Understanding the context, purpose and the audience are the most important aspects when designing. Yes things should always strive to be beautiful, thats almost a given. But designing without context is like designing a visually beautiful website that fails to realise that their audience is blind. You looked at the problem from the wrong point of view. Maybe a website wasn't even right solution to the problem in the first place. Designing something that this blind audience, could touch, feel or smell would be much more appropriate. That’s about understanding the context, purpose and audience.
I’ve had interesting discussions with other designers lately. How sites just aren’t that creative anymore, particularly agency sites. And it makes me wonder if people looking at it from too much of a superficial point of view. That creativity for creativities sake is not really the point. That you don’t need to shout and scream when actually the people you want to speak to actually just want you to simply converse.
For an agency site is the purpose to impress other designers? Or is it to land more work with clients that have more interesting projects with bigger budgets. Is trying to be different with a site a competitive advantage when a perspective client looks in. Or do they not give a shit? I don’t have the answer to that question, but am merely posing the question to be thought about. Maybe the way you explain how you helped other brands launch successful campaigns/products is more important. To say look here we designed this and a million people used it and gave our clients 100x their investment. We can do the same great work for you. Maybe DESIGNING that message is more powerful and important. That’s why the more established you become you don't need to shout or scream anymore. You just have to showcase your track record which is more useful for the intended audience. Design with restraint, without excess and with purpose. I’m not saying don’t have fun or innovate. I’m saying find the right areas to do it so it’s purposeful.
This may not be a popular opinion. But just my own 2cents and thought it’d be fun to share. And do I think designers are artists? NO not in the traditional sense. BUT there is an artistry to what we do. Much like any profession though. If you really give a shit about what you do there will be artistry. A bus driver can exhibit artistry by caring for the people who board his bus. He will say hello, know his passengers names and give a shit about their day, and making sure that they have a smooth ride, that gets them home to their family safely. That is artistry exhibited. Otherwise a robot could take his job.