The Elements of Design

Stumbled across a great article today whilst browsing the world: The writers manifesto (as per E.B. White) applied to graphic/web design. In taking the commandments of good writing and applying it to design many interesting parallels are drawn. As would be expected with any creative process (particularly for a commercial cause), 90% of it is down to the ego, clashes of interest and other human issues unrelated to scripting, layout or other technicalities.

8. Avoid the use of qualifiers.Rather, very, little, pretty—these are the
leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words.

In web
design, the “qualifiers” are often styling. Just because you can create your own
look and feel for a scroll bar doesn’t mean you should. Many of the browser
defaults work quite well; do not overburden your users with your desire to show
off your mastery of CSS.

The article is available here and is a good read whether or not you are a web designer (web design is certainly not my forte, though I dabble). In fact, with enough thought I am pretty sure these rules apply to pretty much any creative system.

Re-reading the original elements of style was also a fairly depressing experience and pointed out each and every one of my shortcomings as a writer. Look, I shouldn’t have even used ‘fairly’ in that last sentence. I suck. Fortunately, I am not a writer, merely somebody who writes…


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