Design By Committee: A Scary Concept


Design by Committee is a frightening thing to think about when trying to build an online brand. With too many “cooks in the kitchen” a website can turn into a virtual house of mirrors before it even goes live! Of course it is perfectly natural for anyone to enjoy giving their input on what they like/dislike about art. It’s how museums like MOMA and the MET stay open! Everyone’s a critic. However, it’s important to remember that opinions are like navels, everybody has one.

In some cases, the input provided by the member of a review board can be helpful to the design process. More often, however, the comments are self-motivated and will take away from the design instead of adding to it.

Example 1: Wendy (Committee member #5) doesn’t like the color Red. This doesn’t mean that Red is wrong for the design. It’s simply Wendy’s opinion. While Wendy may have been working at the company for 10 years and has plenty of experience in her field, she may not have a background in advertising and design that would tell her that red happens to be the perfect color to attract the target audience and help them relate to her brand.

Example 2: Jack (Committee member #3) doesn’t like cartoons. He stopped watching them when he turned 7 years old as a way of declaring his young adulthood. This doesn’t necessarily mean that an animated mascot is wrong for his target audience. After all, there are plenty of illustrative company representatives that target adults!

The more people reviewing a design-in-process means there will need to be more room for egos and limits. In order to have a truly successful website, you have to push the limits. (We do not recommend actually pushing committee members) In fact, we are recommending having no more than 2 (total) people reviewing a website design. This will keep the motivation of the design team high and the time line moving quickly!

The most imporatnt thing to remember is that when a site is launched, the design will be a part of the user experience. Users will not be interested in critiquing the tiny details of the design. They’re just there to get information and/or make a purchase!

Wikipedia’s Definition of Design By Committee

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