The most innovative and valuable ideas are usually handwritten at first. That’s not exactly a news, since most designers have the habit to draw early sketches on paper. Papers and pencils are still important, because web design has many similarities with other design works. Sketches often have things that end-users can’t see such as personal notes and designer’s flow of thoughts.
If web designers want to achieve a unique design, they need to draw it on the paper – or at least a portion of it. In fact, it is performed quite often whether the site uses XHTML or Flash. Hand-drawn elements can convey a personal touch when rounded and colorful Web 2.0 elements flood the Internet. Sometimes designers create the whole site interface only with paper and pencil. Single layout elements are usually designed using special methods; hand-made icons, notes, stickers, curved links and fuzzy lines can give ‘human touch’ to web design. These elements allow a website to stand out and attract users’ curiosity. However, it is necessary to exercise caution when using seemingly good solutions such as installing hand-written fonts, because they can do more harm than good. Examples of website that can use hand-drawn elements effectively are notyouraveragejoe.com, christiansparrow.com and agenciatudo.com.br.
These are possible ways to use hand-written elements in your site:
- Use them to create artistic minimalism
Since illustrators, designers and graphic artists often use hand-drawing, it is usually associated with inspiration and creativity. Hand-drawing is usually used in showcases and portfolios.
- Use them to support the content
You can use hand-drawn doodles to support the main content instead of making them the main element of your design. For example, you can use sketches written on paper as website background. It can work quite well if the sketches don’t intrude the rest of the website elements. When using hand-drawn elements for decorative elements, you may make it more difficult for users to find the main information.
- Combine them with illustrations
Because hand-drawn elements often lack appeal, you can address this shortcoming by using striking visual elements. The result is often colorful, vivid or even wild, but always innovative. Design decisions that involve hand-drawn elements should be considered in a very precise manner, because you can easily make the design less intuitive by trying to make it more appealing. Changes on a single design element can make other elements more difficult to grasp. Skills and restraints are often necessary to maintain the accessibility and the usability of the website.
Hand-drawn elements can make the design more intriguing, unexpected and artistic, while motivating users to explore the whole site. However, to achieve that you need to unify hand-drawn elements with illustration to unify them into single design elements.
- Use them to deliver messages
This factor is more apparent on Web 2.0 designs. Savvy designers can use hand-drawn elements to make it easier for potential buyers and clients to get the idea behind the products and services. This work quite well both in print and web design. Hand-drawn elements can also give more informal, emotional and personal touches to the website.
- Take them to extreme
Many designers want to entice, shock or impress the users to create a lasting positive impression. While there are many methods to achieve this, a unique design style is certainly one of them. You should use styles that can deliver artistic side of your design extremely well. Of course, you need to make sure the design is still usable and the website is still accessible for most users. Unlike other Web professionals, Web designers are also artists and a good designer should try to be one. And as such, some designers always seek to challenge users’ creativity, explore their imagination and take radical design decisions. However, designers should remember that the approach may fail sometimes.