Love the Grid?

With the general release of The Grid just a few months away, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the future of web design given the amount of tools available today for just this purpose. If you haven’t heard of The Grid yet, it’s a site-building application that will automatically analyze your content and create a site that best delivers this content based on the platforms framework of logic. It will even analyze your photos and color correct, crop using facial recognition, and even place text over them by determining areas of high contrast. It seems like an incredible tool that will make building sites for small businesses and individuals incredibly easy.

And I think that is great by the way.

It’s just a bit concerning that the market for custom designed sites is shrinking as fast as it is. I’ve also noticed several small to medium businesses switch from custom built sites to template based designs in the last year or two. It’s simply getting to the point where the cost of customization doesn’t outweigh the perceived benefits for a lot of people. And really, unless the scope of the project requires some serious information architecture, it’s probably a good move for a lot of companies.

As a designer though, it certainly has me rethinking my skill set and approach. With the delivery of content being made easier each day, should we focus on content creation more than the channel of distribution? Should we focus even MORE on the messaging and audience? Does all this just make us better and force us to adapt, or does it devalue design and make our industry and careers even more difficult to sustain? Regardless, I think it will require that we be more strategic not just with our clients’ brands, but with what skillsets we pursue as well.