Maybe it’s Twitter, maybe it’s the RSS feed, maybe it’s the fact that this hasn’t changed and likely won’t change in the future. I’ve
ranted blogged about design vs. making things pretty in the past, the number of pointless top x posts that clutter content online, and so on. But a tweet from Jason Santa Maria compelled me to bitch blog:
@cameronmoll Seriously. It’s all fluff and no context, criticism, or thought. Just pretteh pretteh pretteh, and no “why”.
Jason has a great point, 300 Lists of 425 New Techniques to Make Your Web Design More Spectacular won’t make you a better designer. Articles such as Web Design Trends for 2010 will do nothing to increase your understanding of design, and furthermore, they undermine the value of design.
This is not design:
1. Oversized Logos/ Headers
Splash pages are so yesterday. To make an unforgettable impression on the visitor, the trend for 2010 will be oversized logos on an equally oversized header. These types of headers can take up the entire screen, but with one important note. Visitors will not need to click anything, just scroll down. Visitors often having a clicking phobia (due to years of poor navigation), so big headers do the job of a splash page without forcing your visitors to click anything.
— Omitted 1
Using an oversized logo or header has a set of pros and cons. While it does give a great opportunity to do some more exotic branding, just look at the quote: “big headers do the job of a splash page.” Didn’t we get rid of splash pages for a reason? A large header has a place in certain websites and not in others, making the decision of whether or not this element is appropriate for a particular website is practicing design.
Andy Rutledge puts what I want to say better than I can in a recent post:
Creativity is not design. Creativity has nothing to do with design. Creativity is bound by no laws, rules, or strictures …which is perhaps why it’s so intoxicating […]. Design, on the other hand, is based entirely on math, psychology, human perception, and a host of rigid rules and laws […]
Andy is pretty upfront about his opinions on the matter, and just wrote a great test which looks at basic design principles. If you haven’t read through it, it’s a great chance to refresh these principles in your mind. If things are a little difficult, spend a little time researching them. Andy’s written about design fundamentals in the past, and they’re great reads as well. Andy’s blog is exemplary of the type of content that is being drowned out on the web by all the noise. It’s opinionated, it makes you think, it makes you question what you know about design at times. Agree or disagree with him on each post, you’ll only learn more by doing so.
What makes great design great is not a trendy technique, but the logic and conceptual aspect that were figured out in the designer’s mind—or more likely, on paper—before a mouse cursor ever opened Photoshop.
So ignore those top x lists and articles on trends. Seek out quality content about the logic and reason that goes in to design. Read great, thought provoking posts that delve in to the process of redesigning a site, evaluating the finer details of pricing and plans pages, and so on. Make this the content you share with others, and leave the link bait to turn to link rot.
1 Omitted because it’s unnecessary to identify the author.