A candid essay from dops.digital to our actively designing colleagues and graphic self-starters evaluating brutalism vs. material design this very day. This is our philosophy that helps us deliver long-lasting products.
It’s a controversial thing to admit, but we just have to:
Creating a trendy design is not your job.
What is it then? For dops.digital it is...
Making readable layouts with intuitive navigation.
Delighting the customer with the look that tells a story, their story.
Differentiating the brand or product from the rest on that market.
We are not here to tell you that following design trends should be off-limits. But we do believe that copycatting them is a wrong strategy to get to the top shelf.
To prove that point, let’s start from the opposite.
For better or worse, web design trends exist, gain following, get in and out of the spotlight. Some are perceived as the methodologies of the most experienced designers – a safe way to look premium. Some are referred to as the avant-garde of a repeatable and boring web. Eventually, every trend becomes obsolete – same as fast fashion, which is created to be sold for half a year and then gives way to the next edition of temporarily demanded apparel. And then there are classic clothes, sometimes called basic – they keep the appeal at all times because they don’t respond to momentary requirements but take care of always actual, underlying dressing needs.
Designing a web interface in a certain school line feels like a safe bet to arrive with something fresh and generally accepted. But will you have to ship it for recycling along with the spring attire collection of the last year? Assuming your customer wants a fancy website, let’s not forget they also want to keep it relevant in the long run.
– So what, designing plain and basic is your solution?
Well, no, not really. In the last six years we created playful and classy concepts, minimalist and elaborate layouts. None of our projects was dedicated to motion design or 3D graphics. They have been an event business website, e-commerce platform, National Geographic web app, and many more. Our trend is and always has been the development of the customer brand relevance in a particular business niche.
To focus on the client instead of dictations of the modern web design, we use creative critical thinking.
The funny thing, these two adjectives are usually pictured as contradictory. Creative thinking is understood as being original and discarding the rules, often resulting in creating for the sake of creativity. Critical thinking is described as an analytic approach that doesn’t allow for resourcefulness.
For us, they are a right and a left hand – that's the anatomy of every designer at dops.digital, no less.
The design is not plain and boring if it is readable. It is not exciting and futuristic if it makes one’s eyes bleed. The interface you build and nurture is just one part of the huge marketing ecosystem, that includes user acquisition funnel, promotions, brand public relations – on that scale the UI doesn’t look like the banner of originality, but an effective cogwheel in a huge machine. And of course, the main mission of marketing is to differentiate the brand and leave a mark in the industry. Design that supports that mission cannot be based on repeating fashionable templates instead of dated ones, it has to innovate entirely.
3D animation and isometry, gradients and material, flat design and neumorphism, minimalism, and brutalism are the tools, not the goal. And you, as master, want to know your tools.
We believe in investing time into learning the new trends and uncovering past ones. Break and remix them with creativity, ration that spark with a critical approach, and put the usability and accessibility in first place at all times. Study your client and come up with something you might do differently from a trend to make your design a visual story, a truly unique and custom experience.