I recently started working on an exciting new project. It is set to be one of the most enjoyable sites that I'm going to do. This is partly due to the fact that the client seems to trust me. Your site always looks better when you trust the designer ... assuming the designer knows what he's talking about. Anyway, I was given total creative freedom on this project, and I let the ideas flow. As is often the case, I had a concept for the project before I even sat down with the company leadership. I knew the layout; I knew the colors; I knew the feel, everything. Then a strange thing happened.
I was wrong.
It does happen occasionally. I was completely wrong.
- I talked to the leaders and got a feel for who the company is and realized the feel I was going for would not fit.
- I saw their new logo and realized that the colors I had envisioned wouldn't work at all.
- I reviewed the content and knew that the layout I wanted was just wrong for them.
All of that was a little disheartening, but I'm pretty adaptable. I started working on the site consenting to all of the changes I had forced on my original idea, but I was resilient on one point. This would be a dark site! I love dark sites, and it's rare that I get to make them. With this project I had the creative freedom to do it and the thought process to justify it. The darkness would add the weight and seriousness that this company deserved. So, I built a dark site for them. Guess what?
I was wrong again.
I couldn't believe it! Don't get me wrong, I liked it better as a dark site, but it simply wasn't what they needed. It became too much about the colors and the design and not enough about who they were. Kristen and I discussed for a while what we should do. We kept trying to come up with distinguishing factors to tip the scales, but for every point there seemed to be a counter point. The factor that ended up having the most preponderance was this: "We like site A better, but were more likely to engage a company with site B." The lighter site was better for the company.
My dream for this site died that day, but it was a glorious, sacrificial death. This dream of mine died so that the reality of the company could live on in their website. Every good designer should stand firm on what they know is best for your website, even if that means standing up to himself. A good designer doesn't fight for what he wants, he fights for what is right.