Web Design is an Art
Web design fuses text with the graphic arts, with technology, with business, with advertising, with just about everything. It is the world’s premiere art form. You can display everything from fine art, to political commentary, to porn on a Web site. And often all three at the same time. While trying to fuse so much together, Web designs more often confuse the viewer.
If Web Design is Art, Then We Should Learn What Art Is
My neighbor’s 4 year old pre-schooler brought home a scribbled picture of a tree. She put it up on the altar of childhood art appreciation: the refrigerator front door. I was over for coffee and happened to notice this fantastic piece of art and I began to rave about how she should make sure the little tyke should be groomed as an artist.
She looked at me after a time and bluntly uttered the truth. “Its just a little kid’s scribbled tree! How can you even begin to imagine it has so much potential? ”
In truth, I’m often WOW-ed by the art of little kids. Its because they see things adults have been taught not to see any more. Let me explain what this little kid had drawn.
The scribble started at the bottom of the page, and ran right up, past the bulk of the trunk with only a quick hesitation of doubt double lining that side of the trunk. Then the line began to scribble a big mass above this one sided trunk, for a long time, you could tell! One constant and joyfully physical, exerted and exasperating line, full of tons of energy. The result perfectly represented the bulk of this tree’s canopy.
It was highly dense and dark in the middle, and progressed to a very light and bouncy exterior. Finally, flecks and gouges of almost page penetrating pencil marks punctuated the canopy, like the few scintillating glimmers of light and birds we see stuck in trees everyday.
Even the single line trunk told me the truth about the appearance of a tree: the lit side had no line, instead blending into the background, just as the lit side of all objects does.
It takes an adult artist years to discover how to again see and then capture these kinds of details. But that’s art. Art is the process of representing things like trees. It is not the result.
Web Design is the Process/Art of Providing Results
We all too often associate creativity with vague results. If someone draws some pretty lines and colors, and the overall effect is kind of cool, we can call that art. And it probably is, even if it does fall pretty far from the tree.
The term Web design can be taken literally to mean creating a Web of designs.
What I mean by that is that Web pages are about presenting the results surfers are looking for. More often than not, new visitors to your Web design will have found your page through a list of search engine results. More than ever before, your artwork, your Web design’s front page, needs to satisfy that surfer with results paired to the term they just searched for.
In other words, if a surfer types the word “tree” into a search engine, and a result pops up for your Web site that states: “This site is about the marvel of trees and everything relating to them! ” Then when that surfer gets to your site, it had better be about trees and everything related to them.
The content of your Web design needs to be related to keyword search results in a way that provides those results. If you don’t know what the keywords are that your site is being designed to serve, then you have no idea what Web design is about, even if you think you’re an adult expert on Web design!
If you don’t know Web design is a results based art, then you’re just like the mother who can’t recognize the genius of her own child. How could you possibly know how to groom your baby for the best results?
– Ian Hess