If there’s one overriding message I want to communicate about design, it’s that there is purpose behind it. That making something look nice is just part of the process. A fairly small part. Honestly.
Design starts with your audience, with your goals, your problems. And tries to speak to, achieve and address those things, respectively. And I thought I’d start off illustrating this by writing about the recent redesign of the Parsley website.
HAVE A REASON FOR EVERYTHING
A standard design portfolio type site tends simply to showcase a variety of projects. But what I think is important about Parsley’s approach is this idea of deliberate strategy. Having a reason for everything.
So, for us, a portfolio is not just an opportunity to get people looking at the results of your work; it’s also an opportunity to explain why that work looks as it does, how the process worked and what the thinking was behind it. So that a prospective client can browse through the projects and get a sense not just of how our work looks, but also what it might be like to work with us, and why we work the way we do.
The work should obviously stand alone (not everyone will want to read the text) – but I wanted to offer the curious a bit more insight into each project we feature.
To this end, I wanted a portfolio style that incorporated text as well as images. I also wanted each portfolio item to be Google-friendly (through having its own, keyword-led page, avoiding use of technologies such as Flash that block search).
I wanted a clean, non-gimmicky look. Because a portfolio website is about the work it features, and I didn’t want the design template to compete with the portfolio pieces. I chose clean lines, coherent colours and a minimum of distracting clutter.
SO WHY ISN’T THERE ANY PARSLEY?
Sorry, herb-lovers, but parsley’s just in the name.
Some of the other design variants involved graphics/photos of parsley. But I don’t really want people to focus too much on vegetation. Otherwise we start looking like a gardening centre.
And that’s not one of my goals.