Graphic Design for Websites
Graphic design can be applied to a lot of things. We are in fact permanently in front of graphic design works. When we buy products at the supermarket, each of these products has a label which has been designed by a graphic designer or a graphic design agency. Most of us generally don't pay much attention to them. Or at least we think we don't.
Believe it or not, graphic design is very powerful when it comes to selling products. Unconsciously, you pick a specific product from the shelf thanks to the impact of its graphic design work. The colors, the typography, the style chosen for the design were carefully analyzed by an expert, who worked very hard to create a piece of work that would catch the eye of the customer and convey quality.
Graphic design can also be applied to web design. Basically, graphic design for websites works the same way. The success of a website on the internet will depend on the impact the design has on the public, just as a product on a shelf in a supermarket. When you buy, let's say, a floor cleaner, you have no idea whether it's efficient or not. You don't know if it will really make your floors shine as much as in the photograph they show in the label, but for some reason, you trust this product. If you read the label of another product that you don't trust much, it probably has the same characteristics as the one you picked. But this other product seems not to be as good as the other one, with the nice label. This happens because you are being influenced by the label graphic design.
For a product to sell, high quality is not enough. There are high quality floor cleaners that never sell, and probably, many low quality ones that sell out every day. This is a clear example of the power of graphic design and how it works as a successful marketing tool. A good graphic design has the power to sell out any product, no matter the product quality, durability or effectiveness. How many times have you bought an electrical appliance and it broke down a few months after purchase, and you thought "it must be my fault, because it's such a renowned brand." The truth is that brands get to be remarkable thanks to the work of marketing experts, among them qualified graphic designers. It is an accomplishment of the graphic designer and not so much of the products quality if a brand sells a lot.
How can a graphic design job do this? Well, it's not just a graphic design, but a good graphic design. Graphic designers are experts who have studied a lot about culture and other important matters to create the most sellable design works. A design won't have the same effect here and in China as colors mean different things in Eastern cultures. This is only one of the aspects that a good graphic designer will keep in mind when working.
But there are many things an expert will consider: the design target, aim and durability, the available budget for the design, etc. Let's analyze each of these aspects in connection to web graphic design, that is to say, graphic design for websites.
As we said before, graphic design for websites works basically the same as it works for any other product. However, there are important differences, but this we will analyze in deep later on this page. When creating the graphic design for a website, the designer will divide his work in different stages or phases:
The designer or group of designers should do some brainstorming, for each of them to present their idea and plan for the website design. But this brainstorming can only take place after analyzing some previous aspects.
First of all, the experts will analyze the future target of the web design. The way they will work -the colors they will use, the typography and images- will depend on the level of seriousness of the target. That is to say, if the website is intended for children, amiable images and typographies and lots of colors will be the best choice. If the website is intended for a more serious public, such as other companies, then the design should convey this seriousness by avoiding bright colors, and using serious typographies.
Second, the aim of the website graphic design should be analyzed. With aim we mean the intention, the goal, what the website is about. For example, a website about medical issues should give a feeling of cleanliness and responsibility. The best thing to do in cases like this is to use those colors related to medical activities, such as sky blue and white. But there are other aims to be considered: if a website is intended to sell a product, then it should show pictures of satisfied and smiling people using this product, for example. In the case of institutional websites, that is, websites about a specific institution, the website future target should be considered -like described in the previous paragraph.
Then, the designer will analyze the website durability, that is, how long the website will be on the internet and whether they will change in time or not. This is a very complex issue that involves web programming work. If a website is going to suffer changes in the future, for instance, if you sell certain products today, but in the future they will change, you will need a dynamic website. In the case of dynamic websites, the designer is limited when designing and s/he should always keep that in mind when doing her/his job. If your website won't suffer changes, in the case of many institutional websites, that is, if you only need a static website, then the designer should create a design that the user won't find tiring after some time. That is, the expert should create a design that will transcend the barriers of time.
Last but not least, the design will also depend on your investment. If you can't spend much money on your website, then you can't expect too much of it. A good designer will be able to create a nice design, even with little time. But you should remember that they usually charge the hour, and if you can only pay 3 hours, then the design may not meet your expectations.
Websites are not supposed to have a great impact on people, as a product on a shelf. A product on a shelf is placed by the side of many other products of different brands, but probably the same quality, and it is supposed to stand out from the rest so that customers choose it. For this reason, the labels should be very eye-catching and summarizing, that is to say, they should convey in few words and images the quality and results the product will bring.
A website graphic design works as any other design. The design is supposed to catch the attention of the public, make them like what they are in front of. The design of any product has a marketing aim, but, as we said, there are some important differences.
When you enter a website, you are in front of only one website, not many on a shelf, and for this reason, a website doesn't need to cause great impact on the public at once. In fact, if a website is too full of pictures, colors and big typographic images, it may freak the public out. A website is not supposed to call your attention the minute you see it, as any other product should in a supermarket. On the contrary, it should allow the user to navigate it easily but peacefully, without pushing them too much.
However, websites should always satisfy the user's needs. They should make users feel welcome and comfortable. Typography should be easy to read. That is, it should be neither too small nor too big. Light or bright colors for typography should be avoided. Serif typographies are generally good for printed readings, but when it comes to screen reading, the best choice is sans serif typographies. It is also good to have a tidy and well organized layout. The information on your website should be easy to find. If your website will include a lot of information, then the best thing to do is to include bullets and buttons that allow a better navigation.