It’s just fashion

26 Jun 2018

I rarely rant but this one has been building up, and I’ve now had a ‘Falling Down moment’.

You’ll have seen tweets like this, bemoaning a lack of originality in web layouts:

Now, I don’t think this tweet was meant to be anything other than a gentle dig, but the complaint that there is too much homogenity is a common theme. Another way to look at this is that you’re providing content in a familiar pattern that the reader will expect. Heaven forbid we should make it easy for them.

If you have the opportunity to break that mould, then good for you. If not, then so what? We’re not all trying to make art here.

Now onto the real nub of my rant.


You many also be aware of this illustration style (above) that a lot of companies are using right now. I’ve heard it described as infantile and it’s the target of the Humans of Flat Design twitter feed. I may be missing a tongue in a cheek, but the level of smug sneering is unbearable. Consider the illustrators who were doing this style for years and now have their work described as the lowest common demoninator.

You can either make something that fits the current vernacular, or not. If you do, you create something that people are expecting to see, and if you don’t, you can surprise them*.

It’s just fashion. Don’t waste time complaining about it, far better to respond with original work than snark.


*The latter isn’t always the right direction – as always, it depends.

(Incidentally, during the early stages of an illustration project last year, a client of mine pulled examples of this style from Dribbble, and wanted to steer my artwork towards this style. I suggested it wasn’t a good idea – not because I was taking a stand against an overused style (which it wasn’t at the time) but if that was the style they really wanted, they should just hire those illustrators instead. It seemed mad to bend my style to follow someone else’s, even if it did mean turning away work from a nice, big client.)

Recent Posts

Leigh and Jon did Inktober

01 Nov 2018

We are Oxvik

15 Oct 2018

The Hicks Logowall

05 Oct 2018

Hiding Away

16 Sep 2018

Biro sketch of Lauzerte

23 Aug 2018

Firefox Identity Project

21 Aug 2018

It’s just fashion

26 Jun 2018

The Symbol Sourcebook

08 Jun 2018

Differences between Icon and Logo Design on This is HCD Podcast

10 Apr 2018

Instagram Hickstagram

  • 11 Nov 2018

    It’s got to the PowerPoint presentation part of Gruff Rhys’ set.

  • 11 Nov 2018

  • 06 Nov 2018

    The light falling on @matthamm this afternoon was like a renaissance painting

  • 02 Nov 2018

    Vector illustration of a Tufted Duck, using @affinitybyserif Designer on the iPad Pro (+ Pencil). This app is a game changer, letting me do the kind of work I’d normally need a desktop computer and a Wacom tablet for. #illustration #birdillustration

  • 01 Nov 2018

  • 01 Nov 2018

  • 31 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 31: last day! @hicksmade and I decided to finish on a joint drawing using the Inktober logo as the basis. It’s been really fun to do this together, and I never thought we’d manage to keep it up to the end 😊 #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober

  • 30 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 30. Almost there! @hicksmade drew our retriever Olive, who was named after “Olive the other Reindeer” by J Otto Seibold. This is Olive, with Martini the Penguin, on their way to the North Pole. #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober

  • 29 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 29. Taking the theme of ‘lies’ from @hicksmade’s post today, here’s a generic picture of a liar. No one particular in mind… #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #liar

  • 29 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 28. From @hicksmade’s Willo the Wisp character to its narrator, Kenneth Williams #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober

Contact us

Call Jon on +44 (0)7917 391536, email or tweet @hicksdesign.

Alternatively, pop in for tea and cake at the studio…

Wenrisc House
Meadow Court
Witney, OX28 6ER
United Kingdom