Is Original Web Design a Dying Art?

I’m slotted as a guest speaker for class of college of students enrolled in a web design course today, and in preparation I found myself listing all the ways the process has changed since I built my first site back in 1994.

With all the options in Content Management, using WordPress AS your website, and the abundance of customizable templates out there, is there a future in pure design? Does it make sense to anyone who is something other than a web developer?

Then I happened upon Seth Godin’s post today in which he posits a similar argument.

It’s likely, that for most people’s purposes, you don’t actually need an original design. As a web designer myself, I concede there are many clients for whom that’s not a requirement and I have been referring more and more people to WordPress for that reason in the last few years.

Good Enough vs. Amazing site, I guess that’s the question. What are some of your answers?


Is Original Web Design a Dying Art? — 4 Comments

  1. It’s an interesting post by Seth.

    Great content doesn’t need a great design. People are going to read valuable info so long as the type size is legible, and not a strain on the eyes, so the design really takes a back seat.

    Still, couple great content with great design and you’re onto a winner.

  2. David, I think that many people don’t even realize that they are affected by design. They may think it’s just the content that draws them, but if the design is superb and works seamlessly with the content, that alchemy may be what the visitor is responding to as opposed to just the content.

    Even if you polled people about what matters more, content or design, and 90% responded “content,” if you were to analyze the sites they ranked highly (based on content, that is), I would be that many would be examples of great design.

    It IS an interesting post (Seth’s, that is), and I have really been thinking about this a lot over the past week. Thank you for chiming in.

  3. You’re very welcome, Katie, and thanks for the email.

    I would’ve known about your response here if you use the ‘subscribe to comments’ plugin for WordPress. It’s really very useful for keeping the conversation flowing.

  4. David, Thanks – I just installed it. That had been on my to do list for quite awhile – now we’ll see if it works! I appreciate the nudge.