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Web design rules that can be broken

Web design has crafted its own set of rules, many of which have been crafted for a reason. That reason being the users experience. There is however, some web designers that dare to be different and break the mould when the spirit of inspiration or design calls for it.

Do not have a horizontal bar. We all know that mouse wheels do not run from left to right, so the rule has developed that content is shown on a page and never steps outside of this, at least left or right anyway. The logic is clear as the web rules are easy to follow and designed for users. Take a look at these websites however, as they have stepped outside the box on this one, and shown us a new way.



Use a minimal number of font faces. This rule came about to keep web designs clean. Too many kinds of fonts made web design a little unfocused, and research showed that users preferred just having a few fonts rather than thirty or so. As all rules they are meant to be broken, so take a look at this.




Do not use too many colors. Professionals push the boundaries of design, and many do it by breaking this rule. When it works, the design is a delight. When it doesn’t it is a bit of a mess, but we wont talk about that for now.



Make the goal of your site obvious. This is a rule that is enforced among the web design community. Good reason again, but if you’re a small outfit, maybe you can use the element of intrigue to hook the user? Take a look



Navigation should be obvious. Another hard and fast rule and one that is there to be broken. The following designs show what can happen if you break this rule, and instead of using easy navigation you use intriguing design.



Use different colors for background and text. Doesn’t always have to be this way, as a little imagination goes along way. Don’t be afraid at experimenting in breaking this rule



Animation should never get in the way of content. Well it can be if the design fits it. Don’t put flash boxes or pop ups all over the place though. A little spider is enough


Stick to web safe fonts. Though the idea is still in its infancy a few sites are now using fonts that were not considered web safe. It should be noted that until the site downloads completely, fonts may be shown differently to how the designer intended.



Don’t have a splash/landing page. The reason you don’t have one is that Google doesn’t like it. They don’t really pull through on search engines, so indexing the site is that bit harder. They can look amazing though, so if the site your designing is not going to benefit from Google searches, then it could be an option.



The key to breaking the rules or if you prefer when it is ok to break the rules, is largely when the design calls for it. The designs featured here are bespoke, and obviously the creator was not afraid to take a risk.

How far you would get with a client and some of these designs remains to be seen. How you pitched the design I feel, would make all the difference.

Just a quick word in favour of the rules, they do by and large serve you well in web design, but like in all things design, do not be afraid to think outside the box.

8 Responses to “Web design rules that can be broken”
  1. Eva Maple

    Experiment, play around a bit. Just don’t overdo it.

  2. Bobrow Lux

    These are informative tips what to avoid and what to promote. Thank you to the author.

  3. Earl

    Yes, always think outside the box. Dare to defy convention. What doesn’t work for others may work perfectly for you.

  4. Peppler Ditto

    I am a reader that loves being minimalist. I love the content most than the appearance of a website. I hope designers will note that.

  5. Eugene

    This is when the saying “rules are meant to be broken” becomes appropriate.

  6. Space Oddball

    You’re right about everything here. Always think outside the box and don’t be afraid to experiment.

  7. Raybuck

    When you build your own site, it reflects your personality. Therefore, any clutter would mean something negative. Why not stick to the basic and follow the rules or pointers indicated herein.

  8. Lasserre

    Too many fonts give users confusions and sometimes just leave your sites then. Have just one or atleast two. Users love those that are nice in the eyes.

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