Monday, May 17, 2010

Website - Building the house Part 4

We've covered the importance of re-assessing your business focus through your sitemap. Today we cover the importance of clear design communication.

This is what separates the professional shop from the person in their basement creating websites as a part time job.

The visual communication is the personality. Just as Starbucks has a clear visual communication, as does Geico and IBM, so does your client. It's part of the master brand, which needs to carry over flawlessly into the website.

Note: Fonts play a key role here.
When you, or someone else designed the master brand, the fonts chosen may not play well with web 2.0. Body copy fonts need to have brand flexibility because they must be in a web compliant font. Crawlers can't dissect text from a graphic; therefore you need to stray from that.

If you're creating a visual brand from scratch, don't be in a hurry to just get something up. This is crucial to the long term growth and image of the company.

Spend a day going through all your competitors visual branding. Make an xcell spread sheet and type comments of what you like and don't like. Take note of their colours, logo, fonts, sitemap categories, and what they are emphasizing on their main sell sections. Are you sell points parallel to theirs? Do you have a product benefit that's superior to theirs? If so, reshape your sitemap so you create a competitive benefit as well as a visual brand that signals the personality you want to convey.

Here's something to think about. They're visual branding seems more akin to selling racecars than web services. But if you click through the site, and watch some of the personal messages from Bob Parons you see he has spent a lot of time keying in on the message. The visual identity is not exactly "corporate friendly" with the tight tshirts and motorcycle theme. But somehow it works.

Tomorrow - shortcuts on getting to the next step with the client.

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