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?

Definition of Bespoke – Adjective – British

‘bespoke’ – adjective – COMMERCE
UK /bɪˈspəʊk/

  1. specially made for a particular person, organisation, or purpose:
    • Bespoke leather shoes cost an average £1,000 per pair.
    • a bespoke suit/shirt
    • bespoke software
    • a bespoke wi-fi system
  2. making and selling products, or providing services, specially for a particular person, organisation, or purpose:
    • a bespoke tailor/shoe maker
    • a bespoke travel agency

(Taken from the Cambridge dictionary)

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.

It was pretty much as expected except, when doing some further digging in the Collins Dictionary, it defines its use with a computer program;

  1. (esp of clothing or a website, computer program, etc) made to the customer’s specifications.

It is exactly this element that causes 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 individual’s requirements. In the web design world, I believe that “bespoke” canonically means something that’s ‘adapted’ for a specific user or purpose.

Is “Bespoke” a Misleading Term in Its Current Form?

For me, the Collins Dictionary definition is something we do not see happen regularly enough with website design.

A company will create an initial layout that’s entirely unique for each customer, and built for a group of users, or purpose. However, once this template is created, 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. A bespoke website design should not necessarily be per layout, but per customer specifications.

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 was the case, the suit wouldn’t be defined as “bespoke”, yet there is a chance that a website somehow would be.

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…).

What is an Off-the-Shelf Website?

An off-the-shelf website is also known as a theme or a template. This is where the framework of a design is created and reused on a client-by-client basis. The structure remains the same, however, you can add your brand elements to it to make it yours.

As mentioned above, some companies refer to these as bespoke websites when that is not the case. You will subconsciously notice websites that use a theme across the internet as they will look near enough the same as each other aka not bespoke.

Yes, a quick and convenient solution to getting online quicker; there are drawbacks too though. Over time, their redundant code will affect both load speed and SEO. Also, if you’re a company aiming to grow, a website created from a theme will be unable to grow alongside you.

A bespoke website design takes into account these aspects and is created and built according to your requirements.

Choose your web design agency wisely

In conclusion, there isn’t a set definition of what a “bespoke” means within the web design community. The word can preface “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, and this is evident when reviewing our past projects and case studies.

Your website should be created solely based on your requirements – business goals, specific features, functionality – not  by what already exists. That’s exactly why we start with a blank canvas with our bespoke web design projects.

Both the front-end and back-end of your website will be beneficial for your objectives and aid performance in every area of your online presence. Our team is also on-hand for support when you host with us too; our expertise will enable you to create a website that is not only tailor-made for your brand but will help conversions and drive traffic.

When you know that it’s time for a new website, choose Logic’s bespoke website solution for a website that is truly, 100% bespoke.

Get in touch on 01473 934050 or email [email protected] to discuss your upcoming project. If you’d like some further reading, read about our website design services.

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