This post is the third article of our new series “Global Web Design“. Throughout this series we’ll be covering various continents, featuring web developers and web designs from different countries of the world and taking a close look at what’s happening in the web design scene worldwide. We started with Russian Web Design and Web Design in Ireland. We continue now with Mexico and next week with Israel. If you would like to prepare an article for this series, please contact us so we can discuss the details.
Land of tequila and mariachi, home of Chichén Itza (one of the new seven wonders of the world), amazing beaches, cheerful people, beautiful women… and last but not least, inspirational and creative Web designs for the entire world. Ours is a great country, with more than 110 million inhabitants, over 30% of which to date are connected to the Web.
Design has always been integral to our culture: the majestic pyramids built by the Aztecs; the numeric symbol “zero” created by the Mayans (who, by the way, were the architects of the great Chichén Itza); the colonial buildings influenced by the Spaniards and French; beautiful paintings by well-known artists such as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo; and now today’s great architects and artists, design firms, interactive agencies and software engineers.
The portfolio of Roberto Avila, a designer from Mexico.
To gain greater insight into Web design happening in Mexico today, we interviewed many people in the industry: freelancers, digital marketing managers, creative interactive agency reps and a few bloggers.
State Of Affairs
A lot is going on in our country, and many companies and brands in Mexico are definitely noticing the impact of great Web design. Digital marketing is growing fast. People working in this industry have not had to face a crisis. Mexico grew 20% in the first quarter of 2009. Why? Because everyone recognizes the importance of shifting to digital.
According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Mexico (IAB), in 2008 only 4% of budgets were designated for digital marketing. If we compare this to countries like the UK, where digital marketing budgets were bigger than TV budgets, then we have a good reason to be optimistic about the future of digital marketing and Web design in Mexico. Bianca Loew, Managing Director of IAB Mexico, states, “The Internet is the ideal platform for companies to interact with consumers.”
DesignWeek Monterrey 2009, an original design from Mexico.
Most companies understand the value and power of good design. We have seen different brands try out a lot of digital marketing strategies, but still much work is to be done on coding standards, usability and persuasion. Few websites are truly prepared for the social media revolution. But great agencies are willing to provide quality information to help everyone get ready!
“Near-shoring” has become a must for many US and Canadian companies. A lot of work is being outsourced to Mexico for digital marketing and Web design and development. We have seen a lot of Argentinean agencies in our market, which has been a very good push for competition, and this will surely drive innovation and creativity.
Voices of People In The Industry
To gain some insights from the people working in the web design industry in Mexico, we asked Miguel Calderon (founder of Group W), Gustavo Ross (founder of Activamente) and Rodrigo Gama (founder of Publicidadenlinea.com) to share with us some insights about the current state of web design in Mexico.
Q: What is your perception of the Web design environment in Mexico?
Miguel: It’s improving, perhaps slowly, but there are interesting developments. What happened with traditional design years ago is happening with Web design today: we are following international trends instead of creating new and better proposals. We’ve missed our identity as a country. Therefore, there is a big opportunity to create proposals that will be followed abroad in the near future. However, the incursion of big designers and illustrators from traditional media to digital media will trigger great websites.
Gustavo: With the introduction of pre-fabricated and self-service platforms, such as WordPress and Joomla, designers must become more specialized. Whether they start by creating professional templates aimed at the Mexican public or with professional design interfaces for business applications and portals, deeper knowledge is needed to improve usability and front-end technologies such as AJAX.
Some time ago, we left behind websites for which only graphic design mattered. Today, designers have to be much more comprehensive and knowledgeable about technology and the needs and habits of the common consumer.
Rodrigo: The market for Web design in Mexico is growing significantly every year. The quality in design is improving fast, but the larger companies are the ones willing to invest in and pay for experts who develop attractive Web designs. Websites for small companies and independent projects are usually made by students, independent designers and freelancers, and their owners do not yet have a comprehensive understanding of attractive Web design: usability, programming, social networking, search engine optimization, etc.
A lot of effort needs to be made by organizations such as AMIPCI (Mexican Association of Internet) and IAB Mexico (Interactive Advertising Bureau Mexico) to publicize the benefits of digital marketing. This causes the market to mature, and developers are taking advantage of this knowledge. I strongly believe that in a couple of years, the quality of many Mexican websites will have a greater impact in Latin America.
I would like to stress that many of the Web design projects in Mexico are done by traditional advertising agencies. Most of the time, such agencies have neither the knowledge nor experience of the Web to develop effective websites, and they work only on what they have committed to their customers. Most of the time, they don’t introduce best practices or standards or even do usability testing.
Q: What makes an outstanding design agency in Mexico?
Miguel: Fortunately, designers and illustrators are already becoming vital for Web design environments. Every day, traditional and digital design become more integrated. It is a broad topic, but I encourage you to look deeper into Alberto Cerriteño & Zoveck. They do very few Web projects, but their websites could not be understood if it wasn’t for their extraordinary work and creativity.
Rodrigo: In my personal opinion, the best agencies are the ones whose core business is the Internet. They usually have a team of experts in different areas, such as design, programming, usability, marketing and online advertising.
Gustavo: I am thrilled to see that website producers have become more professional, leaving behind the Flash and intros in favor of functional pages designed for the user rather than the designer.
Outstanding design agencies… Those with a more holistic view of the needs of their clients, notwithstanding conflicts of interest, and who focus on generating good business results. The best designers are those who think of the end user, not of the prize.
Enough! Show Me The Good Stuff
Tequila can really fuel creativity, as you’ll see! Web designers and interactive agencies here have done a great job. Here is a taste of what we Mexicans are capable of.
GOAL by Gonzalo Alonso, a Mexican in Argentina. What’s really cool about his blog is that he has two skins: one of Asterix and another of Star Wars.
Interactive Agencies In Mexico
High-quality interactive agencies can be found all over Mexico. Some have won prestigious international prizes, including the acclaimed Cannes Lions. Here are some of our most renowned agencies, listed in alphabetical order.
Design Bloggers in Mexico
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