Ashlee works at Artonic, a web design and marketing agency in Tecumseh, MI. She is a graphic designer.
How did you become interested in graphic design?
I credit my mom with instilling and encouraging my interest in the visual arts at young age. Being a talented artist herself, I had a built-in art instructor at home. I continued to work on my technical skills (photo-realistic drawing, color theory, etc.) through-out school. As I began to develop as a creative and research various career paths, graphic design stood out to me as the best way to enter the job market while scratching that artistic itch.
What’s the best part of your job as a sr. graphic designer?
I enjoy the variety of projects I’m able to work on and the challenges presented with each one. “How can I make this ad design better than the last?”
What’s the most challenging about your job?
The most challenging part of my job is educating the client. Sometimes the client may want a change that could be detrimental to usability or layout. But hey, they don’t do this for a living… educating the client is part of the gig. Most of the time, clients agree with our suggestions once an explanation is given.
What’s your philosophy regarding design, in a general sense?
This can be said of a lot of things: Keep it simple. It’s not hard to go overboard on a design, especially if a considerable amount of content to incorporate. Now, that doesn’t mean skip the details, but don’t let the details stand out over the design in its entirety.
How can you spot a bad web design?
- How many fonts are being used? I usually recommend no more than 3. Is the font easy to read? Is the font over-used?
- Are the colors in harmony?
- How much white space (or lack of white space) is there? Don’t be afraid of white space…it’s a design element, too!
- Is the website only focused on design, or design AND usability?
- Poor photography or imagery (bad lighting, un-sharp photos, cliché stock imagery, etc.)
If a company wants to build a website, what’s the one thing they should keep in mind, regarding the design of their site?
Companies should keep in mind they came to a professional design company for a reason. Everything we do is meant to ultimately benefit the client’s business. Now, that doesn’t mean we refuse the client any say in his or her design. We aim to sculpt a final masterpiece out of the goals and wants we are given from the start. We build the custom-ordered sports car, while making sure it stays on the road and out-paces the competition.
How often should a company update its website design?
Every 5 years or so. Trends come and go at a rapid pace in the web design industry; what was in 3 years ago, may look dated and tired today. It’s important to present a fresh, up-to-date website for visitors, as the homepage of a company’s website is probably the first impression potential customers will see.
What types of photos are best for mid-sized company websites?
I believe custom photography, or authentic stock photography at least, should be part of every website. I think we’ve all encountered those stereotypical stock photos before: businessmen shaking hands, target with arrows, generic corporate figures, and so on. Bleh! Custom photos allow the visitor to develop a level of trust with a company before making a transaction; good, custom photos can literally give a face to a company.
When should a company invest in a custom video for its website?
Whenever possible. Video is quickly becoming one of the most desired ways to consume content. Short, well-produced videos are a great way to educate and connect with potential and existing clients.
Don’t forget: good audio is SUPER important. Never skimp on sound quality. A great image is important, but no one will watch if he or she can’t hear what’s being said.
What design trends are just emerging in website design?
- Card Design & Grid Layouts
- High-quality, authentic photos
- Big, bold typography
- Cinemagraphs and Video
- Modular Design
- Vibrant Gradients
Send your web design questions to Ashlee at firstname.lastname@example.org.