We had a recent client who was so grateful for our work she insisted we put ‘Designed by Breaking Even Communications’ at the bottom of her website.
She couldn’t believe it, and I couldn’t think of a way to explain it well at the time. (Yes, this is how I get ideas for most of these blog posts!)
What I am about to say may make some people annoyed. Many web designers put their credentials at the bottom of every website they do. Here’s why we don’t:
To me, website designers are invisible artists.
I’ve heard those who put their credentials in the footer of websites they design think about it like a painting they are making on commission. You sign your name on the bottom of a painting proudly, why wouldn’t you sign your name on the bottom of a website?
I can easily think of other examples in which someone does building/creative work for others. Did the company who painted your house sign your foundation? Did the person who designed your wedding invitations add their URL on the bottom corner of all 200 copies you ordered?
In my opinion, some artists are invisible. Web design to me is one of those professions.
Adding our name to the bottom of your website doesn’t give you more value.
Ideally your website is well coded, fast loading, visually pleasing, informational/entertaining, and highly functional… whether we did it or someone else did.
Unlike the painting example, having our name on the bottom of your website doesn’t give it more value, so why put it in there?
(I doubt anyone is having us design sites so they can own a ‘Breaking Even’ original, though I am extremely entertained at this thought).
You can see who designed a website if you look at the source code… or asking the person who owns it.
There are ways to put authorship on a website in the source code that’s completely non obtrusive to the website design. Sometimes we actually remember to do that.
But mainly, I think if someone likes a website, they can always ask the owner (via contact form or other means) who designed it. Looking at it from another angle, to get a feel for the kind of designs a particular web designer does, you can always look at their online portfolio on their website. (We have ours here, just so you don’t think we’re shady about our clients or anything!)
Our clients pay us to create things for them and their good word of mouth is the credit we appreciate most.
I am not writing this to make any enemies here; I’m simply saying why we don’t do this particular practice.
So what do you think, regular folks or fellow designers? Do you think you should have a link at the bottom of every website you do or do you agree we are silent artists?