Can you name 3 fonts?
Maybe Helvetica, Times New Roman, and designated laughing stock Comic Sans come to mind. But what’s the name of the font used for letters on your keyboard? Or that tweet Trump just posted? What font are you reading right now?
Chances are you probably haven’t thought of these questions enough, if at all – and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, it’s a sign of seamless design.
“Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent”
– Joe Sparano, graphic designer for Oxide Design Co.
But why does design matter, specifically, Web Design?
In an alternate reality, would anyone really care if Facebook was green and Twitter was red? Well, the answer would be yes; but perhaps not in the way you think. Design creates associations that triggers brand impressions.
Now, if Twitter chose a red color scheme right out of the gate, does that mean the company would fail? Not at all, but it would build different subconscious brand associations with users. The color blue is associated with words like calming and relaxing, so it makes sense that a communication platform would choose it as their primary color. Red is associated with excitement, energy, passion, and love in western culture – nothing inherently negative, but certainly not as closely pertaining. Red reads as passion, red better fits Pinterest.
It is not simply a design, it is an experience that compels users.
Typography and color are important pieces of a brands visual identity, but creating an engaging experience can be the make or break factor in a brand’s success. UI/UX design may seem purely cosmetic, but under the veil of usability, it’s an understandably overlooked art form.
Social media platforms are a perfect exhibition of interactive design that you are more than likely become desensitized to. Ever thought why like and comment features appear at the bottom of each post, as opposed to the sides or top? When did emoji responses on Facebook and LinkedIn become a possible interaction? Who decided what color your speech bubble was going to be when sending direct messages? These are all decisions of design.
Going back to the quote from Joe Sparano, great design is so intuitive, it feels natural. Not many people question why something like a “go back” button usually appears in the top left corner of your screen in most applications, perhaps because it feels correct. Of course, feeling isn’t an exact science, but neither is design. It sits somewhere between fluidity and structure, culminating in a variety of visual interfaces – each with their own identity and immediately recognizable presence.
Good design sets companies apart, but great design compels users. It’s an influential tool that drives engagement, and an art that shaped the device, site, and font you’re reading this in.