I’m a designer. That means I have strong views on how something can be communicated effectively. It does not mean that I have an “aesthetic” that applies to all of my work.
Can you imagine your doctor applying the same solution to your broken finger as another patient’s critical heart condition? That doctor most likely has a strong view on patient care, but treats individual medical challenges in vastly different ways.
The “aesthetic” of a design solution must change with each client or project. As the good Mike Monteiro puts it, “design is a solution to a problem with a set of constraints.” Designers are problem solvers who use visual communications as their connection to the outside world. Designers are not practitioners who use their own visual styles to solve all problems.
Here are my broad views on what typically works best in design — you’ll often find these strategies used in my designs because they work well, not because they are “mine.”
- Generous white space around elements
- Clear differentiation between types of text (headlines, body copy, etc.)
- Strong use of contrast to separate elements and create depth
- Removing extraneous information to more clearly communicate a thought, feeling, or piece of content
- Most important: get out of the way — no one is coming to a web site for the design
The aforementioned Monteiro does a much better job communicate this idea (and many, many more) in his two fantastic books: Design is a Job and You’re My Favorite Client. Regardless of where you read it — or if you’re a designer or client — know that hiring a designer based on their so-called “aesthetic” is the wrong move.
Hire a designer (or an agency) for their ability to ask important questions, understand the problem, research effectively, and explain their choices.