Designers’ Ego: Controlling Your Art Online

All designers have an ego. Maybe it comes from seeing your work flash by on a subway or hoisted 20 stories up in Times Square, but whatever the cause, it’s not changing anytime soon. And whether it’s a healthy dose or a little over-inflated, our egos generally don’t appreciate it when people mess with our stuff. We make choices, we want them respected and when we send a Broadway marquee off to the printer or submit a print ad to The New York Times, we can rest assured that they’ll be honored.

But all that goes out the window on the web, where people override our stylesheets, substitute our fonts and squeeze our work into horribly disproportionate layouts, all without blinking an eye at the silent deflation of our massive egos. Your work is going to be pinched, prodded and turned on its head – so deal with it. You have to stop thinking of it as people messing with it and start thinking of it as them playing with it.

With the advent of HTML5 and CSS3, designers are being given new tools to control what each visitor will twist our work into. Got a must-use typeface? Embed it with @font-face. Mobile-dominated demographic? Media queries have you covered from iPads to iPhones, whether they’re in portrait or landscape. Tired of clunky doctype declarations? Switch to the HTML5 version like Google. We’re just scratching the surface of what’s already out there, and what’s coming in the final release promises to be even better.

The people want to play, so do what you can to let them play.