Have we reached the end of original design layouts?


I’m a bit of a movie buff. When I was younger, it was common for me to watch 3-4 new movies at the theatre on a weekend. After a while started to regularly recognize plots from older movies in what I was watching.

In some cases it didn’t have a negative impact on my enjoyment of the movie, it’s the journey not the destination that counts, after all there are only so many stories worth telling. Some are updated to use new technologies, but the basic outline remain the same.

When I look at designs, I’m increasingly seeing older designs in them. It’s no secret that “Good artists copy, great artists steal” (Picaso), but even when someone tries to create something original, I still end up seeing something I’ve seen before.

Perhaps it’s just my mind playing tricks on me, but maybe we’ve have arrived at a place of good design principles, that lead people independently to produce the same results. Yes logos changes, colors changes, but the overall design layout and interactions remain the same.

For the same reason that many new cars look very similar, websites are starting to look very similar. Is this a bad thing? No.

Non-technical people complain to me all the time that things on websites are so different, “Why can’t the login link be in the same place for all websites?”, is a common question.

We all want a unique design to help us stand out from the millions of other websites, but is that desire hurting the user experience for your website and the web at large?

I’d love to know the thoughts of other designers…

About Mubashar Iqbal

Mubashar Iqbal is the creator of Most Inspired, a web designer and developer, who has been building websites for over 13 years. You can read his blog at Mubashar Iqbal
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2 Responses to Have we reached the end of original design layouts?

  1. Liam McKay says:

    In a way, I think the more people copy and re-cycle, the easier it is to stand out.

    I don’t think it’s entirely important to have something that looks new & different, or have something that fits in to what is already out there. Make something that works, and is useful. If it happens to look like everything else out there then you can all pat yourselves on the back.

    Likewise if you make something brand new, enjoy it, but don’t be bitter if other people pick up on your idea and make it work for them. In short, I don’t think it’s something we should worry about, there’s bound to be a lot of sharing/stealing/copying within web design, but there’s still plenty of opportunity to make something totally unique.

  2. Elliot says:

    I think people are just a little bit too settled in about ‘what goes’ and are a little shy to be experimental with their design choices. Not wildly far out or just conforming to everything else though, as Liam rightly points out.

    As a little example, I see more and more people using minimalistic type and these plain & simple, responsive layouts (There’s me viewing and thinking: You’re also using Tisa Web Pro as your paragraph text? Yippee.) and I wonder who threw all the fun out of the window?