Designing a memorable, eye-catching website is a tricky task, especially if you don’t take the time to utilize proper branding throughout the process. Many small business owners overlook this crucial facet when creating their website and it can have a detrimental effect on their customers’ experience.
Developing relevant branding for my web designs was something I struggled with myself when first getting started as an entrepreneur. I failed to realize just how important branding really was to the design process and my website suffered because of it.
However, after years of helping small business owners create unforgettable online businesses, I’ve developed a number of tried and true tactics that I can’t wait to share with you. In this guide we’re going to start by explaining what branding is and then, how you can apply it to every website you design.
What Is Branding and Why Should I Care?
Simply put, branding is the symbol that represents your business. It sets an expectation for what your users will experience with you and your products or services. Good branding should evoke a feeling or emotion and it should be something that your target audience is naturally drawn to.
Creating a brand presence that hits all of these elements is super important, but it doesn’t just stop there. Your website is the living, breathing portal into your brand experience and its design should reflect that.
There are a number of ways that you can be sure that you are incorporating your branding when designing the ultimate user experience for your target audience to enjoy. Here’s how we recommend incorporating branding into your website design:
1. Put Thought into Your Mission Statement
Having a clear tagline or mission statement is a really great way to establish your brand presence right from the start. This will be one of the first pieces of literature your user will come across on your website, so making sure that it’s included in the design in a way that’s on-brand is an important step.
Your mission statement should reflect who you are and why you’re so passionate about the business you’ve created, as well as the customers you are serving. Keep your mission statement short, but concise, and make sure that you are speaking directly to your audience.
2. Develop a Value Proposition
A value proposition is an integral piece of any business. It establishes why someone should do business with you and how you are helping your client. Along with many other pieces of your branding, you should find ways to keep it consistent with your design and work it into your website’s in an organic way.
When creating a value proposition that’s authentic to your brand, start with your customer’s main pain point. Then, identify your primary solution and keep applying that again and again throughout your website to maintain consistency.
3. Maintain Your Brand’s Tone of Voice & Brand Personality
Being consistent and personable with your users is key to ensuring that the branding throughout your website design captivates them emotionally. Envisioning your brand as a person is a great way to make this happen organically.
For example, if your brand had a personality, what would it be? Would that person be serious and forthright? Would they be fun and bubbly or deep and thoughtful? Your brand elements will likely represent your brand personality. So, you need to make sure you’re bringing that consistency into your website copywriting.
4. Make It About Your User
Many people lose sight of their branding when designing a website because they forget who they’re actually building it for. Always think about your end-user as you go and use your website as an opportunity to speak directly to them.
With good branding and social media presence, they will get to know you over time. So, don’t worry about spending too much time talking about yourself. This is about the customer and you need to remember that, if you want to make a meaningful connection. Speak to their pain points and what are they struggling with. Remind them how you’ve helped others before and can do the same for them!
5. Include Calls to Action
Calls to Action (CTAs) are an integral piece of increasing user engagement. However, it’s important to remember that your CTA’s don’t have to be boring or generic!
Your Calls to Action are a great place for you to really showcase your website’s branding in a way that utilizes design elements such as colours, fonts, and tone of voice! This is an opportunity for you to have a little fun with your brand. So, speak directly to your user and let them know which steps to take in order to have the most meaningful experience.
6. Be Mindful of Your Logo Placement
Believe it or not, where you place your logo can have a big impact on how your page is perceived by your user. A simple go-to is placing your logo on both your header and your footer menu. However, depending on your branding, you may want your logo to be more evident in your website’s design or, in some cases, more discreet.
As an example, if your brand is a personal brand, and your name and branded elements are a major part of your brand identity, it can be good practice to incorporate those pieces many times throughout your website, making for a stronger brand presence.
7. Less Is More
Just because you have a 5-colour palette, 3 fonts, icons, and branded elements, doesn’t mean you necessarily need to use all of them in every aspect of your website’s design. Your brand elements have been thoughtfully created and can often stand alone, while still giving off that same effect.
As a general rule of thumb, we try to stick to using no more than two of our brand colours within each website frame. We also keep the branded elements and icons to a minimum, using them as abstract decoration, or to articulate a specific point.
8. Utilize White Space to Make Those Branded Elements Pop!
Even if you’ve decided to go with a brand that’s colourful and fun-loving, there’s still something to be said about embracing blank space. This is an excellent way to ensure that your branded efforts really stand out in the overall design of your website.
If you crowd the page with too many elements, you’ll likely end up disguising some of your content unintentionally. The best way to avoid this is by thoughtfully placing images, blocks of text, and decorative elements throughout your website.
9. Choose Fonts That Are Simple & Easy to Read
Even if your brand is edgy and modern or whimsical and handwritten, your fonts still need to be legible. Incorporating your brand's aesthetic into your website’s copy is important, but making sure your users are able to actually read that content is key.
If you’re concerned that your brand’s fonts will be too difficult to read, we recommend reserving those fonts for branded elements such as your logos or more decorative text snippets. For the rest of the website’s design, having a typeface that users can consume with ease will make a huge difference to their experience.
10. Keep Your Images on Brand
Visuals play a massive role in a customer’s first impression of your business. Because of this, it’s important that you design your website with images that are reflective of your branding goals.
The easiest way to do this is by creating a brand mood board (if you haven’t already). Then, consult with this guide each time you are selecting imagery for your website or preparing for a brand photoshoot.
You want to be sure that your images remain consistent in terms of colours, time of day, editing style, lighting, and point of view. You also want to make sure the images evoke the emotion you are hoping to emulate through your brand.
11. Keep the Branding Across All Pages and Platforms
This tip might be somewhat self-explanatory but it’s an important one to remember. Once you’ve established a look and feel for your brand in your social platforms and marketing materials, be sure