A Time To Shine


The "wet floor" look has been around for ages. A trend, which died, then came back, then died and is now back. It seems to me that it will always be around either lurking in the shadows or being paraded in the limelight. It gives depth, class, and interest to any design if produced effectively. It gives a design that "apple", glossy look which has been developed into the style we currently call "Web 2.0". It is also an extension of the "3d" styles, which we are starting to see a lot of.

However we pose the question. As a graphic element what does it bring to the page apart from athletic qualities? Does it enforce any key messages? Does it fit in with the theme of the site? Why use something if you are just using it for the "sake of it"?

I personally feel that this style does occasionally help to enforce key messages. For example if you were selling floor polishers it helps to enforce the message of the product you are selling. If you are an artist the effect may help to give the feel of a high-class gallery. If you were a hotel it may help you to depict the shininess of the floor at your vicinity. Etc, etc, etc.

However if you are a reclaimed stone reseller then I doubt a shiny floor will help you sell more stone. If you are a forestry commission I doubt that it will help you with your messaging. If you are a charity helping homeless children again if you use the effect then why would it help you?

The point I'm attempting to make is there is a time to shine and a time not to shine.

I'm not a fan of using styles "for the sake of it" as a graphic designer I believe we must use styles, elements and layouts for reasons. Purpose is what distinguishes a professional form an amateur.

So, over to you - when is it the right time to shine?

Comments

My audience doesn't care about wet floors, they want good content. Good content will outshine any wet floor look.

Design and content, I believe, go hand in hand. If the site looks terrible then nobody will read it. If the site looks good but when you start to read the content you find it's lowsey you find something else. The wet floor look is a design related element and can help to entice the user to read that important content...

I totally agree with Matt here.

Good design + good design + good code = a great website.

I totally agree with Matt here.

Good content + good design + good code = a great website.

My wife would argue that theres always a time to shine, but thats cause she believes "shiny" is a colour, it's her favourite. But the wet, reflective look you're talking about like anything in life, should only be used when it makes sense to do so. As designers we have a responsibility to design appropriately. you'd fast be tarred & feathered if you constantly did things just cause they were in. Use your head, keep up with trends, but only use them if they fit the overall picture.

I kind of like the way adobe(http://www.adobe.com/creativelicense/) has gone crazy with the wet floors with nice gradients, gives a lot of depth especially when showcasing 3d objects. Its nice eye candy at times.

Strange you talk about graphics and a look but don't offer any visual examples. Leaves me guessing exactly what you are talking about. A blog about graphic examples might of been a good place to shine, if you think about it.
Now I'm off to http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/dailysucker/ to look at some real ugly design. Oops looks like they don't have any graphics in their posts either(but there are plenty of links to click), Guess I'm just not in the mood for more blog reading this morning, it's saturday after all.