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.)

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