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Disasters in Design (Series) Pt.2

Posted on September 27th, 2010

    When you’re hired to develop a fresh concept for a company, print or web, often is an exciting moment for designers and creative artists in this field as we see this as a challenge. I often begin to play with ideas by simply doodling and sketching with desire to bring into existence a never seen before or possibly revised idea specifically created just for my new client. For some the line is blurred between design savvy and a design disaster. My intention for this article is to hopefully create an imaginary focus lens for you to sense a few things one should definitely not do, regardless of how long you’ve been in the field of design.
    Picking up from Part 1 of Disasters in Design, this should keep you scribbling some interesting thoughts during your brainstorming sessions.

    1. Too Dark Colors

    Before drafting for your next client’s site, you should ask them if they have a color palette or color tones that they like and would prefer for their website. If so, take into consideration of what they asked and make those colors the foundation before you begin. If you have another set of colors you think would work best for the project discuss them with your client and give reasons why so that they won’t think you are just being plain difficult. Some designers are numb to the fact that a website can have a “too dark” or “too light” color arrangement and will create the wrong approach for website visitors and customers. For example, would you design a doctors or pharmaceutical website with the base primary color being black? I’d hope not. Make sure that you do your research on the market that your client is in and what responds well and what doesn’t. This can always become a make or break deal for a website’s success. Main point is find a balance between readability and design.

    2. Unbalanced Colors

    Although, this is somewhat a continuation and feed off of number 1, it makes it’s place as number 2 because it’s importance rates just as high. After you decide which colors will be used in your client’s project, check them to make sure they have contrast and the chosen color for text and other elements will somewhat “stand out” amongst the rest of the site. I recommend to not have a website with text only a few notches lighter from the background and the other elements the same. Another pointer is that although creative design exceeds original standards within color, approve your color palette does in someway match. In common color palettes, 2 to 3 minimum colors are very close but offer different interpretation in a design. View the sample images below to see how a color scheme should not be.

    Like mentioned before, this color scheme is way to close in many values. Correctly chosen colors should, well could possibly resemble the one below.

    If the above chosen palette doesn’t work for you because you look for the darker approach, you should raise the color’s brightness to create better contrast. Again as mentioned in Techniques for Creating Flow In Design,¬† you should allow white space in darker websites for readability, a cleaner approach and improved user experience.

    3. 1999 or 2009?

    Have you visited a website lately and assumed it was an older website and the content hasn’t been updated since 1995? Wheww.. I’m glad I’m not the only one that experienced this rough visual. When someone questions a website’s design this leaves the website owner with two problems: The visitor will assume all content is expired; you will confuse visitors about your image. The first website with an expired design from the late 90′s is Fry’s Electronics. Don’t get me wrong, I love the store itself and their products but I just can’t get the website. It’s way past due for a redesign. Check it out.

    4. Low-Quality Images

    When it comes to representing your website, you should offer the best. I understand the need for making your website at a small size for quick downloading to multiple browsers across many platforms but never give in the quality of the website. Understanding this for me in the beginning made me refocus on how I compress my images. It’s worth it because every little detail in a website counts. Another thing to think about is people with special accessibility needs, they won’t be able to read your low resolution logo on your website or poorly sized flyer with sale information. Not only does it help those with poor eye-sight (who assume their vision is on its way out), it makes your website appeal more crisp and sharper looking on the leading edge (of course if you have a great deal of spectacular design going on) of technology.

    5. Poorly Tiled Background Images

    A background image should be used cautiously as the simple color of it can alter the website severely. But what can make things worse is a poorly chosen background image, commonly small and if we’re talking worst case scenario, an animated image at that. The background of a website (underlying the page itself) should be designed and taken as high priority just as the colors themselves. In this day and age, I recommend a large image although I understand the purpose of the the small image for quick site download technique. It goes back to the quality of the image. Is it worth it to raise the resolution, definitely. Don’t reduce the quality of your work. Poorly tiled backgrounds fallen in this disaster list simply because no-one uses it anymore as it also makes you look appear outdated. Remember: if all else fails, a solid color shall always suffice.

    Follow Up and More Disasters

    Has reading this blog article influence you to create your own list  of disasters? Do you simply want to comment on which you have seen or are guilty of, leave a say in a comment and I may pick a few to discuss in a possible part 3.

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