Raincastle's Web Design & Branding Blog
Where brand messaging and web design intersect, successful websites result. This is the lens through which discussions of web best practices and trends are best viewed. Best practices, like trends, are constantly evolving measures, but where trends are a measure of popularity, best practices are about quality standards. Here, I offer a mix of universal best practices, and with the ruthless speed-of-change in mind, a few that reflect the current era of web design.
In spite of their expertise, leadership and self-confidence, when it comes to website design and the process of creating one, C-level executives and other entrepreneurs are often unclear about what to expect. Perceptions of the b2b website as a tactical detail to check off their list can sometimes get in the way of seeing the strategic value it provides to their business.
Earlier in my career, I was part of a national organization of creative firms that met in different parts of the country. I recall sitting at bar in the French quarter of New Orleans, a few cocktails in, when a colleague from New Orleans said, "You know the difference between branding firms in Boston and those down here?" He paused, "Y'all live above the neck... we live...below the neck!"
As well as being highly amused, I recognized the depth of his colorful statement and it caused me to reflect upon the top ten attributes to look for in a Boston based branding agency:
Are you struck by the homogeneity of today's long, scrolling web pages with full-bleed stock images and bold headlines? While this mobile-driven trend is here to stay, there is good news for marketers looking for the next new thing. There's a growing trend of using illustration and hand drawn imagery in addition to, and in some cases, instead of stock photography.
Why is illustration poised for a comeback? Because the web is in the age of Personalization. Consumer brands have been utilizing personalization for a long time.The latest and greatest being Coca-Cola, who last year introduced the familiar silver and red cans and bottles emblazoned with people's names and now is introducing millions of custom, hand-painted bottle designs; for several months, no two bottles will look the same. Coca-Cola hired artists to create a small number of unique bottle designs and then utilized a computer algorithm to create virtually unlimited variations of these designs.
Personalized design is not relegated to the consumer world. B2B web visitors today have also reached the point where they expect information tailored to their needs, presented visually in a non-generic way that makes them feel like the brand understands them --- not only on an analytical level, but in a more intuitive, emotional way.