Visitors should be able to instantly identify that it’s you or your company. Your logo should appear on every page, and be prominent without being distracting (not always an easy feat). The key is to design something that’s recognizable yet unobtrusive. This often means more than just plastering your logo everywhere, or forcing every visitor to watch an elaborate introductory video.
It means targeting your audience through your web design in a simple, elegant way. Here are a few ideas:
Color will set the tone for all aspects of your website, from the font to the background to the images. In other words, your brand colors are for more than just your logo. Your site should incorporate your company colors in graphics as well as in CSS elements like links, borders and secondary backgrounds. This is one of the many reasons why simplicity is important for web design. It requires consistency and subtlety. Light touches integrated into all of your site’s pages and sections will result in a cohesive style people will always recognize as yours – and yours alone.
The overall “feel” of your site should also correspond to your audience and what you are providing for them. A retail site with a corporate feel won’t be very inviting to would-be customers. And a bright, bubbly feel won’t be right for a corporate home page. In other words, if you’re selling flowers, your site should use bright and festive colors. But if you’re marketing consulting services, a more streamlined and muted look may be more appropriate. Don’t be afraid to find inspiration for your web design in unlikely places.
Typography and Fonts
Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of any site is the typography. Most sites use the same default fonts that came with their original template. They’re usually bland and cookie-cutter. While the font you choose can make or break your site’s readability, it also adds or subtracts a great deal from the character of your site.
For example, a website designed to provide recipes may want to use a light, casual font that doesn’t make the text look like it’s from a corporate brochure. And just because you’re running a corporate home page doesn’t mean you should use something like Times New Roman or Arial. Slab serif fonts, which typically use horizontal lines at the end points, can lend a professional look to text as well as add a bit of unique style lacking on many web pages.
Spend serious time selecting the fonts you use on your site, and use them to differentiate between main content, sidebars, menus and other elements. But it’s also important to keep it simple, usually with no more than two or three fonts on any given site. Any more and you risk upsetting the cohesive look you’re trying to create.
Design a website that focuses on your audience and keeps your ultimate goal in mind. Don’t hesitate to talk to members of your audience as you reach milestones in your design process, especially if your goal is to create a community from your website. If you’ve selected colors and fonts, run them by some of your customers to see what they think. Ask your designer to make a mock-up or a demo site so that you can share and get feedback.
Targeting your audience through web design is a combination of being consistent in how you present yourself and placing yourself in the shoes of your audience. If you do this, you’ll be on your way to an effective and engaging website.