Sure, to start with, design patterns are valuable solutions for some of the most frequent problems that come up during web design or as they call it, common solutions for common problems.
Basically, it means reusing the same solution to solve a recurring coding problem, although the same name is also used for visual designs, to a lesser desirable extent.
Why are design patterns used?
Design patterns should preferably only be used by web designers, rather than visual ones. Being greatly influenced by things like information architecture, usability, and especially coding, web design welcomes design patters in a great way. The fact that programmers prefer effectivity and elegance when coming up with solutions helps a great deal, especially while sacrificing originality as opposed to visual designers. Programmers will simply find an effective way of doing something, and stick to that until forever and more.
On the other hand, visual designers tend to embrace creativity, and therefore originality, a great deal. They will insist on coming up with new solutions and experimenting, quite often at their own expense! Having said that, there are also lazy or with uncreative- designers who are scared to “go out of the box” and only work with some of the safe solutions theyve heard will work.
Do design patters actually work?
Yes, they do work, definitely. That is mostly because the design patterns that have survived, are the ones that have been proven to work. If a design pattern reaches you, its already gone through hundreds or thousands of designers that have used it to complete a job or two, successfully. It barely requires any testing, as all the testing has already been done.
Having said that, while such design patterns do the job for the clients, they barely do the real job for the designers. If youre in this for the profit, then there are probably even better and easier ways to get the same money if you are doing this job for the love of it, then you will use your own creativity and refuse to use design patterns, for at least most of the time. As they say, you might have a responsibility for your client, but you also have responsibility towards your own self.
The most common mistake designers and programmers make, is to bring up more problems than there actually are. Basically, by not using the so-called “first principles” thinking, you are not getting to the core of the actual problem. Even more so, you are bringing unnecessary problems to solve. Being concise in what needs be done and hitting to the point is a very valuable asset.
And finally, most of the design patterns are unlikely to see their extinction coming. Its barely comparable to anything else, as its world might change so rapidly that no one will see it coming the design pattern just stops being used, out of the blue! That usually happens with the development of a something new, such as the mobile design, as an example it made the Holy Grail layout go extinct, as other designs adapted to the new demands.
Ultimately, it really comes down to each individuals perspective. While design patterns are practical and can come in handy in many situations, there are also morally challenged situations when they are frowned upon, and even able to cause more harm than good! Be your own advocate.