Web Design, Art, and Making Things Look Different When People Want Them to Look the Same

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As I sit here looking at my portfolio, one thing stands out to me – I’ve done a great job of diversifying my work. Over the last five years I’ve made a lot of websites and I’m proud to say that none of them look the same.

In this templatized world there are so many websites that are nearly identical. From a technical standpoint, templates make sense – it’s easier to modify than to build from scratch. While my websites may not look the same, I’ve used plenty of WordPress and Webflow templates and undoubtedly there are other sites on the web that are nearly identical.

But from an artistic standpoint, I hate the thought of giving two or more of my clients the same look and feel for the web presence. Especially if there is proximity – competing businesses, geographically-close organizations, or overlapping social networks. I don’t want any of my clients to get feedback that their site looks like somebody else’s. I know I wouldn’t like that if it happened to me.

So when a client was browsing my portfolio and asked me to make something that looked like one of my existing designs, I wasn’t quite sure how to feel – I’m glad to have their business and I want to deliver a site that meets their needs, wants, and expectations. But as an artist, how can I differentiate the two sites from each other?

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Too similar? Different enough? I’m conflicted. I’ve only been working on the latest project for a day so I’m sure I’ll continue to find ways to make them different *enough* artistically, but I want to be sure that my client’s vision is brought into reality.

Ranked

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For the last five years I’ve been running WaltersWorks as a side job, just some extra cash here and there. And it shows – my revenue last year was just about $3,500. Nothing to write home about. I was intentionally unsuccessful – I knew that as long as the business didn’t get too big, there was no conflict with my full-time job. I didn’t have to try very hard, just keep doing some work here and there and leave it at that.

I just found out that WaltersWorks is ranked #20┬áin the Central Penn Business Journal’s list of top web design companies in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, and York counties.

I feel like being ranked changes things.

When you’re ranked, you can gain ground or lose ground.

That’s why I’m setting new goals for 2017. No, I’m not going to aim for that #1 spot – the top dogs in the area are making millions in revenue and have upwards of 50 employees on the roster. But if there’s ever going to be a year where I break out and make big gains, this is it.

What’ll it take to make the leap? A commitment to every client that I already have, and to all those that I will have, to provide the very best service when it comes to web design, graphic design, social media marketing, SEO, and audio/video content creation. Every web site needs to be brilliant. Every graphic and logo needs to be pixel-perfect. And I need to provide outstanding communication and customer service in every aspect of the business.

I just opened up a Yelp account and turned on Facebook reviews because as I make these gains I want to make sure that my clients have an outlet for their feedback. I hope that every client has great feedback and loves what I do, but I also need to hear when I haven’t met expectations. So, if I’ve provided you with a product or service, please feel free to let me know how I’ve done.

And if we haven’t worked together yet, maybe now is the right time to start?