Every web page is speaking to us at both a conscious and an unconscious level. Good graphic design just gets the right message across. It's an art and a skillÂ that I possess only up to a point. I charge accordingly. That being said, I have often been unimpressed with the work of some graphic design firms who charge more for a logo than I do for a complete website.
The other side of the coin is that many good graphic designers know next to nothing about web design. There is no shortage of professional-looking web sites which have been rendered virtually useless because the designer has used, for example, an image-based or, worse-still, a Flash-based method of building the site.Â In some cases, the page source (which is what the search engines actually read) gives no indication as to what the site is about.Â Good graphic design must never be at the expense of good Search Engine Optimisation.
Most Masonhost clients expect a package, graphic design being rather taken for granted as "part of the job." It depends upon your own priorities and, of course, your budget but, where a very high standard of graphic design is essential i.e. if your business web site needs "art" as opposed to wallpaper and paint, I much prefer to work in tandem with a professional graphic designer to achieve and maintain that standard throughout the site. Obviously the finished quality of the site is reflected in the cost but, as with search engine optimisation, high-quality graphic design represents a high-quality investment.
Web sites require a slightly constrained approach to image presentation, the main limiting factor being the download speed of visitors' internet connections. There generally has to be an element of compromise between image quality and the time it will take to download each image. If a page takes too long to load, visitors can be expected to move on to another web site. Images intended for your web site will generally require to be re-sized, converted to an appropriate format (usually jpg or gif) and compressed, to minimize the download time without any visible loss of quality.
Where a large number of images are involved and where image dimensions are constant, images can be batch-processed. In the case of e-commerce web sites where the client generally takes over the business of uploading new images to the site, a user-friendly facility for (fixed dimension) batch-processing will usually be provided.