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Author Topic: Web design is fashion design ?? Your thoughts on self expression online?  (Read 2432 times)
Melooon
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« on: March 26, 2022 @665.49 »

So in angel's welcome topic there was a mention of fashion, and I commented that I find web design a lot like fashion design.

Iv been thinking about that some more because this video popped up in my YouTube feed:


Iv always found fashion interesting, even if I'm not actively a participant in it; I've always been interested in the cultural idea of fashion.

Clothing is at its heart a purely utilitarian thing, it exists to keep us warm and safe from the elements; there is no particular need to turn it into an art form, yet people do. Im aware people do this with other things like furniture or architecture, but there's something more personal about clothes and more universal.

You can project that onto websites too; websites are utilitarian, they exist to supply some information; there is no need to turn them into an artform, and yet we do; even if you don't think of your site as art, but do try to style and customize it, then it is art. Likewise, a website is very personal, and it gets more personal the more you do with it.

Both industries of fashion and web design suffer from the same things too. Both try to convince you that you don't have the skill or ability to learn how to make your own and that you should pay a professional to do it for you. I don't plan to start making my own fashion items, but not everyone plans to make their own websites.

From what Iv seen though, the kinds of people who make their own websites, also tend to like to customize other parts of their lives. I think there might be a snowball effect to it, where once you start to define one aspect of yourself you start wanting to define more.

But I'm still drawn back to the idea that web design and fashion are extremely close and perhaps can learn from each other; they have unique styles related to their era, they have patterns and premade templates that help you create them, minor choices within them can say a huge amount about your personality.

Some big questions that I have are, why is designer fashion a huge industry, and why is designer web design almost forgotten? Why does fashion accept colour and intense designs, when web design is so dead set on minimalism? Why do we limit our personal expression online to be created by UX engineers when we (as humans) are so interested in the art of expressing ourselves physically.

I have no answers here, but I think its an interesting discussion and Id love to hear your thoughts on it!
« Last Edit: March 28, 2024 @608.84 by Melooon » Logged


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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2022 @843.31 »

It's indeed an interesting discussion! Interestingly, the minimalism isn't just a web design thing, you see it in architecture too (for example). I also think that the fashion industry is divided by "artsy" fashion and clothes that you wear on the daily, but I don't know anything about fashion design, so I could be wrong...

I think that the whole "you can't do this yourself, please pay to use our service" is simply a product of capitalism. The moment something stops being an expression of oneself (even if it's monetized) and begins to focus solely on gaining the most revenue, the ethics kind of fall to the side. If getting people to think they can't learn how to code themselves gets CEOs more money, a bunch of them will do it for sure.

Not to say that pre-built sites are necessarily a bad thing. Lots of people like to dunk on Tumblr but they have the perfect blend of social-media-like interaction and customization, with the ability to make a theme yourself and all.

Tangent aside, I believe a lot of people simply don't know how to express themselves, be it through websites, fashion, or anything- everything they do is the trend in that specific area. This is noticeable in a lot of social media, actually: the way a lot of Twitter users customize their profiles looks dreadfully repetitive. Same with their Carrd pages, DNI lists... they're just following trends, even if they don't realize it.

I don't really know why this happens. As for why there seems to be more acceptance of bold designs in fashion, I think it's because it's a larger niche than creating websites, so there are naturally more trends- every fashion subculture has its specific faux pas, if I'm recalling correctly.

Dunno how insightful this reply is, but hey. I love thinking about human nature and art, so I had to respond, ahah.

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di
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2022 @140.46 »

I am also really interested in fashion history, so this is very fun to think about

When it comes to my choice in clothes, I'm all about cultivating a personal style over following trends. :cheesy: We can apply that sort of thinking to websites.

I definitely see many modern websites following the minimalist trend. My local bakery's website - in fact, all the bakeries in my area that I can think of - have those sleek, minimalist designs. Yeah, there are photos of the sweets, but wouldn't it be so much more fun if the bakery site had a nice, homey feel to it? Or if the, I dunno (just pulling an example out of my butt here), GameStop site used a nice pixel font and had some arcade/joystick flair to it, instead of looking like basically any other shopping site? They don't have to go crazy, but a bit of style would be cool. This site does a good job with having some style and flair, while also clearly still being a business site.


Why does fashion accept colour and intense designs, when webdesign is so dead set on minimalism? Why do we limit our personal expression online to be created by UX engineers when we (as humans) are so interested in the art of expressing ourselves physically.

I think this is because websites are often used, and thought of, as a utilitarian medium for communication. I study tech and professional communication; being minimal and concise is often the clearest way to get a message across to as many people as possible. (Case in point.)

However! It's not the only way. Often times, you want to cater your message to a specific audience. For example, Lissa Explains It All is a site full of technical information, yet it's catered towards kids. The design is playful, loud, non-serious. Not all technical communication has to look or sound boring and minimal.

Also, because most people consider the internet just as a way of communication (to find answers, do some professional stuff, & seek out specific content like an endless digital library), they don't really think of websites as being "art." This is something I was musing on - how we rarely think of digital things as being cozy and folksy, yet the "vernacular web" is exactly that. It's a matter of perspective.

Not to over-philosophize... but it reminds me of the way my nerdy guy friends wear nothing but baggy sweatpants and t-shirts. They never dress up, and they don't understand why I like to; they see their bodies as utilitarian, while as a woman, I was always raised to see myself as a work of art. Not to generalize though - it's also a matter of personal aesthetics and preferences.

Now that I'm sensitive to websites as art, the whole clickbait-y, cookie pop-up, disable-your-ad-block annoys me so much more now, LOL.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2022 @149.26 by di » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2022 @744.14 »



I would absolutely agree that making a website (especially a personal one) is fashion! I was writing something about my early web experiences yesterday, and I realized that changing my MySpace layout was pretty much the equivalent to "dying my hair". Especially for personal websites, how our websites look often reflects the type of person we are and what we are into.

In fact, I'd even argue that website fashion is so much better than actual fashion because it's more accessible! No matter how much money you have for clothes or what your body type is, it's possible to customize a website in a way that reflects who you are, in an act of self-expression, the same as us changing our clothes, dying our hair or putting on makeup.
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2022 @811.86 »

I think this is because websites are often used, and thought of, as a utilitarian medium for communication. I study tech and professional communication; being minimal and concise is often the clearest way to get a message across to as many people as possible. (Case in point.)

I think this is a good point, actually! I feel like people forget that art is a form of communication though, it's just a matter of how clear you want the message to be. Professional communication is a very cool thing to be into, by the way :omg: Sounds so freaking useful nowadays.

Overall, your reply to this topic was pretty insightful, I'm glad I read it. :4u:

Not to over-philosophize... but it reminds me of the way my nerdy guy friends wear nothing but baggy sweatpants and t-shirts.

I do this, whoops! :omg:k:

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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2022 @840.38 »

I feel like people forget that art is a form of communication though, it's just a matter of how clear you want the message to be.

Hell yeah! Such a great quote

Once I have time to get it started, I'm actually planning on making my site's "About Me" very vague, with artifacts of myself rather than a description. Lol


Not to over-philosophize... but it reminds me of the way my nerdy guy friends wear nothing but baggy sweatpants and t-shirts.

I do this, whoops! :omg:k:

I'm worried if what I wrote sounds mean or judgey, re-reading it! :ohdear: It's a valid and comfy style choice and, to clarify, I meant "nerdy" in an affectionate way.

What I was trying to get at with that, is the perception of what our body can be affects how we dress it. Our perception of what a website can be affects how we style it.


I'd even argue that website fashion is so much better than actual fashion because it's more accessible! No matter how much money you have for clothes or what your body type is, it's possible to customize a website in a way that reflects who you are, in an act of self-expression, the same as us changing our clothes, dying our hair or putting on makeup.

So true. I can see how someone experimenting with aesthetics that bring them joy in virtual reality can help them sort out their own reality. Anonymity helps too. You can really take back power in how you are perceived over the internet. At least, more than real life.
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2022 @937.19 »

Why does fashion accept colour and intense designs, when webdesign is so dead set on minimalism?

Maybe consider the problem of limited bandwith. The website has to display properly on a small mobile phone screen over a slow wireless connection.
What would be the equivalent to that in fashion design...try to fit in a victorian dress through a slim door? How impractical!

But that doesn't affect colours in any way, like colour in websites doesn't have to affect bandwith either!

And the design philosophies change every decade. Let's say... simple buttons on webpages. Mid-2000s were "transparent", Windows Vista like. Mid-90s was blocky, low-color, sharp edged design. And now we have to endure what Windows 8 brought here, single-coloured squares. Easy to hit with big fingers on the smartphone screen. *slow clap* Can't wait for the next era, maybe minimalism is just a trend.
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« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2022 @76.62 »

As someone who loves webdesign and is also on their way to start participating in the fashion and clothing industry and was interested in graphic design at one point (which in industry has a ton of overlap with web design) i find this parrellel really interesting.

Fashion industry is one hell of a mess in many ways but honestly. I think people have in their heads seperated the internet, and the place where people create stuff on the internet, two seperate things. People are so used to social media that they dont consider the wider internet to be a place they are able to inhabit which is partially why web design gets boiled down to stale business design.

Its harder to seperate into those rigid boxes of business and art because the entire industry hinges on art. They use bright colors and snappy trends in the same way web ads use buzz words. But unfortunately, the biggest similarity between the environments of indie web design and indie fashion is that actually hand made products are dying out. The idea of couture which was the most "highly" considered form of this has become so unprofitable that there are few designers left.

We have commodified two incredibly wide and expansive mediums of art to be nothing but the commodity and in turn it makes it more difficult for artists to use said medium. But thats just capitalism.

Diving more into the design aspect of it. Like i mentioned earlier a lot of fashion tries to be very eye catchy because sometimes it has to be. There is everyday clothes but then there are companies that make more of their money by selling you the trend then selling you the item if you know what i mean.

Where as in webdesign its not very often that they have to do the same thing. This is excluding social media mostly because its an integral aspect of that trend machine. Static web design doesnt have to sell you an item they (usually) want to get you too see it as?professional and clean. Maybe even playing into visual respectability.

Idk tangent aside its really interesting that that overlap is there and how we can use that when thinking about design as a whole
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2022 @450.35 »

^^ This is super insightful :dl:
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2023 @609.63 »

i didn’t think of web design this way before but hearing it you’re totally right. they are really similar actually.

i think maybe this push for minimalism in web design could have something. to do with websites both personal and corporate being thought of as places. they’re sites on the web. and this same plague of white, grey, and no fun geometric shapes can also be seen in interior design and architecture of this era. the obsession with widest possible appeal and marketability has seeped into the web from that world.
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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2023 @158.44 »

I think this is because websites are often used, and thought of, as a utilitarian medium for communication. I study tech and professional communication; being minimal and concise is often the clearest way to get a message across to as many people as possible.
Nail on the head! :ha: Professionalism exists to be highly accessible, inoffensive, and efficient. Minimalism almost seems like the inevitable choice here.

It's even efficient in ways you don't see, as it makes it to where the people or tools they're paying for to create (and more importantly, to maintain) their sites don't have to put energy into any unique design principles. They just have to learn one way to do things, then they're more or less good to go for the entire industry. It's less load on the worker, it's less load on the business, it doesn't lock people into specific quirky things that they've created, all the same reasons businesses standardize a lot of their processes, even physical processes like manufacturing.

If there's already a factory that makes this type of screw and has all the infrastructure needed to do so, a business typically doesn't create their own unique type of screw that requires an entirely new process that's harder to find & harder to maintain. They just design their product around the type of screw that exists. That's basically business site design. They know that people in the industry are able to work with this, so if their designer leaves the job, the next designer is the exact same. In that way, it also lowers risk to the business. The screws are interchangeable, so if one falls out, the next one slots right back in.



Now, while this all serves as a higher-resolution justification for why BUSINESSES follow this design pattern, it also sort of answers why people's own personal pages wouldn't follow this as a basic principle. The minimalist design is optimized for OTHER people to work on the code. A personal page is just that: personal. If another person works on it, it becomes INTERpersonal, and if it doesn't matter WHO works on it as long as they get it done, it's IMpersonal. Business pages are impersonal pages, and your page is handcrafted.

It's their meal bar against your homemade dish, and while people might even agree that your homemade dish is superior, it's not something that people are able to buy into, because your personal cooking can't be made accessible on large scales quite so easily.

To bring it back to fashion, that's your key difference. A Web designer for a business is replaceable, both for the sake of the business and for the sake of the designer, as they're not being locked into one another. A fashion designer is NOT replaceable, as nobody else has to come along & maintain their clothes after they put them out, which is our operative difference between designer clothing & designer Web pages.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2023 @166.06 by kallistero » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2023 @620.49 »

I like what Kallistero said, so I'm going to echo and build off of that a bit...
The act of creating a website has become very industrialized. Its like a Nike sweatshop, or Shien factory. In order for a web dev, even a freelance one, to make enough to survive, they need to be able to crank out websites as quickly as possible. Now, instead of spending hours and days building the code for each site, tailoring it perfectly to the client, you've gotta get your "fabric" (code base) at at least somewhat pre-fabricated so you can just stitch it together and get it out the door as quickly as possible.

Oh, and look! HTML/CSS in JS" frameworks like React, and pre-made junk like Bootstrap act like industrial grade sewing machines! Now its even faster to crank something out. Who cares if its lacking in character? You/your business should have some sort of web presence, just like you should be wearing underwear in public. That's what we're all told. It doesn't need to be fancy, it just needs to be there. The $500 Chanel underwear is gonna cover the goodies exactly the same as the $3 pair from Walmart, so why spend more? The fancy hand-crafted artesinal website is serving the same job as the $20 (or free) Wordpress template, so why spend more? Basic is fine, and things are already stupid expensive. Its easier than learning to sew or code yourself, even if its more expensive and feeds into the sweatshops, creating this self-perpetuating cycle.

There's also an attitude that I've noticed where a lot of people seem to view websites as almost disposable these days. Sure, there's a few absolute monoliths on the web, but think about all the ones you might come across once and never see again. Its like fast fashion, in that once you consume the content you need/want from the site, you move onto the next one. So why would the webmaster worry about the quality of their site when they just get some drive-by traffic with next to no recurring visitors? Shien knows their clothes are only going to be worn a handful of times before they're no longer useful and end up in the bin, and I think a lot of smaller site owners develop the same attitude, especially with how impermanent the web feels sometimes.
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