Bespoke website design – what does it actually mean?
Terminology is something that the website design industry struggles with at times. A lot of our clients mention how a previous web company has ‘used jargon’ to initially dazzle them and then ultimately this jargon has thoroughly confused them later down the line resulting in an unsuccessful project. I guess website design is a bit of a geeky topic (for want of a better word) so these unusual terms are going to rear their head at times. But then there’s one big anomaly that confuses clients even though it doesn’t need to – bespoke website design. It’s not really jargon as most things can be bespoke however when used in context with the words website design, what exactly does it mean?
I’ve never really looked at the exact definition of the word bespoke previously but thought it might be worthwhile when writing an article about the use of the word. I was expecting something along the lines of a ‘tailor made item’ but found the actual definition quite surprising – here’s what the Oxford dictionary tells us;
Definition of Bespoke – adjective – British
- (of goods, especially clothing) made to order:a bespoke suit
- (of a trader) making bespoke items of clothing:the bespoke tailors of Savile Row
- (of a computer program) written or adapted for a specific user or purpose: completely bespoke software systems
It was pretty much as expected except when it defines its use with a computer program – it’s exactly this element that cause the confusion when put next to the words ‘Website Design’. It seems in most walks of life that bespoke means it’s created for that individuals requirements whereas in the IT world, it could mean something that’s ‘adapted’ for a specific user or purpose.
And this, for me, is something we see happen regularly with website design. A company will create an initial layout that’s entirely unique and then once this template is created, they will edit it slightly for a new customer and call it a ‘bespoke design’. This seems incredibly misleading as the design already existed so has just been tweaked. You could use the argument that with a bespoke suit the material would already exist however, the like for like comparison would essentially be buying an off-the-self suit that you then have altered to fit. If this is the case, the suit wouldn’t be bespoke however the website somehow would be which is crazy. It seems wrong that companies offer a bespoke design on this basis as it’s clearly not fully bespoke but part bespoke (if that’s even possible…)
In conclusion, there isn’t a set definition of what a bespoke means within the web industry. The word can be added to website design and as long as a few pixels here and there are changed, it appears (rightly or wrongly) that this is acceptable. At Logic Design we definitely don’t think this is OK as your website should be created solely based on your requirements, not by what already exists. That’s exactly why we start with a blank canvas with every single project we undertake meaning it is truly, 100% bespoke.