browsers like Internet Explorer and Fire Fox on PCs and I-Macs. Most importantly you want to be sure that you have a powerful Internet presence (SERPs) Search Engine Ranking Position.
What point would it be to have a great looking website when you can’t be found on major search engines? ‘You might as well build your website in the middle of the woods’.
A professional web-design company or ‘Online Interactive Agency’ has the creative staff and technical know-how to make this all possible for you.
Some large ad agencies include; Grey Digital Marketing, Ogilvy Interactive and Zentrophy Partners.
Malformed or Poorly formed HTML
Unless you know HTML, the frequent use of a web editor can leave snippets of junk code that is invisible in your web browser. As this junk code slowly builds up over time you may cause your pages to load slowly and impede your web page’s ability to rank well in search engines. The keyword here is “overtime.” The initial impact of poorly formed HTML is minimal, but in a highly competitive market every little bit helps, ‘no matter how small’.
“Well My Website Lets Ok”
Unfortunately many small and medium businesses are “a day late and a dollar short” when their new business or revenue streams begin to slow or dry up. They attempt to jump on the Virtual Webmaster bandwagon after the damage has been done.
Don’t get me wrong, there are web site owners and Blog owners who update their website everyday with new text and information. I am talking about the people who react to a downturn by trying to paste in links, graphics and Java Script or even create new pages.
Many of you have seen the commercial of a doctor giving instructions by phone to a patient trying to perform his own gastrointestinal surgery. Here’s a much better example; ‘Purchase some barber shears and try cutting your own hair.’
No one ever died from a bad haircut, but all your friends are bound to ask you, ‘What happened to your hair?’
However no one is going to send an email asking you, ‘What happened to your website’?
They are simply going to move on to your competitors’ website.