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Creative Contrasts: A Conversation with a Web Designer

15 Jul, 2015 McKell Naegle


The following is the first in a two-part series called Creative Contrasts, a look at the differences and similarities between web and print design. Today’s piece features our very own Frank Imler, a master in web design.

JD: What do you enjoy most about designing for the web?

FI: I love website design because they are and can be alive. They interact with people. You can design features to do things when the user does something. There are wonderful opportunities for shock and awe. I also love how the technology that accompanies web design is always changing and thus always provides new opportunities to do something new. I believe is a great way for designers to challenge themselves creatively.

JD: What are some of the limitations of the medium?

FI: A website is only as good as the developers that work on it. The developer that programs the site has a huge impact on what is possible. The designer may imagine all kinds of crazy ideas. The developer is the one that has to make it happen. It’s key for the designer and developer to work together throughout the entire process to make sure expectations are aligned. The developer that programs the browsers that the users are interacting with the sites we produce have a huge impact as well. The browser can only do so much. It’s the designer’s and developer’s job to continually push the browsers to always advance what’s possible.

JD: Can you talk about a web project you’re especially proud of?

FI: I had just been hired at Fluid Advertising, and we got this huge opportunity to redesign business.utah.gov. I got the project and it was my time to shine and prove my worth. It was a massive project with a ton of content to organize. It was really fun to work on and I thought it turned out really well. Pikus Concrete was another fun project. They needed a portfolio website, and they let me do just about what ever I wanted. It was simple and fun and I also had the chance to rebrand the company beforehand so it was great to see the project through from branding to website. There are several that are in the developers’ hands right now that I am particularly excited about. I was able to really stretch myself and the client to think differently and push what we thought was possible. Keep an eye out for Delta Stone Products, Steton and Bank of Utah.

JD: What does the future hold for web design?

FI: Mobile has had such a huge impact on how users interact with the Internet. I’m excited to see how that progresses. I really love how typography and motion has been able to take center stage. Before we were stuck with the same boring fonts and motion was nonexistent. Now the possibilities are endless. I think designers truly have the freedom to do just about whatever they can dream of.

JD: What’s the biggest difference between designing for print versus designing for the web?

FI: The biggest difference between web and print is adaptability. Websites can adapt between devices. Users can view the same website in many different ways. A printed piece stays the same. Websites can be revised. Pages, content or features can be added or taken away. A printed piece has to be completely redesigned and produced. There are more options for imagery and typography on a printed piece, but a website can think. It can customize the experience or the content based on the user. The experience a person has with a website can be more personal. A printed piece is just whatever it is when it came out of the printer.

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