We returned to the office in the middle of the night. Our minds were spinning after a cross-country trip to visit a new, high end client.

Still buzzing from copious quantities of caffeine, the solution to our problem hit.

You see, earlier our team was busy wrangling a great deal of information that our new client wanted to develop. It’s a situation web designers face fairly regularly: client wants feature this, this and this. Design requires feature that, that, and that.

And let’s be honest, your first meeting with a client can be an exciting endeavor. Hi’s and bye’s, handshakes, concepts flying around the room and sometimes even lunch.

Web designers love new projects; but the only thing more exciting than those is lunch.

As such, in all the excitement, we had agreed on certain goals. Chiefly, to engage our client’s fans and to keep them on the new site for as long as possible.

Initially, this created a flurry of features to implement: social, content categories, maybe some advertisement. It all seemed reasonable and would fit well on a sidebar—like you would find on most websites.

We left the meeting singing the tune of a new build! But before we got back, the needle had fallen off our record.

“Wait a second,” we thought, “All of these features are great but they’re going to make the site look like everyone else.”

Whoa there. That was a bad sign. Looking like everyone else is not what we are about. And it’s also not high end web design design.

If you want to go high end, you’ve got to stop thinking about what to build and start thinking about what not to build. Tweet This

In our late-night, coffee-fueled daze we remembered what was most important to this site—engaging our client’s fans. Then, we thought about the website’s biggest asset. It wasn’t advertising or calendars or even social media feeds. No, this site’s biggest asset was our client. It was his content.

Blogs, videos, galleries. These were all engaging to fans and needed to be presented cleanly, with no distractions.

The next day we made a call across country to present our discovery. And you know what? He loved it.

High end design reminds us of a quote from advertising legend David Ogilvy:

“A good advertisement is one which draws attention to the product without drawing attention to itself.”

It’s a lesson that web designers can take to heart. After all, many websites are basically interactive advertisements for a brand or service. Widgets for the sake of widgets. Menus for the sake of menus. These are all things which draw attention to your website and not your product.

At Metal Potato, we build most of our websites on WordPress. Sometimes, that process starts with a template. It saves time for us and money for our clients. But if you’re a web designer and you’re doing that we’d like to offer you a word of caution: it’s okay to take the bones of a template, but give it your own essence.

Give that template a spirit, a life of it’s own. Match that spirit with your client’s content, present it all cleanly and you just might find yourself with a “high end” design.