Yes, designing is not all about visual design but it is a very important aspect of a successful project. Often in big projects, visual design is overlooked as being superfluous. It is even called eye candy by many experts in the field and relegated to the confines of junior designers who know the tools and how to use them but nothing much else.
Let’s try and break this stereotype here…
I believe that visual design is a lot more polarizing in its effects that people give it credit for. Often ignored, when done right, this eye candy can be a perfect means of conveying messages to readers and visitors. Using the right illustrations, typography, photography, iconography, good color combinations, appropriate layout and spacing – all play a major role in improving interactions with visitors. Let’s investigate why.
“First Impressions Last Long” – isn’t that something we learn early on and hence dress accordingly and behave in tandem with the situation and occasion? Why should it be any different with a website? A visitor’s first impression plays a significant role in deciding his eventual trust factor and bounce rate. There are a lot more things that are greatly influenced by visual design too but the first impression is what lasts the longest when you visually design your project right. And let’s not forget that visual design is how you enforce visual brand signals.
While the outcome of failing to visually make something exciting is not grave the upside to spending time and effort making a website look visually enticing is that you get immediate loyalty from your visitors. Take for instance how we decide whether to purchase a brand new product. First we look at the advertisements and how well they are made, we also look at the product packaging and various use labels on it, then the product finish and quality but imagine trying to sell a product that is topnotch in all these segments online with a website that is absolutely boring and pre-photoshop in its design. Will you make any sales?
This brings us to the next question. Should you do it? The answer depends on the project you are working on. If you have a team in place, hire a professional visual designer. You do not want to dabble in things that need a professional unless you know your way around the tools and are on a really tight budget.
I always include an element of visual design in all my projects and make it clear to my clients that the costing includes visual designing so, it is actually a deliverable. Moreover, by doing this you can actually bump up your website pricing packages quite a bit regardless of whether you use prebuilt platforms or not!