You went to design school. You’ve been working in the industry for awhile now. You may even own your own creative company or freelance business. We get it. As a web designer, you’re up on your industry. You know your stuff. But have you ever thought about what you can learn by studying designers working in other industries?
Interestingly, a study (even a brief one) will show that most principles behind the success of creatives’ working in each of these industries share many similarities and even can provide lessons to each other. Consider just three other related design industries and the top lessons you can take away from the study of their process.
Ever watched a fashion-show on TV? Flipped through a fashion magazine? Its all about one thing. Identifying the product. Front and center.
Fashion achieves this through the design technique called minimalism. Photographs and sets are created to draw emphasis to the model’s clothes or the beauty product and keep the viewer’s focus on them. Wait, we do the same thing in web design.
We strive through our page layouts and imagery to draw attention to a website’s main endeavor or product. We also try to stimulate a positive reaction to the online viewer.
Key lesson: Being minimal is always your best option to achieve this. You don’t just need to be minimal. Follow the example of the fashion industry. Be super-minimal.
Personalize the experience.
Online shopping sites are all about personalizing, segmenting and targeting specific audiences. Once logged in to their site, they allow users to customize their homepage, search options, even their navigation bar. Others auto-customize based on a user’s selections and in turn, pre-populate suggestions for them of other products.
Key lesson: People love being able to view what they’re interested in and have easy access to what they want. Personalizing a website or app for a user can include the UI layout, functionality, and design features.
A/B testing does work best.
Fashion designers are bosses at this, you don’t have to look very far to see them constantly comparing and improving engagement.
Key Lesson: Giving options to your client goes along way, even working within a given option with A/B choices can help you improve your work as the web designer tremendously.
Color is the basis.
Interior designers use a basic principle of effective design in starting their projects: color. They employ strong color understandings to be able to combine the right
colors to achieve the desired look and feel of a room. Sound familiar? This is no different to what we do on a daily basis with our web projects.
Interior designers is to focus their attention on key elements and the overall goal for the room. Key lesson: If we as designers keep our focus on our target audience and
the ultimate company’s goals for the website they are in a better position to begin color selections.
Balance makes or breaks!
Design school taught us all (we mean all designers) to emphasize a single element in our designs. The, to build all other elements of the piece around this central element.
Interior designers think of their room as their canvas (or design doc), where each piece must be placed in balance to each other. The moving around, rearranging process doesn’t differ from the hours we spend on a Photoshop composition. Key lesson: Balance is critical and can make any project feel complete or incomplete.
Have a strong motif.
A motif is a distinctive idea that has been identified and interior designers use to develop their room. What is the overall look and feel of the room?
What styles of pieces should I select and/or combine to achieve this? Focusing themselves on a motif and not limiting themselves to specific descriptive words like “modern” or “chic” helps them to build and rebuild in a direction that fulfills their client’s vision.
Key lesson: In web design, we have to work from a motif.
We have to work around a theme and specifics, provide options within those and adjust accordingly with the needs of our client.
Strong design incorporates the past, present and future.
Timeless design is something architectures strive for—after all, a building will stand for many years to come and must maintain its visual appeal. As web designers, we strive for the same thing. Through our designs, we want to recall the past, celebrate the present and plan for the future. Designing in a style that incorporates all of these requires you to work with existing, realistic elements on the site as well as existing trends and anticipated, future trends.
Key lesson: Web design has to combine the past, present and future styles to effectively reach people.
Details are critical.
The details of a building is what set it apart and the same is true of websites! Just like there’s tons of buildings, there’s tons of online sites! However, too many details in a building or website is overwhelming, and feel cluttered or messy. Key lesson: Pay attention to details and through them set your design apart.
Design is built around the content.
A building is designed around its purpose. Example: A manufacturing plant versus a high-rise office building. Key lesson: As a designer, you have to think of your website design from it’s content and build on layout ideas from them. Also, you may have to adjust several design elements to fit the site’s content.
Keep designing, keep working and keep improving in the amazing design industry you are apart of.
Now you’ve learned a little more about other industries. This is really just the beginning. Keep exploring design and the principles used by the top people in creative industries.