Boutique Cool Vs Corporate Bland Design

Design portal is featuring an article entitled Giant Sites: Designing the Un-Designable. The article talks about the pros and cons for working for a boutique web design agency with smaller clients, and firms who produce sites for larger corporate clients.

This quote is taken from a creative director: Everyone knows the best work comes from boutiques. This article challenges this attitude, which is nice. I myself mostly do web design for larger corporates with far more attention focused on producing intuitive interfaces and layouts to help consumers get the information they want, perform transactions, etc. There isn’t always much room for creative abandon in these projects, and you do have to think about how this is going to be cut up into templates. Most of these sites deal with large amounts of dynamic info and you have to tailor your designs to accommodate this in the most elegant, code efficient way possible, while still maintaining an existing brand, and catering to your target audience. Phew!

There is of course the fact that mostly with larger corporate clients, there are many decision and stakeholders, who invariably can’t decide on a particular design, and most of the time will go with what is the safest, or something similar to what their competitor has done/is doing. Which is understandable from a business perspective, if you know a particular solution already works well, then why not look at the core of what they’ve done and change it to your needs. It’s gotta work out cheaper in the end?

So boutique agencies have it easier? Depends on the projects and their individual needs (client temperment?), not just the size of the agency. I’ve often felt that in general they get more creative freedom, because of the nature of work they seem to get, like more brochure ware sites, newsletters, mini promo sites, etc. So do you equate creative freedom with easier? No you can’t. More enjoyable? For me yes, but depends on your personal tastes, like PC or Mac.

Corporate blandness doesn’t always have to be so bland though. You can get a bit creative if only through small subtle elements. Sometimes if you present a corporate client with something more interesting as well as bland version no.112, they can start to comprise. But only a little, and only if you change it brand X blue. But it’s a start.

Boutique design though seems to be where you want to be if your a designer. When you’ve decided to make a living as a designer, it’s super sexy slick sites/designs that woo you, the ones with pages of cutting edge graphic, photography and typography experiments bordering on art more than design, topped off with exquisite embellishments and more style than you can poke a cursor at. I can’t say that the Microsoft or Amazon sites inspired me so.


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