Of late, everyone’s talking about change. The way the field of web design has gone through a cumulative shape shift. Designers worldwide have adopted what has become so common in fashion. The ever-growing taste for “trends”. An unmentioned reality, a fact no one admits, is that a trend is nothing more than lifting off what someone has already done before you, tweaking it, sprucing it up, and labelling it your own for that calendar year. It’s forgotten about soon after of course, the world moving on to a new set of “in” ideas. But doesn’t that defy the very point of design?
It defies the laws of creativity. Following trends does not make a creative individual. It simply makes an individual, an escapist. Someone who does not have the aptitude to conceptualize, design, experiment, create and attempt to then perfect his creation. Trends are what the world follows today in a frantic attempt to keep up with the rest of the flock. But isn’t following trends the antithesis of creating?
A quote from the 2007 movie “The Bucket List” comes to mind when a mechanic in the garage Morgan Freeman’s character in the movie “Carter Chambers” worked at, asks him “Who invented the radio?” Carter Chambers says “Ah. That’s a hard one.” The visibly thrilled mechanic says “What do you know, I finally got you. – No?” to which, Carter replies “I don’t know if you want who they think invented the radio, or the person who actually invented the radio.” The befuddled mechanic holding the quiz book says “Well, in here it says…” when Carter cuts him off saying “Marconi, right?” By now, the mechanic is thoroughly confused and asks “Yeah, it ain’t him?” to which Chambers replies “He’s the one they generally think invented the radio. In fact, he got a Nobel Prize for it in 1909. Truth is a guy named Nikola Tesla, patented the basic idea for the radio in 1896. Same idea Marconi used for his patent several years later. Tesla fought Marconi till the day he died in 1943. Same year the Supreme Court ruled, that Marconi’s patent was invalid recognizing Tesla as the inventor of the radio.”
Clean design is great. It’s simple, elegant and clutter free. Yes. But where is the consideration for individualism? One particular design firm coming up with similarly themed designs can justify themselves to a certain extent. But when every other designer gets “inspired” by that work, they have a problem. The thing is, young people are easily influenced. But in many cases, they lack the maturity to create something from that “inspiration”. They take the easy way out and make a quick buck. That’s fine as far as their individual needs are concerned but what about the impact that ten thousand individuals doing the same thing, will have on the industry? They price themselves low enough to bag a few projects, and then move on in life after a while. But the impact stays. The end-user or business owner is left lacking the knowledge that they would get from a seasoned consultant in the same regard, a website riddled with errors in most cases, and a business with insufficient branding with respect to its online presence. They end up expecting lower prices from anyone they work with, and hence, unwittingly, suffer in the long-term.
Simple fact. No one can go to a hospital and bargain with the doctor about the price of whatever they need to get over their ailment. It does not work that way. Anyone with a health problem will need proper consultation, check-ups to determine their specific problem and then a consultative solution that they will have to follow. You see? Same principle. Just a different industry vertical.
Today, even having just a good-looking website will not work for Businesses. With the advent of new age techniques, having a properly executed online presence is imperative to businesses. Design needs to be backed up by SEO, SEM, coding, market research and much more. News, which till a few years ago was restricted to the television and newspapers, is making a quantum shift into the World Wide Web. In a few years, newspapers will disappear altogether. The internet is the future.
So, the future clearly will not belong to those who eke out a living standing on the shoulders, and the work of creators. The future will be theirs, who shall persevere, invent, set the standards and create the foundations for the world to follow. The future will belong to those who pioneer the cleanup act.