Rick Mess | May 7, 2021
Take a look around and you’ll see a wealth of cookie-cutter design. Everyone is copying everyone else’s ideas, changing the visuals to the best of their abilities or arrogance. They change the colors and shapes, they shift some blocks around. Upon clients’ request, designers are willing to steal the entire layout of a top-rate website. The digital world is one of imitation. We are not talking about whether it’s good or bad. We are just saying that if you want to create a unique project, this is not the path you should take.
zHow do you create a design that is on-trend and at the same time special?
Your task will be much easier if you understand the meaning of uniqueness in web design. Being unique in design terms is not the same as being unique in common parlance. It’s not about being creative, possessing mad skills, or having a spark of divine talent.
In design, uniqueness is achieved by following some rather non-unique rules.
You’re walking down the street and see a pair of sneakers on display. You slow down and start eying them with growing interest. Just an ordinary pair of sneakers… But something caught your eye. Whether it’s their shape, color, or fabric, it’s not something you think about in the first few moments. All you want is to take a closer look.
Unique design triggers similar feelings. Something catches our eye, grabs our attention — that’s the first reaction.
The paragraphs below will show how this reaction is achieved.
At a closer look, the sneakers look even better, even though the manufacturer is unfamiliar to you. They look as good as famous brands! You feel the need to try them on right here and now.
This is how unique design works: by making the user fall in love with the product.
If the brand is familiar, it further boosts your resolve to purchase the product. If it’s not, the product’s appearance must be trustworthy, signaling quality and beauty (see 2 above).
Uniqueness shapes the brand, making it stand out among similar brands and lifting it higher. Being unique helps your product become memorable. You see one face in a crowd of thousands and cannot forget it.
So what you need is a memorable design, not just a trendy one.
Forward-thinking companies tend to emphasize their difference from the competition at the earliest stages of creating the website and developing their visual identity. And you can’t do that without being at least somewhat unique!
Love at first sight is an exciting feeling. This kind of love is not accidental: it is born of esthetic gratification that we feel when we look at an item. It also means we are assured of its quality and indispensability. The item’s uniqueness engages our imagination, so we envision ourselves the happy owners of a special thing. Yes, it’s just like everyone else’s except better!
The mole on Marilyn Monroe’s face drove millions of viewers crazy. It was her unique feature and part of her image. A lot of ladies would draw “Marylin moles” on their faces, but none of them became stars. (The same happens with mindless copying of designs.) The actress’s mole was a highlight that drew attention to her beautiful lips. Let’s apply it to design: we need to draw attention to cool things instead of simply using highlights to liven up the visuals. If Marilyn Monroe were a bad actress or ugly as sin, would the mole have helped her?
Special convenience means predictability (however paradoxical that may sound). This is the difference between digital and common uniqueness. We want to take special care about the users’ convenience. And to do that, the interface has to be comprehensible, not intimidatingly unique.
Uniqueness is special care about navigation, functions, and the visual logic of the content.
This means a careful, functional, and good-looking design, in which every pixel expresses care about the users’ needs, the brand’s image and advancement. Special quality can only be achieved after thoroughly researching the project’s requirements and finding the optimum design concept.
Unique design is created for a specific audience, a concrete product, an individual company. Reusing someone else’s good solutions is normal practice if we know for sure it’s going to work in our case.
Uniqueness is an especially successful solution to a problem.
Each project has its own goals and audience, so it must trigger specific emotions. This is why using someone else’s visual ideas or templates will end in failure.
Whichever visualization tool you choose to use — photos, illustrations, animations — it must be likable to the audience, appeal to its tastes, satisfy their expectations.
Drawings deserve a separate mention. Users like them because they look nice and trustworthy. Drawings are created by human beings as opposed to soulless software. It’s one of the best tools of unique design — touching, beautiful, and memorable. It sends a clear message to the users: “We love you and are willing to put in the effort.”
The user wants to feel the interface interacting with them in a nice and non-intrusive way. Microinteractions must both be predictable and at the same time feel personalized to the user. There are also things that can’t be mindlessly copied.
No, this isn’t about special techniques or design tricks, that’s secondary. A unique style is first and foremost a concept. The conceptual approach creates its own style, one that is manifest in any project regardless of specific requirements. For example, our team strives to make our clients special (which is why we are so passionate about this subject). We achieve it through our concept of design, which prioritizes comprehensibility, clarity, simplicity and minimalism, logic, esthetics, and functionality.
You can make your own conclusion. Uniqueness means closely following the rules of good design. No one is saying it’s easy. Work, love, care, and attention have never been easy, have they?
The secret of uniqueness is thoroughly solving the project’s tasks one after another. Then uniqueness will evolve naturally, because the very task dictates it.