What Designers Should Know About Website Branding

What’s a brand?

It’s a symbol or object that communicates the company’s proposition about its products and services and differentiates it from its rivals. A brand encompasses:

  • Logos
  • Design
  • Advertising tone

Why website branding is important

Creating a strong brand for your client’s website can give them a distinct advantage over their competitors. With branding comes recognition. This leads to familiarity, which can earn a customer’s confidence and trust.

However, building this kind of loyalty may take time. A website visitor may need multiple exposures to the brand. So, put simply, by helping your clients deliver a consistent brand message, you can boost their chances of success. What is more, you will increase your opportunities of getting repeat business from them.

A website essentially serves to:

  • Sell products or services
  • Generate leads
  • Promote sales
  • Attract visitors or subscribers
  • Generate a healthy return on investment (ROI)

Through strong website branding, a company can deliver a clear message that achieves all of the above as well as building loyalty and trust from its customers.

To help your client develop effective website branding, follow these tips.

1.     Color creates moods

Color is more than aesthetics; it can stimulate emotions and stir people’s subconscious in relation to the company’s brand. For example:

  • Red – symbolizes energy, excitement, energy, and passion. If your client is in the entertainment business, for instance, red will work well for their brand.
  • Green – symbolizes the environment, nature, health, money or profit. If you’re working for a hospital or clinic, using a pale green background would be appropriate for their site.
  • Orange – symbolizes fun and adventure. For example, detype.com uses orange liberally on its site from the background to headings, and links. As a web design company this indicates that it’s enthusiastic and outgoing.

Before choosing a color for your client’s site, consider doing some research about its effects and appropriateness to the brand. Also, remember that each culture may view the same color differently. So, you should check the target market’s reaction to the colors used in your proposed website design.

2.     Brand personality

Injecting some personality into the website helps to zero-in or define what your client’s brand represents.  One way you could introduce personality is using a character or persona to represent the brand.  Twitter’s bird logo is a good example. People recognize the social platform’s mascot immediately.

3.     Emotional connection

Creating websites that stir visitor’s emotions can help your client’s brand messaging. As you design the site, decide what kind of feelings or emotions you want visitors to experience? For example, DeType displays attractive imagery to showcase the creative talent of its web designers.

4.     Uniformity

To make a brand memorable, you need to make the website design consistent.  So consider keeping all the site’s colours, character, and emotions consistent on every page.  Take a look at Skype’s website. Every page shows the same look, reinforcing its brand.

5.     Reusability (code and visuals)

As well as using consistent visuals and layouts, you can reuse content such as style sheets or images. As the files are in the browser’s cache, this will consequently make your site load faster.

6.     Make the logo highly visible

Considering placing the logo at the upper left corner of the site, since this is the spot where most visitors’ eyes will be drawn.  Also, consider linking the logo image to the site’s page. As for size, ensure that it is big enough to be noticeable, making it at least the second or third object visitors see on the site.

7.     Promote the benefits

Visitors won’t stay long on a site if it fails to grab their interest.  It will only take seconds for them to find out if they have come to the right place. To convince them to stay, tell them what benefits they can get from using the brand’s product or service in a few succinct words. The best location for this message is next to the logo so that people can see it immediately.

8.     Adopt and use the right tone

Even the website’s language can strengthen a brand’s appeal to your target market. For example, there are various tones and combinations of tones you can adopt:

  • Formal voice for a site catering to investors
  • Informal and fun voice for young audiences
  • Friendly voice with related industry jargon for a tech-savvy audience

Also, be mindful that some words can have different meanings, depending on the audience. Take  the word ‘engine’, for example:

A Mechanical Engineer will describe an engine as “a device which converts fuel or heat energy into mechanical energy”. A Computer programmer, however, will associate an engine as being  “software which generates source code in order to create automated processes.”

9.     Make the site stand out

Creating a website brand won’t create any impact or differential if it is the same as other competing sites. As a designer, you need to include elements that will make your client’s site unique. After all, by making the site stand out you’ll improve the brand’s chances of attracting visitors and making them return.

Conclusion

Building a strong recognizable brand, even for small business or personal websites, is a must in this digital age. This is especially important, given the short attention span of visitors and of course the sheer number of businesses that have an online presence.

Strong branding can instantly demonstrate the attractive advantages of your client’s brand, its key differences to competitors and its unique personality and character.  Getting across all of this can help clients in a big way, to not just win over customers but beat their competitors.

As you can see from the tips covered in this article, there isn’t just one single route you need to arrive at a strong brand but a range of directions. So, keep these all in mind when you embark on successfully branding your client’s site.

About the author:

Sam Sayer is the Creative Director of DeType, a creative agency based in Kettering, Northamptonshire, UK. His company specializes in web design, branding, motion, UX, and online design.

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