the devil is in the details

i’m still making my way through elliot jay stocks‘ latest book, sexy web design, which is a fantastic read btw (i recommended purchasing it)! it’s no secret that i am a huge fan of elliot’s work and i knew i had to get my hands on his book. it doesn’t disappoint. elliot has a way of writing that makes you feel like you are sitting having a coffee with him and just chatting about design. i already have so many things i’d like to talk about here from the book. i still have a few chapters to go though, so more on that later.

i was especially chuffed, and utterly surprised to be honest, to see a site i had designed, decor8, featured in the book to showcase a good example of artistic details. (ok, in all honesty, i squealed with delight when i saw it and read elliot’s comments). credit must also go to my client, holly, who i was extremely lucky to work with on the site as she is wonderfully creative and inspiring.

but, enough of that and back to the topic at hand that i want to discuss: great design. one thing that really hit home while reading sexy web design, is the idea that great design is in the details. i couldn’t agree more. as elliot says:

Attention to detail goes a long way towards creating a visually rewarding experience for people: it can be the distinction between good and great design.

on more than one occasion i’ve had discussions with other designers, developers and clients over elements that are so subtle, they are hardly noticeable. i often get the argument of: “why put in the extra time to add in this little detail if 90% of people won’t even notice?” the thing is, they will. if they aren’t very design-savvy it is true that they may not notice a subtle element specifically such as (“oh, look at the subtle gradient there!”), but they will get an overall “mood” or “feel” from the design and all those little details is what creates that mood. perhaps the gradient softens an element or adds in a little depth. i’d go so far as to say that the little details aren’t there to be noticed; they are there to enhance the design as a whole. as designers, our goal is always to deliver the best design we can, and that means paying attention to the minutiae of a design. i reckon it’s also what a lot of us love about design: the subtle changes you can make to create something really stunning…or, even perhaps sexy!

my goal with this redesign, first and foremost, was to simplify things and have a clean, more “me” look. step one done. as i mentioned though i plan on being a little more “organic” with this redesign. instead of worrying about every detail from the start i plan to work on the site in stages. next stage: polishing and adding in those ever important details, while still keeping the design simple and clean. details aren’t about unnecessary embellishments. i think most designers will know what i mean when i say a design is never done. you’ll always look at it later and consider a new approach, a slight adjustment, removing something or adding something in. the beauty of a personal site like this is having the freedom to do just that.

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