This article tells a story about our Bali design agency. We will begin with the story about design.
Not so long ago (evolutionarily speaking), we used our eyes to hunt. We focussed on visual cues that gave information about the prey’s movements. Later, our predatory vision allowed us to develop drawings, symbols, and written language.
Visual design evolved in complexity, and we had the drive to illustrate everything around us as accurately as possible. From the Ancient Greeks’ proportional statues to Renaissance Italian masterpieces, realism was the mark of great design.
One day, the camera was invented. Realistic art, while still admirable even to this day, slowly loses its value, as reality becomes easier to duplicate in a flash.
Visual design became simpler, and even more subtle and abstract. This was pioneered by many movements, such as Pablo Picasso’s deconstructive cubism, Marcel Duchamp’s abstract dadaism, Andy Warhol’s reproducible pop art, and many others. Visual design was no longer about capturing reality, but rather capturing ideas and spreading them fast, like wildfire.
Fast forward to 2020, design agencies are constantly taking advantage of one of life’s greatest paradox — the fact that simplicity is more meaningful than complexity; a better way to communicate is to be concise, delivering no more information than necessary, yet subtly adding more for those who pay attention.
Modern designs for prehistoric hunters
Why does simplicity seem more meaningful? After all, everything that we see in nature is beautiful and complex. Why design websites that are simple, flat, with a combination of only a few colors? Why don’t we emulate natural beauty into marketing designs?
There was a time when buttons looked three dimensional, when logos looked futuristic with a reflective gloss, and when putting as much information into ads was a wise use of the marketing budget.
We tried to go into that direction. It didn’t work out so well. Simple and clean design trends outlive those that used to dominate the Internet landscape in the early 2000s.
The Internet has become a noisy place. Not so long ago, our prehistoric ancestors learned to filter only visual cues and sounds that truly mattered. In the same way, once again, our eyes are now being used to hunt for useful information, and quickly too.
Lea Lee, the Creative Director of our design agency in Bali, knows this well. When she and her team are in the process of completing the final draft of a design, they don’t ask about what more they can add to the designs to make them perfect. Rather, they think in reverse. “Design as less as necessary,” Lea says. When nothing else can be taken away without losing its meaning, the design is optimal.
In fact, website visitors love to skim and scan. Every website has but seconds to make an impression. Yet Lea and her team are able to create the right atmosphere (aligned with the brand promise) by strategically placing visual elements.
Visitors can understand the business before reading any text. If the visitors can understand the business visually, the design team has done their job well.
Creating is easy, designing is hard
The greatest challenge that digital artists face today isn’t the creation of the visual designs. We now have technologies that allow us to easily create, edit and scale images and illustrations quickly.
The greatest challenge is actually to justify and explain our graphic design decisions. More often than not, these graphic designs appear simple enough and easy to recreate.
It is true that using software to create a graphic design, logo, website design or visual brand is easy. Anyone can use software.
However, deciding upon the correct color schemes, element positions, layout, typeface, animations and media placement is hard. Doing so, while keeping the target audience in mind — what they like and dislike — is hard. Optimizing the visual design aspects without harming the functionality of the website (loading speed, memory usage, etc.) is also difficult.
Justifying the “simple is better” principle to some clients can be especially challenging.
“Many [new] designers make the mistake of being too enthusiastic about a design, and try to impress clients with features that they don’t really need,” Lea said as she recalled her 20+ years of experience in managing creative teams from Switzerland to Bali.
Before working at Island Media Management, her former team designed something so innovative and complex that users didn’t know “where to click”. The irony of overly complex design is that while this can impress the clients, actual users — customers — may not like it at all.
Lea and her current team are now very careful about following trends. For example, the grid web navigation layout used to be popular, but only for a couple of years. An experimental or trendy web layout such as this was eventually met with criticism as older users find it confusing; they don’t know how to navigate through the website efficiently.
How our digital artists help you to express your brand visually
To avoid wasting resources on designs that will not work for customers, our design agency approaches every project in a systematic way, yet allowing room for customizations.
It is unwise to expect every client to let go of their preconceived notions about how websites should look like. Rather, it is healthy to listen to the minor customization requests, if any. However, our digital artists will prioritize the early but essential steps to establish the right foundations of web design.
Customizable down to the details
Depending on the budget and size of the project, we can begin work with a wireframe, a kind of rough draft for your website elements, how they are laid out and how we expect them to work together. At this point, the design is purely about elements and functionality.
This is your chance to like or dislike our prototype, and to be as honest as you can about the design. Remember — we only want to create something that you like, not what we think you would like.
Once you approve of the design, we move to a full color mock up - together with color and visual elements. Once this is approved, we can move to development. At this point, you can help our team by supplying the images and the correct information to be placed on the website.
Establish yourself online with a website that you are proud of
Social media should not be the only way that your brand is present on the Internet. Sure, it is free and easy to set up. It is also very easy to be overwhelmed by competitors if you share the same platform. Ideally, your content shouldn’t even be in the same space and time as your competitor’s content.
Invest in a website and enjoy two things: 1) online real estate, and 2) your customer’s undivided attention. Learn more about our web design service.