Much bizarre that the title may seem to be but it’s actually a quite serious subject that I wish to enlighten. The dark side of our adored web world is that everything has a shelf life of its own and change is an inevitable truth. The same fundamental applies to website designs that are forgotten or dumped in Necropolis or graveyard within months after its launch or are neglected due to difference in opinion of the client. Unlike real life designs like a vintage car or any other antique that are preserved for several generations to enjoy, a website design has no life after it ends up in a Graveyard. This article will be about how a website design reaches a Graveyard and what we can do to avoid a design being wasted!
Let us first know how a good design finds it’s way to the Graveyard with some situations and examples.
Mashed up Presentations to the Client
Mashed up here refers to the multiple designs presented to the client in the form of options. I never recommend presenting more than one perfect designs to the clients as they might confuse them. However, presenting one masterpiece and altering the same as per the expectations of the client is a strategy worth following. Just imagine how many priceless designs you may have ruined by presenting all of them at once. Presenting multiple design mockups not only makes the decision process complex but also may result in other good designs ending up in the Graveyard.
Projects that Fail to See the Daylight
Client-Designer relationships are quite sensitive and complicated at the same time, which is why in my career I have heard of several projects failing to see the daylight even before they are completed. Due to several reasons, relationships go through a rough patch and these designs are either discarded or never used again. Therefore, we have another design and talent wasted. Situations like these either happen at the beginning or at the later stages of a project and the fate of a design depend on your contractual obligations to the client. On the otherhand, there are chances that the client might use the same design for his upcoming project, thereby avoiding wastage.
Indulging in Speculative or Spec Work
Speculative or Spec work is highly criticized in the design community due to its immoral and undesirable nature. Consider the agony that a Web designer goes through when all his hard work is dumped just because other designer had an edge over his work. With a chance of being rejected and end up getting no money, a designer wastes his time and effort, above all his efforts ends up in a Graveyard.
What can be Done?
Do we leave these rejected designs to be perished in the timeline? Well, those of you who are smart enough will never do that, which is why I would suggest these:
Reuse them, Renovate them and Improve them
I can understand the feeling when all of a sudden all the hard work goes in vain but fear not, you always have the choice to reuse them. That’s right! Who said improvement is not bliss! All the design work that never made it to a website can be improved in a manner that your future projects do make the best of it. Even I have seen many designers introducing variations in buttons and other design elements and using the same on other designs. Trust me it does workJ
Reusing the entire design in a different way is also a good way of preventing wastage of useful and magnificent designs. This is easily possible in case of custom web design services, wherein designs are presented strictly as per the business needs and requirements of a client. Reusing unused designs will not just save precious production time but will also speed up the process of altering a design as per the expectation of your valued client.
Caution: There can be certain subsets in a design that can’t be reused to be careful of that too!
Let them Shine
Graveyard is a place on your computer or a laptop where you are keeping all the rejected or unused designs. The best way of utilizing the graveyard designs would be to keep them in display of the viewers and this can be done using some influential platforms like Dribbble, Flickr. Etc. Meanwhile maintaining all these wonderful designs in your professional portfolio is also a good option. Let the people see what you are actually capable.
Sometimes you just can’t change the fate
Sometimes there are situations wherein things go out of our hands and we are left with no choice other than to let go of the design. Like for instance, the client just liked the design and purchased the same from you; however, the project was cancelled in between and the design was never used again. The best thing for you to do in this case would be to have that design mentioned in your portfolio for a short while. I agree that a design not just purely technical but a combination of hard work and smart work of a designer, which is why whenever a design is rejected it’s a tough pill to swallow.
I hope my article inspires many to use designs effectively and to strategize the way in which rejections are dealt with in the future.