Web and Graphic Design for Posterity

Lots of clients ask us for «modern» designs. How healthy is it for the client's wallet, or our own, to follow imposed trends?

Portrait of Leonardo Correa Leonardo Correa Firmat

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A couple of days ago, while I was arranging some old papers, I came across some brochures of Palm devices (rings a bell?) and notebooks. They were from the year 1999, that is, from the last century. I was astonished at the validity of its design, to the point of thinking  at a glance that I was looking at a recent brochure.

We live in a society watching for the latest trends, fashion and style, where everything is perishable and disposable. In a theoretical frame, true design stands on the edge of it. It is not watching for shallow fads much less fashions that will make the design look old-fashioned or contorted in a couple of years. Good design avoids going hand-in-hand with fashion and even then, it never looks outdated.

But reality is far from being great. Many clients ask me to include some effective trends in the works, or to design by using specific styles that are in the fashion nowadays. Even though I try to warn or “shape” the client, they sometimes end up demanding their design to have an imminent expiration date. After a while, the same clients ask me to “update” the design because it has gotten “old” or because their website is no longer original! What a paradox, right?

The good thing is that, as time goes by, the client comes to understands the nonsense of paying for a yearly web design (facelift) and ends up choosing a design that has been studied and is detached from fashion and trends, and it lasts for many more years. Good design must, above all, communicate and call up (“call for action”). The most important things are the message and the effect. It all comes down to it. Regrettably, fashion sometimes attacks originality, creativity, and also good taste.

Can design be modern and tasteful? Clearly, it can. Proof of it could be minimalist work, which is not a trend or fashion, but a way of doing things. It is all reduced to what is important. That centrality aims at the disuse of ornaments or additional decorative details that are just the ones sometimes imposed as “trends”. Does this mean that design will be austere and won't convey anything? Not at all. Minimalism has an implicit natural beauty because what is simple is beautiful and functional by nature.

Designers are simplifying their designs with one voice. This new way of working has been received with arms wide open. It can be seen on websites, mobile apps, new identities, and so on and so forth. But simple and nice are sometimes the most complex things to achieve. There are still patterns to be removed such as the tendency to “overload” our works with stuff. ¿What is important? Functionality and the message. The always-so-searched beauty comes alone  and it brings good design effectiveness embedded.

Translated by Omar Perea Formosa

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