The most important aspect of your brand is the logo. It’s very easy to get way too artistic in this department, and although many will want to rival a piece at the Guggenheim, the trend seems to lean towards using clean and custom typography. Microsoft’s new logo is a great example of this. Myfonts and Dribbble are great places to get inspiration on typography and to see what the leading designers are coming up with.
An essential consideration outside of the look is the color. It might seem silly but the color of your logo can have a great impact on how your business is perceived. Colors call up certain emotions in us, red is traditionally a “stop” color, while blue and green colors do very well in the healthcare and medical industries. You have to make sure that you know who your customer is, armed with this information you should decide on what message you are trying to convey to that typical customer. Are you running a high-end, high-ticket business or is your bottom line based on volume? Do you target an educated demographic or is there even a certain culture you’re trying to reach? These are all vital questions that tie into your decision on how to rebrand your digital identity.
Realizing that your website is often the only point of contact you will have to provide a potential customer with information (and a call-to-action!), you need to optimize the informational infrastructure of your website. Menu’s need to make sense. Your entire website taxonomy should be keyword-driven. Simple “about us”, “products” and “information” menu’s will simply not do. Base your menu structure on the keywords that you want to be found for. If you sell dog food, cat food and fish food, then those should be your menu items, supplemented with the necessary contact page and other vital information.
The thought behind all of this is easy navigation, you don’t want to have your potential customer putting in an effort to find what they need, they will probably leave if it’s too much of an effort! In the spirit of this, and mobile website design, you should always stay away from drop-down menu’s. However practical they might be to stuff as many menu item’s in the taxonomy as possible, they are just not compatible on all devices. Have you ever tried to click one of those drop-down menu’s on an iPad? I have, and I have about a 50/50 accuracy rate. Don’t frustrate your visitors, there are many creative solutions to building a complete website taxonomy, and drop-downs should play no part in this!
Bringing up mobile website design, we are faced with a couple of choices these days. Responsive design is all the jazz right now, but does it live up to the hype? Partially, there is a lot to say for a design that adapts to different screen sizes and only takes one backend to frame the same content over and over again. From experience we’ve noticed that there is a lot of potential for inconsistency here. The fragmentation of mobile operating systems, on top of the fragmentation of mobile browsers, makes it very hard to ensure that a responsive design actually displays perfectly cross-platform and cross-browser. As an online agency we typically go for the m.website.com option, where we design and develop an intuitive, touch-driven interface to complement the habits that smartphone users have developed nowadays. Tabbed menu’s, clickable phone numbers, mobile optimized lead generation forms, there are just so many factors that still differentiate the mobile users from desktop users.
Last but not least there is the social media landscape. Most businesses can get away with having a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Newer platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram (to an extent) and Tumblr are not useful for every industry, so the usage highly depends on the market you’re in. Proper social media optimization and design is what sets many businesses apart from the herd. On Facebook there is so much potential using the profile picture and cover photo in a synergistic way, just google the phrase “creative facebook cover photos” to see some very creative samples. Twitter nowadays employs three different design elements, the main background, the profile picture and the header photo. The header photo proves it’s true value on mobile devices, so it’s important to get it right. There are many useful ways to utilize the main background, displaying opening hours, contact information, company slogans and many more.
Google+ is the odd duck in here, I do not dedicate a fresh paragraph to its service because of the impressive consumer adoption. The reason I address G+ is because Google owns it, and assuming your digital re-imagination is going to tie into online marketing efforts, you cannot ignore Google+. Instead of using it just as any other platform, it’s actually much more useful to establish yourself or your company as an industry leader, by addressing industry trends and publicizing articles discussing hot topics. This is an insanely valuable feature and ties into the greater picture of online marketing, but this is something to address another day… the creative side works very much like Facebook, employing a cover photo and a profile picture. The dimensions and setup is a tad different, but the potential is the same again. Use them in a synergistic way and play around with it, consumers always value creativity.