A brand identity packet on a desk

Earlier this week we discussed the differences between branding and marketing. As a web design agency, we understand that a website helps to both brand and market a business, and that there are key elements to any website design that can represent or ruin a brand, depending on how they’re chosen and implemented. Let’s dive into just a few of those elements…

Using color theory to determine a powerful palette.

Color theory is both the science and the art of using color. It’s more than just picking colors that we like or that we think look good—it’s about understanding how colors are perceived, how colors work together (or against each other), and how color can communicate a message.

The practice of color theory is constantly utilized by painters, illustrators, colorists, and other artists to ensure that their art elicits the intended reactions from the viewers of their art and communicates a specific message. In the same way, branding agencies and web design agencies implement color theory to most accurately reflect a company’s brand and to most effectively communicate the intended message.

When establishing a color palette for a brand or a website, there are several factors that are considered when choosing each color:

  • Scheme: Color schemes use Sir Isaac Newton’s color wheel, which was first designed in 1666 and is still used by designers and artists today. Schemes can be complementary (colors opposite each other), analogous (colors that sit next to one another on the wheel), or triadic (colors that are evenly spaced around the wheel)
  • Temperature: warmer colors (reds, oranges, yellows) are often associated with energy, brightness, and action, while cooler colors (blues, greens, purples) elicit feelings of peacefulness, calmness, and serenity.
  • Hue & Shade: the origin of the colors (primary and/or secondary colors).
  • Tint & Tone: how soft or strong or how light or dark a color is when used in a logo or on a website. This can affect how it is viewed and perceived, and can improve how it communicates.

When choosing a branding color palette for your logo, your website, and the design elements used for your marketing campaigns, it is important to choose a scheme that reflects your company, attracts your target audience, and communicates your message.

For example, we designed and developed a brand new website for Demolition Pros and during that process, we worked with them to redesign their logo and color palette. Their original color palette was black and white with Picton Blue as the accent color. This color palette would be great for a law firm or a clinic because it communicates peace and brings a sense of calmness, but isn’t ideal for a company whose main objective is to destroy structures. Because of this, we explored other color schemes and settled on this palette. We chose this orange for it’s bold, strong energy, and subtly used the deeper navy-grey color as a complementary accent.

Choosing typefaces that are attention grabbing and readable.

While many website visitors don’t pay explicit attention to what typeface is being used for the content they are reading, the right font can enhance their reading experience, while the wrong one can cause them to give up and quit reading.

If the overall content of a website is presented in a typeface that is too flashy or too complicated, it can be difficult or even frustrating to the reader. If the font is too small or too large, or if the entire page of content is italicized or in bold, it can be hard on the eyes and uncomfortable to read.

On the contrary, if a site uses a common typeface that is proven to be readable and visually appealing, and the font weight, emphasis, and spacing is set practically and intentionally, this can engage your audience and guide them smoothly through your content.

Of course, when you are developing your logo you can use a fancier typeface that matches your brand’s aesthetic and garners attention, but choosing a strong secondary font and/or a font for your body copy is essential to your audience’s reading experience.

When choosing a typeface/font for any content and web design element, there are a few factors to keep in mind:

  • Serif vs Sans-Serif: Serif typefaces (like Times New Roman) have a small decorative line at the end of a character’s stroke, while Sans-Serifs do not have these accents (sans = without). Both serifs and sans-serifs have unique benefits—serifs are often seen as more easy on the eyes for longer bodies of copy, as our eyes are most used to their shape, while sans-serifs work well in lower resolutions and can have drastically different effects just by altering the weight of them.
  • Slab vs Script: Slab typefaces are blocky and bold, often seen as modern and masculine. Script typefaces are more fluid and decorative, often taking on the look of cursive, calligraphy, or handwriting, and they are usually much more feminine than their Slab counterparts.
  • Size, weight, and style: Headings should always be larger than the body of text, but can be thinned or bolded depending on the typeface that is chosen and the tone they are meant to communicate. Content bodies should be set at a size that is comfortable to read without being too overwhelming (or underwhelming), and in most cases, it is best to use standard weights and styles unless a specific word or phrase requires additional emphasis.

Typefaces are essential to the success of a logo as a brand asset, and it is important to utilize those typefaces throughout a website when possible, or to choose complementary typefaces for consistency and visual appeal.

Using visual content that compliments and communicates your message.

We recently posted two blog articles (a beginner’s guide to visual content and an advanced guide to visual content) that list different visual content elements that you can create and/or purchase for your website. We wanted to dedicate several blogs to this topic because we believe in the importance of strong, relevant, and high-quality visual content.

The type of visual content that you use to represent your brand and where it is placed on a website is vital to the story your website tells. But there are also visual elements that contribute to the design of a website that are much more subtle but can be just as powerful as a photo, video, or illustration. Using borders, content boxes, separators, and other visual effects to frame and isolate pieces of written or visual content can make or break the presentation.

Using too many visual effects can look outdated or overdone, while avoiding visual effects altogether can leave a website looking bland and unappealing. Considering how these effects complement and enhance the content rather than distracting from it is a key element of web design—this can include the density and opacity of an element, or even it’s shape.

For example, if you are a contractor or construction company, using strong, clean lines could represent blueprints and building structures. However, if your business worked with water or marine life, opting for more fluid lines and rounder shapes would better reflect your industry. All of these visual elements and effects work together to represent your brand to your audience, and if any asset is overlooked or ignored, even the most subtle element could distract from the story or lessen the experience.

Why we love designing websites that help brand and market your business.

We love design, and we love designing websites that tell stories, that represent brands, and that market businesses. We love seeing color, typography, content, and visual elements come together into one stellar webpage, and we love when a business sees an incredible return on investment from our website design, optimization, and marketing initiatives. That’s why we do what we do—so we can work with awesome companies and design awesome websites for them.

If you’ve already branded your company and have a logo, color palette, and maybe even a preferred typeface, we will use those elements to design and develop a website that tells your story and enhances your users’ experience.

If you don’t have brand assets for your business, or you’re not happy with your current brand assets, we can help by either working with you to determine these assets or by referring you to one of our branding agency partners, and then we can discuss how we will make your new brand shine on your new website.

If you’re interested in branding or rebranding and marketing your business with a stellar new website, contact us today.