Before starting my own business, I used to work in an agency setting. That agency had lots of big, corporate clients. There were several guidelines and rules that we followed, because they were the “industry standard” rules. Logo, top left. Search, top right. Search button says “go.” Two column layout. Two–or at most–three colors used in the design. Light colored backgrounds with dark text. Navigation bar along the top.
I saw so much “corporate blue” that my head was going to explode.
My work started looking like crap. I was not invested in it. I was not passionate about it. I pretty much just had a photoshop template that I could swap out the logo.
When designing the first rendition of my own company’s website, I purposely set out to break as many of those rules as I possibly could. Logo, bottom right. Search? Screw that. Colors? ALL OF THEM! Dark brown background behind white/off-white text. Navigation bar? Why don’t we put that in a circular shape in the corner! Because why not? (And come to think of it, this was not the first time I made a “rebellion” website design. But that’s a blog post for another time)
Did all of these design experiments work? Eh, not really. But you know what? It re-ignited my passion for my work. It broke me out of that corporate box and made me like what I was creating again. It also set the stage for my own style of work. Which ended up pulling in clients who were along the same “design wavelength” as I was.
So what rules are you gonna break next?