You could be a newbie in web design or you could be a veteran. Either way, it’s an exciting time to be in the web design business.
As the Internet reach spreads across the world, the wheels of entrepreneurship take traction on the web. The Internet, as a medium, has a lot to offer entrepreneurs who decide to embrace the web. Today, the demands on web designers are not just technical skills as the days of putting together HTML code with CSS tied in are long gone. Designers are stepping into the toes of developers. That super combination of skill has to align with marketing and business.
Here’s how to walk on the road that leads to web design excellence:
Are you a good designer or a great one? Rob Bowen asks that question on Myinkblog.com and that’s a good starting point for designers. Good designers know basics of web design and can do a job “well enough”. If they were to be rated on a typical corporate-style rating on performance, you’d give them a “met expectations” rating. Great web designers might get the “exceptional, and went beyond the call of duty”.
How does a designer go from good to great? For great web designers, the pursuit of knowledge is never ending. The itch to apply design principles that far exceed business objectives is habitual. Great designers always dig deeper into the complexities of web design. They try new things. They aren’t afraid of making mistakes. They put in the hours. They take up challenging work.
“Learning” must be on your “to-do” list
As the web evolves, so will the technology driving it. With an industry like web design or development, it’s a never-ending call for change. With change comes the need to learn, adapt, and apply. It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of finding projects, delivering before deadlines, chasing invoices, and collaborating with clients or with teams.
The deeper you get into the maze of business management, the farther you get away from “keeping up with the changes”. It’s not even hard to find courses and lessons on skills – from mundane to technical aspects; from business side of web design to inspiration.
Excellence doesn’t come with routine work. It comes from the sides. It seeps in from the extra hours you spend learning in a day.
Set trends and lead
If you haven’t done anything new yet, you haven’t done anything at all.
As long as you stick to basic principles of web design and your designs are in sync with user experience, utility, and practicality, you have the license to try anything.
If you can, then why stick to the norm?
If success comes to those who dare, when was the last time you deviated from the norm and did something new? Even if it were ridiculous, it’d still work for your publicity, wouldn’t it?
Avoid being a slave to what’s out there. Instead, try something new. If it works, you’ve set a new trend.
Collaborate and grow
You can’t succeed alone. You’d only know so much at any given point of time. Collaborating with others gives you juicy insights. It also helps you leverage your work, share your learning, get more business, network better, and learn faster. With others in your immediate ecosystem, you have to constantly push yourself to do better. If you aren’t exhausted or dead yet, you’d emerge successful.
If you have a team, you can collaborate with them to grow faster and leverage your business. If you are networking with fellow designers, you’ll learn a lot and gain inspiration. If you are collaborating with designers more experienced and established than you are, you can find mentors.
Collaboration works. There’s history to prove its efficacy.
Challenge yourself, for the fun of it
We won’t suggest pushing yourself until you break. We’d, however, implore you to challenge yourself nonetheless. Use technology, experiment with grids, explore different palettes, and try to design to tell a story (great brands are great storytellers, right?). If you’ve never used the good old pen and paper, start your workflow with that. If you have an iPad, use touch apps to begin your workflow. Take multiple approaches to a single idea. Work on different ideas and don’t settle for one.
There’s power in having options – whether you are showcasing them to a client for approval or working for yourself. Learn what you don’t know yet.
Move into more domains, just for the sake of it
Everything changes, so will web design. We already have responsive design as a major trend. Mobile is everywhere. New technologies emerge and older technologies will see the grave sooner or later.
As for most things in life, you need a diversification strategy inbuilt into your path for web design excellence. Strive to reach out to other domains. If you’ve only designed websites, embrace responsive design. If you just design for now, get into programming and code. Attempt graphic design, content development, copywriting, and marketing in general. Open that window to learn how to make videos or podcasts.
If none of this seems exciting enough for you, get into data analytics, application development, mobile apps, and even building new operating systems.
If you are business-inclined, develop new web-based apps. You see where we are going with this?
Diversify, and then diversify some more.
Gain inspiration, from everywhere
They are certainly great places to start but inspiration from design can come from anywhere. Does the coke bottle look inspiring enough to design a car? Ferrari’s design seems to match the outline of the bottle, anyway. Did you know that Aria “Swanwing” is inspired by a woman’s body?
Your inspiration could come from everything around you. That includes animals, cars, other objects that most people don’t even give much thought.
Well, most people aren’t designers, are they? Fill your mind up with so much inspiration that ideas come to you by the dozen.
How inspired are you? What do want to make of your career in web design? What are the steps you are taking to get ahead and make a mark for yourself?