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The Internet and Graphic Design

2021-08-10 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Essay范文

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The role of graphic design on the Internet is significant because the internet becomes an essential communication way for people. Almost every business has their own website on Internet which designed by graphic designer. In addition, more people browse the news through internet instead of newspapers via websites or apps created by graphic designers. This article would like to discuss the relations between the internet and graphic design, especially how some websites’ graphic design has evolved as time goes by and its impacts on consumers.

To begin with, graphic design is essential for the Internet-related businesses because website design can help businesses develop and make users more involved.

Anderson (2017) suggest that many businesses have gone wrong when it comes to hiring graphic designers with a mindset that it is a job that anyone can easily perform. However, excellent graphic design that matches the content requires real professionals who understand the client’s needs and it may even affect the business’s survival rate (Anderson, 2017).  

A good design can help a business to develop its brand, expand its profits, and become more notable via clients. For e-businesses, because all of their service or products are provided online, graphic design becomes more crucial for them to stand out. One creative director says that graphic design ‘gives businesses a face, a character almost, and a personality that people can respond to’ (Anderson, 2017, p. 22), and that fits perfectly in the situation of e-businesses.

Li (1998) researched on three American newspapers to discover the link between graphic use and website design, discovering that there are certain patterns when it comes to the arrangement of graphics for traditional media.  Unlike other websites, graphics of online newspaper mainly appear on the head page of its website (Li, 1998). Meanwhile, the graphic use of printed newspaper and that of Internet newspaper are not drastically different – both tend to use small graphics rather than large ones (Li, 1998). Such results can be quite unexpected, for most of us expect that technology and the Internet have changed the way media presents to the public. However, the study reveal that the core arrangement of online newspapers is gradually  changing from audience expectation to an interactive environment – that the audiences are more involved in a digital world which enables them to interact and affect the process of production more than before (Li, 1998).

What is more, graphic design also has an important role in web-based environment for instructions or processes, which is the key in using a certain website.

Graphic design is becoming more and more important in presenting ideas and showing instructions in a web-based environment. Unlike books or newspapers where graphics only exists on covers or illustration pages and text is the major role, the internet requires its information to stand out as much as possible.

In instructional education, one researcher discovered that graphic design can be used in real-times trainings and courses with drawings, flow-charts, and animated objects(Armstrong 2007). In her research, she listed some examples of an employee certification process’s instruction that was enhanced by graphic design.  Two cases that it mentioned are quite notable. The first example allowed the artist to link the responsibilities on the left with graphics on the right, making the motion of ‘selecting the responsibilities’ more approachable and easy to understand for its users (see fig. 1).  Another example that represents the impact of graphic design on the information technology is the animated graphics of a circle that runs endlessly which shows vividly how a feedback cycle works(Armstrong 2007). What is more, the colors of the circle changes as the arrow rolls across each phase, showing the motion and allowing viewers to deepen their understanding on the process (see fig. 2).  

There are many elements of graphic design on websites that have major impacts on consumer perceptions, their willingness to browse the site, and the return rate to the website (Cyr, Head, & Larios, 2009). In order to attract more customers, maximize their profits, and promote their services or products, businesses are constantly looking for effective website design(Cebi 2013).

Amazon.com is now an online e-commerce marketplace where consumers can purchase merchants and ship them to a certain address. There are more than 10,000 SKUs in Amazon.com and consumers can find their desired products through the front page. This requires appropriate graphic design to help navigate consumers and display other products they might be interested in.

The very first version of Amazon .com (1999) was a presentation of an online bookstore (see fig.3). Similar to other earlier websites, Amazon started off with an HTML text based design for its website. We can see that the logo was old, and there was literally no graphic design besides the picture of the logo. However, from the very beginning, Amazon sticks to its motto ‘put your customers first’(Cooper 2016). Despite the form of design and graphic use that have changed over the years, Amazon’s website has always been designed to satisfy and attract its customers.

After the very first version, another earlier web page design of Amazon.com is as below (see fig 4). This version of graphic design had many deficiencies. The front page mainly contains two colors – white and blue – which make the website look simple yet plain. However, choosing marine blue as its major color scheme has certain benefits for AmazonAccording to a study, the North American culture tends to view the color blue positively in terms of aesthetic, affective, functional, and harmony (Cyr, Head and Larios 2009). That is possible why Amazon sticks to the color scheme over all these years. Another problem is that the use of graphics is limited to the center of the page, and all the navigation buttons and categories are verbal fonts. The search column in the old version of Amazon.com is on the left side of the page, which is quite small and not identifiable. Although the color is bright orange, which can stand out among the blue and white overall design, the size of the search column is not big enough. In the middle of the front page, there is a current event of sales going on, and the picture only takes up to 1/3 of the whole area. This leaves a large portion of white background and the whole design makes the website looks empty and dull. Meanwhile, the head column that contains all kinds of different merchants on the top of the page is too narrow and disproportional – the blank space on both ends looks extremely awkward. On the other hand, this earlier version of Amazon.com applied the font of Arial Black. This font help makes the website clear and easy to navigate.

At around year 2012-2014, Amazon once again improved its website’s graphic design (see fig 5). This time it expanded the navigation bar on the top to match the content below, and all categories were clearly listed on the left hand side. In contrast to the last version, the search bar is now bigger and centered on the website, which enabled the users to find what they might be interested in. The main color use of the website remained to be orange and marine blue, while graphic use expanded on the front page. Unlike the last version, this time it added recommendations of books and several ads to enhance the user’s experience and promote sales.

The latest version of today’s Amazon is as below (see fig 6). Similar to all other internet companies, Amazon adopted the latest approach when it comes to graphic design – simplicity with graphics that matches the tone. The orange color that used to represent the company has now been deducted to only a tiny amount, almost invisible on its front page. Instead of the marine blue, Amazon applies a dark blue color on the navigation image as well as around the search bar. More importantly, its algorithm works and all the recommended merchants on the front page now match the theme color.  

In sum, graphics and graphic designs, if applied strategically, can really enhance the user’s experiences and understanding of web contents. This is mainly due to the fact that graphics contain position, color, shape, and representations which can help to connect the verbal or written contexts and deliver value and effectiveness(Armstrong 2007). The internet, which is nowadays the most widely used tool for organizations to reach their customers, has experienced an obvious evolvement of graphic design. From the earliest version of plain text and html pixels to the latest well-perceived upgrade with same-schemed graphics, B2C websites relies more and more heavily on visual contents and design methodologies to stand out among fierce competition.  Amazon is a great example of how graphic design evolved over the years, and its latest design of official page is quite impressive, functional, and aesthetic.

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