As with many aspects of website design, optimisation and operation, its graphic design is a separate identifiable task, but must be undertaken in the context of the overall website requirements.
When designing a house, an architectect starts with the functional requirements of the property, especially the need for doors, windows, rooms, water supply, waste disposal, etc. The architect then comes up with a suitable design that is appealing and employs a particular selection of brick, wood and other materials to achieve the desired appearance.
The graphic design of a website is subject to exactly the same constraints. It cannot be undertaken in isolation, but must take account of the likely content of the website, its general layout, functionality, navigation features, etc.
The Design Process
The starting point for any website development is normally a proposal. In this, we respond directly to the customer’s briefing to ensure that we have properly interpreted the requirements. We also provide an outline of the website in terms of the functions that are provided, the navigation, and especially the menu structure, and the overall layout of the pages.
Once this information has been reviewed and agreed with the customer, and suitably revised, it forms the basis of the requirements that are placed on the graphic designer, together with the customer’s preferred logo and colour scheme. A new logo design is often required by the customer, both for new business and as part of a revised branding for existing businesses.
It is essential that the graphic designer work within the constraints of these requirements, because the graphic design could otherwise easily places unacceptable constraints on the website layout and navigation.
We normally provide a selection of graphic designs, each in different colour schemes. These are reviewed with the customer and the customer’s eventual choice is often a combination of aspects from the different designs.
A final version of the graphic design is produced and submitted to the customer for approval. This is a key milestone in the website development process, because, together with the navigation and the functionality, the graphic design provides a complete definition of the website requirements.
Graphic Design Capability
At Net4orce, we have our own in-house graphic design capability, and most of the websites illustrated in our case studies have been designed by our in-house team. We also work closely with other third party graphic designers, either in partnership or by subcontracting the work under our management.
The graphic designer is expected to create designs with a high visual impact and that reflect the ethos, standing and nature of the customer’s business. For example, a website for a solicitor or a barrister differs markedly from a business to business website, or from one selling products to the general public online.
To complement our own in-house capability we are also very lucky to have a graphic designer in Newbury. Pixel Squid Design provide Logo Design, Brochure Design, Flyer & Leaflet Design, Business Card Design and Folder Design / Exhibition Graphics - based in Newbury, Berkshire.