Website Design and the Art of Brand Building — A Primer

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by Michael Georgiou, Imaginovation

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An interactive website is a necessity for today’s businesses what with a majority of prospective clients searching online for services. Your website is an integral part of your brand identity and is crucial for your online marketing, content marketing and social media marketing efforts to succeed.

If you are a website designer entrusted with the responsibility of building a website for your client, you need to be aware of certain things. First and foremost, you need to identify the right voice in which to speak to your target audience. Everything from design, graphics, typography, color scheme to content need to speak the same dialect, and effuse the same energy.

Clients or companies often do not have a very good idea about what is best for them. Copycat ideas and an inability to gauge the actual wants of the customer plague many companies. So as the website designer it becomes your responsibility that you help your clients know what is best for their customers and in turn for their branding.

Here are a few tips for you create a responsive and intuitive website design that also helps build brand value.

Make a Good First Impression

This is really critical because if nothing else, almost everyone can make out a shoddily planned, non-responsive and cluttered website. A bad first impression can mar rest of the user experience and affect click through rates and conversions.

Visual impact is important and a great color scheme enhances user experience multifold. Colors like red are energetic and symbolize passion, power and exuberance. Red color is also believed to result in physiological reactions like increased heart and pulse rate, and higher blood pressure. So unsurprisingly red is the favorite color for entertainment companies as well as power brands like Christian Louboutin.

If you want something more soothing try blue or teal.

In addition to the color scheme what scores with online visitors is ease of finding things. If you are building an E-commerce site your visitors will want to see clear and concise calls-to-action, detailed product pictures and all other related information.

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Online visitors want to see big and clear images to make buying decisions easier. Hero-images or large sized images have resulted in more conversions for several companies like KinderCare and Dell. Airbnb makes use of live imagery like no other site.

Infuse Character into Your Website

Companies have to be sensitive to the manner in which they are portrayed online. Online image has to be in line with the morals, values and outlook they possess.

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If you see websites of companies like Huge, it is not difficult to see their USPs of innovation, path breaking design and customer-centric approach stamped over the design. Apps of major companies like Virgin Atlantic also have their signature flamboyance and other familiar characteristics embedded in them.

One of the biggest reasons why this is important is that it helps in building brand recognition, familiarity and recall value. It also creates a unique personality and image for the company.

When designing a website the designer should strive to reflect the brand’s personality through the web design as well. Power, energy, playfulness, dependability, calmness, and luxury- all these can form the central value or idea that you build your website around.

Make It Customer-Centric

The first and foremost purpose of all websites is that they need to bring in traffic and drive sales. And this becomes possible when there is a solid value proposition you can make to your online visitor.

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There are product-centric websites like that of Apple and there are customer-centric and humanized websites like that of Whole Foods which is filled with easy-to-navigate and informative content. Tutorials and videos are available that can help virtually any one whip up a multi-course meal, as well as teach you the importance of eating organic, whole and humane.

Surf board and apparel maker Salt has an informative and breezy website that brings on the love for the sea and surfing in full strength. It’s hard not to hear the waves as you browse through their products gallery. Quality of the products shines through and the ‘Made in USA’ badge is worn with honor. These subtle specifics help in brand building in the customers’ mind, which Salt has done well in its 4 years in business.

Pack’s website is every dog lovers dream come true and designed to keep the user engaged right from the word go. You can design a homepage for your dog and help him or her have a more active social life.

Your Website Is the Most Visible Face of Your Brand

Your website is where prospective customers will come looking for you and when they do, they come there for a reason. They want to know more about you, what you do, who you are, what you sell, what your policies and practices are, and what are the awards or recognitions you boast of.

The information you provide about yourself and the manner in which you engage your audience play a very, very big role in building your brand identity. House sells branded apparel and the website speaks the language of the young, free and stylish. Vanity Claire is worth checking out to get a demo in how to sell yourself and how to let others know what you stand for, and where.

You should add an element of social commitment and speak about the philanthropic effort made by you to give back to the community. A little bit of kindness will help you garner goodwill and grow beyond just another profit-making business. Companies like Panera Bread invest in giving back to the community and get good publicity in return.

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Employee welfare and health initiatives are also a part of company culture and identity. Many companies like StumbleUpon, Zappos and Everbrite have fabulous employee wellness initiatives that contribute towards creating an almost-perfect brand identity. They are perceived as great places to work at with happy employees, good products and most importantly, a genuine concern for the people whom they deal with. Would you not love to be a company like that?

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So make your website the best place to talk about who you really are. Be honest, sincere and genuine, and be careful your efforts are not seen as fake, aloof, insecure or profit-driven.

Conclusion

Brand identity is not easy to create and more often than not, how it shapes up is not in your hands. A well-designed website that is user-friendly and true to your customer-centric approach will help a great deal in crafting a good brand image. It is a place where a prospective customer must enjoy being at and have some fun getting to know you, before forming a deeper relationship.

About the Author:

Michael Georgiou is a dynamic business professional and entrepreneurial guru associated with Imaginovation – a Raleigh Website Design Company proven his success in creative strategy, online branding, project management, and communication projects in both the public and private sectors.


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