I work in an uninspiring, grey cubicle in a conservative really big corporation as my day job (by night I fight crime. That’s why I lift weights). Being a web designer in such an environment gives you plenty of challenges when your team is itching to do something cool and engaging for the employees but the powers-that-be upstairs insist on keeping it business-like and conservative (ugly, confusing and boring).

There really is no room for creativity.

…or is there?

If you find yourself in this situation (and I’m sure you have and you will!) my advice is it’s best to be creative with what you’ve got.

That is the challenge I like. How to take something lifeless like a bunch of text and boxes and give it character so it becomes appealing enough to be read on screen when people only want sound bites. I create micro-sites for the corporate intranet and external website which have design standards which leave little for creativity and hardly any customization.

You’d be amazed at how the right graphic with a fade out can breathe life to a page. Add some coloured headings to make sections pretty obvious, and maybe you won’t even need to bother with the font.

An advantage to designing websites for the non-design corporate environment is most of the employees won’t even know bad design when they see it! Not only is it perfect for those last-minute projects which need to be done by yesterday, but you don’t have to do too much to put some pizazz to boring documents. Really, the purpose of the site is to provide information. Not to showcase how much of a design genius you are.

So, when you design for something boring, make sure the original intent is still there and information is really easy to find and absorb no matter how much corporate speak is contained therin.

[tags]design, creativity, web design, information architecture[/tags]