Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Sameness Infests The Internet

The world wide web was invented over 30 years ago. Since then, internet design has changed a lot. And not for the better.

Let’s recap.

In the early ‘90s, websites were a wild west of colours, buttons and animations. No website looked alike.

Today, everything looks the same.

The myriad of typefaces has shrunk to two fonts: serif and sans-serif. Sharp corners are sanded down. And layouts are gone.

Even though today’s technologies let us create more radical and evocative websites than ever, we choose to play it safe.

Now, competing sites look like branches of the same company.

Dribble and Behance, two rivals that showcase creative web projects, are interchangeable.

The question is why.

Part of the reason are templates.

Take WordPress, a popular framework for creating websites. Insert buttons, copy and photos into the available slots and you have a working website in minutes.

The trouble with a template is that it works like a mold. Whatever unique content you pour in, you always get the same shape.

Rather than designing a webpage around our content, we force our unique content into a generic webpage. It’s the classic square peg, round hole scenario.

Another reason for the shift in design are trends. 

In the early days, designers were constantly reinventing the wheel. Without anyone to show the way, designers took inspiration from real life. 

Skip forward to now and designers simply copy what successful internet companies have done before. 

To break the aesthetic monoculture, we must rock the boat and drop existing standards of usability and reliability.

Sure, these qualities are crucial to web design. But so is your company’s brand.

If your business is unique, it’s your job to make it look that way.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach