What Does It Mean To Stand Out From The Crowd?
Hey my guy just take that template and do something for us, abeg no time. In some other scenario, it could be: “Can’t you just Google up something for us and adapt it?” People these days don’t seem to care about being unique and giving themselves some form of differentiation with their brands. The key thing for them is just get it out there. There are billions of web pages out there today and really it seems very difficult to stand out. But I implore you to choose to stand out all the same.
Something Special About You
There must be something unique about your brand that sets you out from others: from your mission statement to your logo design to your unique colour brand that even extends to your sales and marketing system and every area of your organization. These differences must reflect in every area of your business not only in design.
Standing Out Takes Hard Work, Real Hard Work
There is always a cost to everything. Some clients see my design and say: “what’s the big deal in this?” I really get so very upset and feel like hitting my head on the wall (lol), when I hear such negative criticism (permit my temper please). They feel that the simpler the design, the less valuable it is. These are just feelings. They think that it is until you put the whole effects in Photoshop; create multi-layered backgrounds; use multiple fonts; splash colours etc that makes the design great. No! My key acronym is “KISS.” Keep it simply simple and “ACTED” which means Add Creativity To Everything Done. Everything must be kept within the framework of simplicity.
It Takes Time and involves a Process
Everything starts from the client’s brief. Some don’t even take the time to brief you well or even brief you at all. You’ll need to take time to fully understand the brief and see things from the client’s perspective. You truly need to be saturated in the brief before the concept for the brand can come. You’ll need to analyse, evaluate and go the extra mile deep to come up with something fresh and creative.
It all starts with creative thought process. This takes time. But the more you are involved with such creative exercise, it becomes a habit and habits are easy to do abi? Na so.
After you have come up with an approved concept for the brand, the next question you’d like to ask yourself is: “How best can I present this concept in my design that would be consistent with the brand in question?” This takes you into research.
Research into that specific concept deep enough: the kind of illustration you’ll want to use; your typography; colour usage; icon usage; white space; background you’ll want to use that best befits the brand. Hit on every detail as much as you can in designing and projecting that brand and get the jaw-dropping comments coming.
Stick Until It Clicks
The next important phase is to do. And like a popular sportswear company, just do it. You see sometimes as a creative designer, most of my concepts for branding don’t seem to click the exact way I planned, scribbled or wireframed.
What I do is I stick to my original until it clicks to at least 90%. I am fully aware that tools sometimes may be a constrain to achieving one’s original concepts for brand design, but I try as much to stay in line with my original concepts no matter the time it takes (if the client can also
beer bear with me). So find your environment and bring to life that concept. The feeling is great.
This is what I call Branded Web Design
A friend of mine, also a design enthusiast like me, came around at my place and saw my portfolio of web design jobs. He was really astonished by it and could not hold expressing: “This is what I call branded web design.” I also walked him through my process and thereafter said he was just so interested to learn my approach of web designing with Coreldraw.
From then on, he was almost on his knees and on my neck begging for me to teach him. Naturally, I told him I would teach him at a fee –he ran! And that was the end of his enthusiasm.
In ancient times, branding was done on products, commodities and even livestock by etching certain unique symbols on them for recognition purposes when they are brought to the market place. If you don’t have a brand, you’re likened to be a “maverick.” The term “maverick”, originally meaning an unbranded calf, comes from Texas rancher Samuel Augustus Maverick whose neglected and unbranded cattle often got loose and were rounded up by his neighbors. The word spread among cowboys and came to apply to unbranded calves found wandering alone. They are wonderers, unknown hoodlums and they sometimes could turn wild.
So if you’re out in today’s space with an unbranded website, can I be permitted to say you’re a “maverick” lol!
What is a brand?
Branding, to me, is discovering your uniqueness; your difference and impressing it in the minds and hearts of people who truly care about what you offer. This definition may not be the intellectually inclined, theoretical-based description of what the term means, but I just want to put it in the best simplest way I can. Remember: Simplicity is key.
Branding is Psychological
Branding is more of an emotional thing than physical. It transcends the use a logo, colour, typography, layout, icons, images, design and even concepts. The feeling you get when you see or experience a brand is the real thing about branding. It seems to tilt towards being more psychological than visual. But then the visual triggers the feeling for the brand.
Take some questions:
1. When you see Guaranty Trust Bank’s orange square, what do you think of?
2. When you see the bold big use of yellow of MTN, what comes to your mind?
3. When you see the beautiful typography of Samsung, what comes to your mind?
4. How about when you see a SHARP sign, what is the first thought that comes to your mind?
5. What is the feeling you get when you land on an unprofessionally designed website?
The answer that first strikes your mind or the feeling that you get for any of the above questions is what branding truly is.
Need to Elicit Right Feelings
I hate it when, for obvious circumstances beyond my control, if I disappoint a client. I feel really very bad. I don’t want my clients to have a wrong impression about me or my brand because I couldn’t deliver on time.
A strong brand should give feelings of reliability, confidence, stability, professionalism, comfort, success etc. Remember that you don’t have a second chance for a first impression. Technology moves very fast. People are even faster with their decisions. When a visitor lands your website, it takes split seconds for them to decide if you’re the right brand to deal with.
Why do I need to brand my website?
Where do I want to start from in describing this? Sincerely I don’t know because I’ve given out quite a lot of articles on coming up with a unique front. Branding your website cannot be overemphasized; I shared on this blog why your website design matters. I’d love you to check it out. This is the summary of why you need to brand your website:
1. In the midst of billions of web pages, you will need to stand out with your unique brand.
You need to make an enduring impression in the minds of people: A friend of mine once passed by our new office. She said she saw the sign and one orange symbol (our logo) she seemed conversant with. She said “I know I’ve seen that symbol somewhere, somehow but I couldn’t just place it.” When she happened to come and make enquiries and saw me she yelled, YES! I know that symbol was very familiar. She had seen the symbol (logo) some years ago yet she could relate with it today. That’s how powerful creating a unique brand can be and do for you over a long period of time.
2. An effective branded website can result in higher sales of not only one product, but of other products associated with that brand. For emphasis, remember that sales = income. All your efforts online or offline must result in sales that would give you income and probably some motivation, abi?
3. You build trust with a branded website. People, over time, see consistency which would naturally build trust and confidence in your brand.
Getting a bit flexible now –no compromise sha!
Okay let me ease off a bit (I’m no form cast in stone). If you intend to use templates or themes, subject and customize it so much to your original design that nobody will be able to spot the difference. The idea at the end is that you have an original design that you’re looking for a platform to speed up things for you as a web designer. Remember spot-the-difference you see in newspapers? Let it be difficult for anyone to say AHH, it was so and so theme or template that he used for his/her design. Just let the theme/template be a form of inspiration for you to be able to build your unique looking branded website.
*Are you really, sincerely happy with your website: Design and Results? Talk to us!