When was the last time you saw a website that didn’t have a huge image fitting to the screen with some giant text overlaid on it?
Scroll down a little and you’ll be greeted with either another full width panel, this time a solid colour with centred text sat in it, or a bank of 3 columns with icons sat above them. Websites are all blending into one.
I guess the first question is why, why has one style swept across the web design world and been implemented across so many websites? I’ve thought and thought about this and never really come up with a single answer. Initially I looked at the huge theme market that exists where creators sell their themes to any number of customers. The theme market is massive, and as a result creators mimic the best selling work in an effort to make more money. You’re not going to make a lot of money in the theme market by going out on a limb and creating something incredibly unique and personalised. Generic wins out every time.
Simplicity I believe plays another part. It’s a very simple style to both design and develop. You’re not having to dig deep into graphics software to learn how to centre a paragraph of text on a big block of colour. Likewise when it comes to developing. It’s an achievable style, anyone can do it.
They style itself is now so mainstream that clients ask for it. It’s happened to me, more than once. I’ve created sites that follow the formula. This surely is another reason. If clients are seeing a lot of sites that are the same style, it’s causing them to ask for it. It’s a bold business owner that will take a risk. It shouldn’t be, but it is.
Design Agencies Are Guilty Too
What baffles me though is that it’s actually design and digital agencies that are the worst for over using the style for their own websites. Design agencies don’t need to use Wordpress themes to create their websites. They don’t need to worry about technical capabilities and they are their own client when it comes to building their own website. They should be the very ones pushing things and taking a chance on something new.
At times I think back to when websites were produced in Flash. For all its downfalls (and there were a lot) one thing was always true. Flash sites rarely looked the same.
*Note – I wrote a little bit about the bizarre popularity of this post…