One of the most valuable instruments in the advertiser’s toolkit is a keen sense of style. A capable advertiser should be able to spot the marketing pieces set to become ubiquitous, the design features that are on their way out, and – most importantly – the difference between short-term stylistic developments and long-term practical innovations.
In our experience, digital marketing has made the ability to spot relevant and irrelevant trends an increasingly important commodity. This is particularly true when it comes to web design for professional service firms where utility and artistry are often at odds and where one poor stylistic choice can frustrate your firm’s marketing plan for a number of years.
Website Design and Trends
Why are trends so troublesome when it comes to web design?
The problem has much to do with the relative staying power of a website as compared to other marketing pieces like print or video advertisements. While the average print ad might appear a handful of times within a single year, many professional service firms tend to keep the same website for five years or more. The result of this tendency to slowly update professional service websites leads to a situation where a firm that boldly embraced the latest design trends when creating their site ends up with an archeological relic displaying a bunch of outdated-features five-years later.
Website Design: How to Avoid the Trend Trap
First, it is important to acknowledge that it is impossible to create a timeless web design that you will be able to leave forever unchanged. The world of web design simply does not work that way. However, there are ways to avoid investing in a website that will immediately look dated following completion. Chief among these is the importance of hiring a designer who is able to tell the difference between short-term stylistic developments and long-term practical innovations.
Why is this differentiation important? The answer is simple. Because of the utility required of websites, it is a safe bet that the more practical the design innovation, the more likely it is going to be sticking around for a while. For instance, while the rotating gif and has gone the way of the Dodo the use of the horizontal navigational bar continues to proliferate long after it first appeared on the design scene.
Time-Capsule of Trends
Still think your website is trend proof? Here are a few web-design mainstays that have virtually disappeared.
The Notorious Spinning Gif
The Website Visitor Counter
The Website Pre-Roll Flash Intro Video
For more information on web design, feel free to contact us.