Don't Forget About Color
Seth Godin wrote a great blog post recently called, "Don't Forget About Color." http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/08/dont-forget-about-color.html
It reminded me of a conversation I had with him over email a few years ago. I showed him the designs we were doing for eBay, and how effective they were. He was surprised. He figured that designed worked better when there were more white space.
I beileve that we are getting more and more visual, and mood, personality, image, and ease of use are the new white space. I've been saying that, and people smile. But now, Seth Godin is saying something similar, at least that's how I read it.
I don't think websites need more white space. They need more attention to UX/UI, bringing people's eyes to the most important elements, and providing a real feel and mood to the site. You want to stand out from every other website.
It's about colour, but it's also about usability. When you don't really have colour, design, or mood, you have a layout. I don't think you have a design, but you have a layout! We're at the point where if things are the wrong colour, nobody sees them, and your design isn't as easy to use. Take eBay's grey tabs on a white background... nobody sees those, and now they're changing them again.
More and more, our clients are asking us for websites that feel "warm," "inviting," "pull people in," "make them feel involved," etc... That's why all of our designs are custom and unique, from scratch, and based on the image you want to project to your audience or shopper.
That's where design is going. We've been doing that for years, but we know that some people are just getting the memo now. :) Some designers are still making layouts. :)