DIBI conference 2017 - Mike Kus



Mike is a UK based designer, specialising in Web/UI Design, Graphic Design, Branding, Illustration & Photography. He has a worldwide client roster and his work is regularly featured in design related publications. Mike is also a regular speaker at design/tech conferences.

"It’s human nature to follow the crowd, but in order to stand out, you sometimes need to stand-alone". Mike Kus believes that every client is unique, yet many websites are starting to look the same. In this 30 minute talk, Mike shared the secrets of how to extract an organisation’s identity, and use it as the inspiration for crafting distinctive web design.

Mike explained the importance of creating a website that is the extension of the brand, not just a tool that the logo can be placed on. He discussed that when a client comes to an agency not knowing what they want or need, it becomes an opportunity to help them tell or discover their story. At this point its important to extract everything there is to know about the client, the product, core values and how the business got here today. It is vital at this stage the designer shows the ability to understand and share the feelings of the client, this creates a natural drive for designers to discover a solution to problems the client is facing.

Discover Process - During the initial key meetings with a client, we should discuss "who the client is", "why they are who they are" ect.. whilst talking with the client trying to unravel the business one question at a time. Its common at this stage to discover that a business has not developed their brand because they simply have never had the time, until now! Mike shared a thought process that he uses to help him gather his meeting notes to find common traits, reoccurring factors. He would then uses his findings to help develop a more tailored concept for the project. Mike called this method "Movie Story Strap Line". You create a strap line of 5 words that sets the tone of the project or company, to help create a visual story. 

Mike's client Mixd, a website design agency needed to stand out from the crowd: www.mixd.co.uk. There are so many design agencies out there offering all the same services, so how did Mike make Mixd stand out. Mike found common treats and reoccurring factors from his KO meeting that stood out for him and developed the strap line of "beautiful form and perfect function". He then could develop visual concepts that would stimulate the client, he showed concepts that included 'perfectly designed' items like the pencil, spoon and a wheel to show that the best design is the simplest one that works. See Mikes portfolio here

Mike expressed his thoughts on how the web was changing for the better but also how many sites were starting to look the same. Design has the ability characterise a website with the style, typefaces and colours, to create a tone of voice. This look and feel of the site can relate to a user in seconds, much faster than words. He wants us as designers and developers to build a better digital world and become digital 'craftsmen, explorers and scientists' of the future.