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Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Great Design is the Key to Your Success on the Web

The Pallasart creative process

Great design delivers sheer aesthetic pleasure. It sparks the imagination and inspires that “gotta have it” feeling. Great design tells a great story, the story of your brand and who you are. Every design element helps your story to unfold; every functional aspect advances the plot.

Most of the sites we create are designed for an American audience.  Americans are dreamers who are optimistic by nature, and who likewise have an outsized appetite for everything (achievement, status, money, houses, cars, food, love, physical attractiveness, health and longevity, etc.). We're not obsessive perfectionists, but we demand that things generally work and get the job done. We correspondingly tolerate and even expect mistakes, but we also expect people to fix and learn from their mistakes, and to bounce back from failures, preferably smarter and stronger than before; we especially like it when people overcome great adversity not of their own making. We likewise expect products and services and everything else to gradually keep getting better, which is why we embrace the new and are quick to discard the old, are busybodies, are willing to take risks, are impatient, and aren't especially intellectual or reflective. We have a lot of conviction about our cultural identity, which is why we have a sense of unity which transcends our diversity, class structure, individualism, and rebelliousness, and why we see ourselves as an appropriate model for the rest of the world.

Understanding your audience is critical to creating a great website design.  We start every design project with the creation of descriptive keywords which describe the 'brand' we are building the website for.  These are not search engine optimization keywords, which are used to direct customers to a site.  For example a brand may be sophisticated, contemporary, rare, fun... Once we have the words we then list them by imporant and weave them into a four sentence brand 'story'.  This story must be conveyed in the site design.

Boil it down and it's sort of a who - what - when - where - why story - one that conveys the brand name, describes what the products or services are, presents the value proposition and then asks for the sale.  Great design makes good products even better. Ergonomics support human dignity, and beautiful aesthetics gratify the senses. All of this enhances the experience and invites customers to 'fall in love' with your brand.

Great design can last virtually forever.  Fads come and go, but great design is timeless.  Think of a brand like Tiffany, it just matures and becomes more distinquished wiith age. Great design differentiates one brand from another - it can set you apart. Great minds don’t think alike, and great design stands out from the crowd. It challenges the norm, the prevailing aesthetic, and even the client.  It can easily push the comfort level of a client and selecting a great design can be a brave act.

One final thought, I believe great design can often times be entertaining and even witty. The best wit always contains truth, and a sideways look can engage and delight an audience. Playful ideas linger in the mind, bring a smile to the face, and make design more memorable.  Think about Flo, the "Progressive Insurance Lady," played by Stephanie Courtney - she has become a star and Progressive sales have exploded. Look at the colors, red, white and blue and that wacky character who interacts with an array of equally odd players.  It works.  It's a fun, friendly - even sophisticated - brand presentation you can't forget.

Pallasart is a web design company based in Austin Texas.  For years we have been creating award-winning designs that have received international acclaim. Contact us and let us know about your project on the web.

Bob Atchison

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