Logos, Branding and Web Design

As a communication designer, I particularly love the way that the internet has enhanced, nurtured and developed communication design for all kinds of businesses and organisations. It is my job to ensure that our clients are being heard and remembered, among the cacophony of competing messages everywhere on the Net.

Many of us spend an inordinate amount of time online, both in our professional capacity as well as in our personal lives. We are constantly online, scrolling quickly through news, messages and looking for particular topics – and usually we expect results immediately. If you are not quick, concise and precise with your information/message – it is lost in the ever competitive market for customer attention.

We are constantly inundated with Click Bait, screaming headlines of fortune and misfortune, numerous lists of ‘five habits of successful people’ or ‘do-it-yourself in a weekend’, so it is no wonder we have developed short attention spans. We have little patience with a website that loads slowly and we are likely to abandon a search, if a website does not offer us immediate results. If we can’t find what we are looking for, we go to another site with a better user experience. After all, there are many other choices available with the click of a mouse or a tap of a finger.

Still, it is impossible not to be disheartened by the unfortunate trend of needing everything immediately to keep up. It forces us to pay less attention to detail, research, the feasibility of our choices, and less obvious things like beauty, personal expression and long term value.

My thoughts on visual communication and design:

The quality of your logo and the effectiveness of communication flow on your website is paramount to your future business success.

Logo Design

Your logo is where your branding begins. Whether that is just your name in written form or a professionally designed icon or typo-gram. Your logo represents what you and your company stand for. Therefore, it is essential that it is both a fair resemblance of your intended message and, just as importantly your logo should ensure your brand will be remembered.

So what constitutes a great, memorable logo:

  1. A great logo does not have to be beautiful (beauty is in the eye of the beholder) – but it must be unique.
  2. A great logo must be simple and poignant enough to draw in pencil easily. Think, for example, of the golden arches of the  McDonald’s logo, or the simple swish in the Nike logo, or the eye-catching use of typography in the NASA, Chanel and ebay logos.
  3. It must be usable in a variety of formats, sizes and dimensions and it must be recognisable in black and white and in small sizes.

What do these logos all have in common?

In order to stay relevant you must ensure your logo is simple and memorable.

If you’re on the look out for some inspiration you can visit Logo Design Love here, which has thousands of inspirational and memorable logo designs.
If you would like to see some large companies who are simplifying their logo when they are undergoing a rebranding process Design Taxi has great examples.

BRANDING A WEBSITE

Working as a communication designer for a Digital Agency, I work primarily with branding and design for websites. Whenever we take on a new client, we ask them to complete our Web Design Questionnaire. This gives us a clear understanding of what our clients are looking for.

When considering the UX design of a website, I think of branding in a slightly broader view than is usually the case. For me, branding consists of your logo. It is enhanced by your font choices, colour choice, style of imagery, tag lines, ideals and messaging, the essence of your product and the personality of your company.

However before we begin any designs, I must first learn who your customer base is and what your customers are looking for when they visit your website. I consider all these things before I create my designs, both on printed material and your online profile, to ensure your communication is precisely targeting your audience.

A good branding package enables a designer to create a website which reflects a company’s message. Creating a website which is easy to navigate ensures your customers are more likely to have a good user experience when visiting your site.

Effectively branding your site

We provide clients with a series of layouts for potential landing pages, both in UXPIN and Photoshop. We often print out the designs so we can sit down with you and take feedback on the printed design. Here are some examples of recent, very different,  design suggestions for a leadership development coach.

Tips to create a memorable website:

  1. Provide your web designer with a fully fleshed out, completed questionnaire, providing as many details as you can on both your business and your style, and likes and dislikes.
  2. Ensure your logo and branding (colours, fonts, layout styles, image styles etc) are accurately reflected in the design.
  3. Make sure information is ordered according to relevance, in a manner that is both obvious and functional. Website user experience really is a case of “form follows function”. Perfection is reached when the branding achieves simplicity of user experience and memorable, unique and appropriate design.
  4. Less is definitely more. When you remove superfluous elements in your design, you enhance communication. This rule is valid for web and print design.

If you can express yourself clearly and quickly and do your best to add a little twist – something unexpected, quirky, fun, resourceful or beautiful you’re well on the way to having a successful digital presence.

Websites with some award winning UX Design:

A personal observation:

At the risk of sounding presumptuous, I would like to leave you with the following advice:

  1. Before you engage any professional, ensure you have had, at the very least, a phone conversation and you have seen samples of their work. Word of mouth from a trusted colleague or friend is always good quality control.
  2. Trust the advice of your web designer, UX designer or graphic designer. Many people experiment, providing designs and websites done by well meaning, non-professional friends and relatives. Although well intended, this method often leads to complicated and longer work flows during the building of your website (read: more expensive for you).
  3. If you have gone through the trouble of setting up a new business or organisation with all the work that it entails, it will be worth your while to present that as professionally and effectively as you possibly can.
  4. A good designer will always welcome your input – but try to trust them like you would your plumber. You want them to follow your wishes as much as possible, but if you don’t listen to their professional advice, it may lead to unintended results.
  5. Don’t always listen to fellow business owners or family when it comes to design. Just because one design worked for someone you know, it doesn’t mean it is going to work in your situation.

Remember:  It’s your business and your website, so it should reflect your organisation’s ethos, professionalism and personality.

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