Don’t Just Build a Website, Build a Business and Make It Work For You! (Part 3 of 6)
What is branding?
To understand branding better, it is important to know what brands are first. A brand is basically the idea or image of a particular service or product that consumers/online shoppers connect with, by recognising the name, logo, slogan, or design of the company who the idea or image belongs to.
Branding is when that idea or image is marketed so that it is easily recognisable by more and more consumers, and identified with a certain service or product when there are many other companies offering a similar service or product.
Branding is an important part of Internet commerce, as branding allows companies to build their reputations online as well as expand beyond the product and service, and add to the revenue generated by the original brand. This concept can be evoked using consistent imagery, strap-lines, sounds and logos with which people come into contact.
Here are 8 tips to help you to build a brand with a web design.
It is very important in Branding that you choose a good colour palette. Colour isn’t just aesthetics – it stimulates various emotions and carries with it subconscious associations to various things and characteristics.
For example, the colour red may actually increase blood pressure, pulse and respiration. It’s well known that the colour symbolizes passion, energy, power and excitement. Because of this, it’s usually a good colour choice for web design brands within the entertainment industry. But if you are selling the likes of Jewellery/Computers/Fashion Items etc online it is definitely a colour to steer well clear from!
Other colours carry different associations and effects. For Example, Green symbolizes nature, environment, profit, money and health. It’s also a calming colour, which is actually why hospitals usually paint their walls pale green.
When choosing a colour for your brand, research its effects and associations to see if it is an appropriate fit for the type of things you want your brand to represent online. Also note that different cultures may associate the same colours with different things, so it’s a good idea to check that your colours mean what you think they do in the markets you which to target.
Why not check out http://colorschemedesigner.com/ and play about with some colour scheme.
Does your brand have character? Creating your brand with a little touch of personality incorporated can help you define what it stands for.
Does your brand show stability and safety so that your customers can be sure to rely on you and can put their trust in you? Is the brand fun and down to earth?
Lots of people in commercial societies use products and brands to define themselves, so veer your brand’s character towards something which your audience will like to associate themselves with.
Anthropomorphism is the acknowledgment of human qualities and characteristics to other things, like animals or objects. Infusing your brand with anthropomorphic elements is a good way to give it character.
Let’s use the icon for the “Finder” app on Mac OS X. It’s a blue square with a unique smiling face drawn using a couple of black lines.
The program it signifies is a file searcher, but by giving it these human characteristics the designers cleverly give it a soul and character.
Another truly inspirational example is Twitter’s little blue bird mascot. It has proven very, very effective; all of the custom media and websites that Twitter fans create usually feature their own variation of it. They may all have slight variations, but are still immediately recognisable with Twitter:
Emotion is another factor to consider when establishing your brand. What feelings and emotions do you want visitors to experience when they visit your website? What sort of things do you want them to associate with your brand?
Crafting the aesthetics of your website should never be about following the latest design trends, it should be about deciding on the emotions and ideas that you want your brand to portray, and then working on a design that will do exactly that.
To build a successful brand especially on a website you have to make it memorable. What does your company do to make people remember things when visiting your web site? Repeat them in your branding.
Consistency throughout your website will add on the choices you’ve made earlier regarding selecting the right personality for the brand and evoking the appropriate emotions. Keep consistent colours, visuals and typography throughout to ensure your website projects a uniform image.
Also, ensure you select the correct typography to match your branding. For example; If your company’s image is based on a friendly and local company you can emphasis this by using joint handwriting fonts like Segoe script – this will give the feel of “homely” and “friendly”.
A prime example is Skype! They consistently integrate several branding elements throughout all of their marketing media, which include their dominant blue colours, white 2D clouds with illustrations sitting on top of them and multi-coloured rainbows:
5. Reusing code and visuals
Consistent visuals and layout allows you to reuse more of your content, be it stylesheets or images. This means that your site will load faster as the user’s browser doesn’t need to download as many things – old images and CSS are already stored in its cache.
Apple.com integrates their logo with the navigation bar, infusing their brand into the page design:
6. Size and position of the logo
When positioning your website’s logo placing it in the upper left area of the page is the accepted norm.
That’s the area where most people will automatically look to see what website they’re on. Furthermore, it is best practice to link the logo image to your home page. But position is only one element, size is also just as important on your website. Make sure your logo is big enough to be the second or third thing that people will notice when they arrive on your website, but don’t over step the mark and make it too large that it overpowers your homepage.
7. Tone of voice
The language you use on your website needs to highlight your brand’s character and personality. If your brand is a friendly and down to earth one, and your audience are young, tech savvy people, then an informal and fun tone of voice may work well for you.
Alternatively, if you’re designing a website for a solicitors, the tone of voice should reflect that by being a lot more formal and professional.
It’s not just about what you say – it’s about how you say it. You can say the same thing in different voices and get the same meaning across, but the personality that this voice emanates will be different; so choose a tone of voice that suits your brand’s character and target market.
Matt, a simple web app that helps you use multiple Twitter accounts, features hand drawn illustrations and a friendly tone of voice, perfect for the young, tech savvy audience:
37signal’s Basecamp website takes a more formal, yet simple and concise tone, focusing on their business audience:
Getting all of the above elements correct will only get you so far though, because there is one very important last thing you should consider when building your brand, and that is uniqueness.
If your website looks just the same as your competitors, then are consumers really going to remember it? How would potential customers differentiate between the your site and a competitors site? By putting in that extra effort at the start to create a solely unique image you’ll not only stand out from your competitors, but you will also be more memorable, which in turn means you have a better chance of your visitors coming back for more.
Carbonica’s website features many recycled paper textures, hand drawn fonts and cut-out style illustrations. This earthy imagery helps promote the sustainable image that Carbonica strives for and is certainly different enough to be memorable:
Building a strong brand is important not only for big corporations, but also for small companies and even personal websites and blogs. After all, we all have to start somewhere and with excellent branding from the beginning it gives you the opportunity to expand, potentially worldwide. Branding helps people differentiate between competition and quickly judge quality.
The web is an excellent platform to build your brand, so it’s important not to ignore branding when working on your website. It’s just not as simple as a quick logo design. Make sure to utilize all the various techniques to make it powerful and effective.