What Cooking Shows Teach us about Good Web Design

As a graphic and web designer at ArtistUpgrade,  my favorite TV shows are actually… all food related (to name a few : Bravo’s Top Chef, Fox’s Master Chef, Food Network’s Chopped, etc.)  Do I cook? Nope, not really.  Nevertheless, in an effort to justify my expensive cable subscription, I have compiled a list of lessons from cooking shows that I apply daily as a graphic and web designer :

Always start with good ingredients.

Hello! How many times have chefs been eliminated because they used frozen scallops instead of fresh ones? Canned corn instead of off the cob? SO many times. The most successful dishes are those that allow the highest-quality ingredients to shine.

The same goes for web design! There’s only so much “photoshopping” that can be done to a poor-quality actor headshot.  Even the slickest of HTML5 demo players can’t disguise a junky demo. We highly recommend that artists use a professional for their “ingredients” (headshots, voice demos, video reels) before investing in a professional website.

Less is more.

Oh, goodness. This lesson can be applied to both the dish “concept” and the dish “execution.” Remember Marcel Vigneron’s Cherry Tart with Cherry Gelee and Cherry Foam dish that almost got him eliminated from Top Chef Season 2? From start to finish, there was TOO MUCH going on with that dish.

As a designer, sure, I could “bevel and emboss” and “drop shadow” that text til the cows come home. We could also add every photograph taken of you ever to your actor website. But just because we can does not mean we should. The best designs (in my opinion) exercise focus, clarity, and restraint.

Presentation is key.

The judges always say “You eat with your eyes first.” The plating of a dish makes the first impression and can often make or break the dining experience.  It may be the tastiest filet mignon ever imagined… but if it looks more like Puppy Chow, the diner may think otherwise.

This is a no-brainer for web design. You may have the greatest content in the world, but if the web layout is sloppy and convoluted, the visitor will probably get frustrated and leave immediately…then write terrible Yelp reviews about your website.  The best websites have intuitive layout and navigation.  🙂

When in doubt, add bacon.

Okay, not really. But bacon does make everything taste better, right?

And that, my friends, is my analogy between cooking shows and good web design.  If you can think of any parallels, please add them in the comment section below!

— Katie