Manuel Francisco dos Santos was a soccer player from the 50s and 60s. Like all Brazilian soccer stars, he was known by his nickname - Garrincha (a little bird). He was also called Alegria do Povo (Joy of the People). He was a colourful and naive character, with hundreds of stories attributed to him – a sort of soccer version of Babe Ruth.
Despite having oddly twisted legs he is regarded as the best dribbler in soccer history. I’ve never seen him play live but the videos are there for anyone to see.
He had a tragic life after soccer. He drank heavily throughout his adult life, had numerous and tumultuous relationships and died poor. Yet he’s considered by many one of the best soccer players ever.
So what does he have to do with webdesign, you might ask?
I do believe Garrincha was an artist. You don’t need to be a soccer buff to appreciate the elegance of his moves, to be puzzled by the sheer beauty of what he was able to accomplish. And most of all, to be mesmerized by his creative magic. He's taught me a lesson or two.
Be a star but play for the team
Albeit all his crazy moves and unexpected twists, Garrincha was always assisting his mates with precise passes. Not only that, he was a fantastic scorer himself. In fact, he was the main reason for Brazil conquering its 2nd World Cup in 1962, after Pelé got injured in one of the very first rounds. It’s kind of obvious but we often forget that the website that you’re working on ultimately belongs to the client, not you. It must get the job done for them. Equally important: make sure your client understand the reationale behind the concepts when you're submitting to them.
The game is always changing
Garrincha wouldn’t stand a chance in today’s soccer, dominated by other brilliant – but much faster – players like Barcelona’s Messi. As designers we need to accept the fact that the websites we create will live for a few months and then be replaced. That the clients can change the content at will using a CMS like Your Web Department. That websites are increasingly merging with social media initiatives. That design trends come and go. And that the delivery medium itself is constantly evolving – from computers to tablets and smartphones. That’s OK, live with that.
Get people off-balance
When submitting design concepts, make sure at least one does not look like anything your client asked for. Surprise them, show something they were not prepared for. Get them off-balance with your moves.
Enjoy the game
Garrincha was known as “Joy of the People” for a reason. He made people laugh as they watched him dribble his opponents and leave them on the floor one after another. He was having fun while playing, even during a World Cup match. Do the same. Even a corporate website deserves elements that somehow make it stand apart from millions of others out there. It's a beautiful game after all.
For more on Garrincha: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_Rd2s8z1R4