Quote of the Month

Posted by PH on October 03, 2010
Quote of the Month, Web Design

I wanted better to understand why some visual ideas work and some don’t. I wanted to learn more about the juxtaposition of shapes and colours, and investigate the science behind structures and layouts. I believe that perception and meaning cut through disciplines, so something learned decades ago by an architect or furniture designer could help me understand elements of my work on the web. I’d rather we investigate experiences and ideas than simply leverage everything from print design, as some suggest.

I was presenting a ‘finished’ version of a site to another designer I trust to be honest. He loved the ideas and layouts, but suggested that I was “cheapening” the concept by overplaying too many textures and extraneous ideas. So rather than launch, I sat with the design for ages, assessing, simplifying, sieving it down and reducing it until I only had left what I really needed. I now consider that contemplation and simplification period as one of the most vital aspects of my process.

Make do with only what you need in your designs. Focus on reducing clutter, tricks, unnecessary CSS3 bells and whistles. When a design is finished, look again—for ages—and see what you can improve, tighten, or throw away. Think beyond the “enablers”: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Photoshop, etc. Good design solves problems regardless of the tools and frameworks, so try where possible to forget how we build stuff, and think long and hard about why we build.

Simon Collison


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2 Comments to Quote of the Month

  • Hi Paul,
    Yes, I was discussing his site with my students only last week. I have mixed feelings about it myself: I admire the attention to detail and the cutting-edge technical implementation, but I dislike the pastiche “look and feel” of the site. I just don’t like pastiche, period.


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