The 10 Skills Needed to Build an Effective Website

By Doug Burton

Skill #3 – Creative/Art Direction

Good creative direction is the heart and soul of an effective website. The Creative/Art Director will likely develop the website’s information architecture (sitemap and wireframes). This person will likely also be the one that defines the look and feel for your website by experimenting with different visual styles (shapes, colors, layouts, images, icons, fonts, etc.). He or she also usually sets the tone of the message, prescribes creative concepts, identifies/sources images or videos to add impact, and may begin the copywriting process by crafting the positioning statement for the campaign. The person may generate the first design proofs (page design samples) for you to review.

This person will assess your existing visual assets (E.g., photos, graphics, videos) and make recommendations on additional assets that might be needed. Does your product need better photography? Would replacing photos with a series of illustrations be more engaging and better convey the message? How can your brand story be crafted to have real impact against every other marketing/advertising message that’s competing for the consumer’s “share of mind?”

The Creative/Art Director should be a creative but strategic thinker. An understanding of effective marketing and positioning techniques is crucial. Perhaps most important, the Creative Director should be able to put himself or herself in the shoes of your target customer. It’s only by understanding your customer’s plight will the Creative Director be able to craft a message that hits home.

SitemapA sitemap is a visual depiction of the various pages and areas of content on the website.

WireframeA wireframe is a blueprint that represents how the areas on each page are to be organized. This can be represented with a basic grid structure that divides the pages by sections, columns, blocks, etc.