On Working With Limitations In Web-Design

The web-design industry has always faced limitations that get designers frustrated as they work around them. Without actually knowing these limitations, you cannot properly design and achieve what you or your client may be after. Therefore, understanding the limitations of the industry and your own limitations can help you expand and work around them and is a key point that cannot be disregarded.

When you think of web-design and what has been achieved already, it becomes difficult to understand whether there are limitations available or not, and what they are that are hindering our abilities that you may not know already. In fact, many designers do not fully understand many of the limitations, but actually work around them indirectly. Let’s cover some limitations that exist today in web-design that hinders our ability of expansion and creativity.

Color Palette

Color Palette
One of the limitations known to web-designers is the use colors whether in images or typography. Colors affect the way our websites appear and what really makes all the content contrast and or make it aesthetically pleasing. However, as web-designers, the color palette we choose must be in a comfort or safe zone for the many affecting elements that can cause our design to be a win or a loss in different situations.

Now we are not just referencing the color limitations of the displays of each device (screen, mobile, etc…), but additionally the many elements users may modify such as brightness and other factors.

For designers, these limitations that hinder our color palette selection do affect the outcome of our designs. For example, going with bright colors for your design may look good on your device or display, but may be too bright under other displays and vice versa. Therefore, when creating the color palette for your designs, make sure you select colors that are flexible and can be exceptional under different displays and brightness.

Limitations in Typography

Typography is like the icing on a cake, without proper typography selection, your website’s appeal may fall to many visitors, making your website less visited than its anticipated potential. However, selecting your favorite typefaces may not work as easy as you thought as each computer or platform varies in typography or font support.

Due to this limitation in font support, many designers have led to performing many workarounds and techniques to dodge it. Most of these techniques involve CSS3, Flash or Javascript, like sIFR, Cufon or some the newer alternatives like @font-face, Typekit and FontDeck.

Some use fallback techniques while others go for the whole nine yards and develop systems that utilize the typography they want by using it directly from the server (@font-face). Whichever method you precede with, it is always good to understand this limitation before proceeding with a solution as many new designers do not actually know this as a limitation, but later on learn it through experience.

Learning the basic limitations as you go along is sometimes not a good method to proceed with as it does affect the outcome of your work in the long run. The key is to learn to adapt around them as you go along in the learning process.

Should We Create Workarounds?


This is a big question that arises in the industry, whether to live with the limitations that exist, or to begin to innovate new workarounds to try to achieve what we are after.

Before actually diving into creating workarounds, it is key to understand many limitations of web-design and or the industry itself, as this is key to understanding whether a workaround you may be innovating can or cannot succeed or if it is in fact beneficial for the project or not.

For example, many web-designers were not satisfied with the end result of somewhat pixilated typography due to no anti-aliasing feature available in CSS (now available in CSS3). Therefore, they resulted to creating workarounds by creating scripts that convert the text typography into images that contain the anti-aliased text. The drop back to this was the longer load times it added to the website as well as the use of more resources; however, some deemed it worthwhile. Therefore, it is to your benefit to overlook at the advantages and disadvantages your workaround may bring, before bringing it into play.

The Rise in Minimalism in Design

Minimalistic design is a trend that is ever increasing in popularity.

The idea behind minimalistic design is to eliminate any complexities to a design and to make it simple, elegant, and minimal in the use of technologies and content.

For example, many minimalistic designs eliminate any pattern or gradient background images and replace it with a solid color that is light to make the content standout and the main focus. Others tend to use color contrasts and hierarchy techniques for the typography to emphasize on important text and provide a better page flow. In addition, minimalistic design is all about eliminating many graphical icons and images that make the design otherwise crowded.


A many designers begin to phase out on creating workarounds for limitations, we will definitely see that new trending design patterns and categories such as minimalistic design appear while others excel to create workarounds others may have not seen before.

Thus, the question that arises on whether to accept the limitations the industry provides and use what is available to create stunning designs, or to focus on defeating these limitations is really up to each individual’s goals.

However, the key to understanding the industry and to maximize your creativity level is to understand current limitations, and to prepare for the future expansion and new technologies that will be brought to the table, and a perfect example for this would be HTML5 and CSS3. Designers that prepared for them have already excelled and understood them well, while others are still catching and grasping onto the concept, and are hesitant to expand.

Your Turn To Talk

I hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below ;)


  1. says

    You ask whether workarounds should be developed? They are the foundations on which future development is based. If people never questioned and fought against so-called barriers we’d still be stuck with Mosaic Netscape 0.9 and the original implementation of HTML.

    This holds true in most things – hell, we would not have moved onto Bacon Double Cheeseburgers had someone not asked ‘So, how do we get round this raw, cold, meat we’ve been eating?’ thousands of years ago.

  2. says

    Minimalism isn’t a trend. Minimalism, if done right, is good design. And for th record, you can use gradients or patterns for minimalistic design.

  3. says

    By no means a masterpiece, my site (first WordPress theme) is minimal for several reasons, not the least being that when I need to create custom pages or make a change, I can do it almost on a whim. Very important as a designer who is always short on time. I can go gradient and shadow happy with the best of them, but I won’t do it :)


  4. Andrea says

    Minimalist design has been grown ’cause it’s the perfect way to show designer’s content keeping the attention on the works

  5. says

    The Minimalism designs are my favorite! Some lines placed together right and they can reflect a lot of things and can say everything about the company! I love the genius minimalism logo designs (brandable), because are easy to recognize and very professional! They also can be used without the name of the company.

  6. says

    Recently redesigned and rebuilt my website in a minimalist theme for a number of reasons including allowing viewers to focus on what i want them to, my work, nothing else. I also went minimalist because i think it can make designing a lot easier when you have fewer elements to integrate.

  7. says

    I re-designed my site not too long ago to focus on minimalism. Most of my clients seek it as well. Not only does it come off well, but it’s easy to design! This has improved completion time for me, etc.

    Admittedly, I’m new to design so I really enjoyed this. Typography is big on my list and I’ve recently begun using Typekit. So far, I’m a fan but am interested in exploring some of these other options as well.

  8. says

    I didn’t know about minimalistic ‘concept’ before I redesigned my portfolio; I was just fade up with those web 2, icons etc. But I love this trend lately.

  9. says

    The typography one is still the “biggy” from our point of view. There’s nothing that is guaranteed to create more friction than being handed a set of brand guidelines or full design from a branding agency to which you have to turn around and say, “err, actually, while this looks great, all the typography you’ve used is gonna have to be changed…”

  10. says

    Hi all:
    I have been a graphic designer for 25 years, I’m 51, and I always have been listening about minimalist design and how good it is, and the how fashionable is this or that..or even worst, how useful is. I was really tired of all that and i started to do what ever i wanted, good design is what is needed to make something understandable and emotional, please do it the best way you feel, there’s not such idea of a good or bad style, it’s about how, knowledge, culture, talent and limitations are used to reach the appropriated feeling, the way to improve information over plain text on a white screen. After the years i can do many styles, but the best thing is to do what i want to do. Minimalistic is not new it’s older that i am, please, enjoy design.

  11. says

    Minimalistic design is in fact good if done in the right way. Many known sites nowadays are have minimalistic design concepts. The most obvious and best example is Google.com.

  12. says

    Overall, not a bad article, but I would argue that workarounds are what lead to innovations and progressions in industry, especially ours. Reforms in our technology to design and create more elaborate and intricate designs using more consistent and time saving methods.

    Also, with Minimalism, it’s still design with special attention on the content of the site. While it may not be as intricate as I mentioned some design to be in the previous statement, Minimalism serves its purpose and serves it well.

  13. says

    I’ve always found web-safe typefaces to be the most limiting and the most frustrating, especially when the backup typeface is a different size and throws off the whole layout! Though I recently discovered Cufon which does javascript replacement of any True Type or PS font–very cool. It is a bit computation heavy so it needs to be used sparingly, but it sure opens a lot of possibilities!

  14. says

    got to make workarounds if it dont work! some standards just aint the same between browsers, so what will work in one may not work in the other as im sure you are well aware!


  1. On Working With Limitations In Web-Design…

    The web-design industry has always faced limitations that get designers frustrated as they work around them. Without actually knowing these limitations, you cannot properly design and achieve what you or your client may be after….

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