Guess Who? Branding + Web Design
Branding and web design take the guesswork out of the equation and work together to define your organization’s identity. Let’s face it: Getting your name known today is not easy. We live in a media-rich culture that is so juiced on media hype and buzz that most companies and organizations are drowned out as background noise. Branding and Web Design are tools to help you stand out from the crowd.
Your branding is the face of the organization that your donors and clients meet, from receiving their very first introduction to the organization to being intrigued enough to step past the foyer and engage with your organization’s products and services. Branding is the “Hello, my name is” sticker for your organization. It’s the logo that people associate with your organization. Your logo is multi-dimensional; it includes the design, layout, and colors of the image, along with a catchy tagline. Your logo follows you everywhere you go – it’s on your sign, your vehicles, your brochures, your correspondence; it’s everywhere you are.
Branding is the first step to name recognition, and the first thing people associate with your organization. If your logo is outdated and unappealing, then the first impression you make is outdated and unappealing. It’s good practice to review your branding every few years and evaluate its effectiveness. Today, nothing sits still for long; people are always on the move. By keeping a fresh look and making sure your message stays focused and relevant, you are ensuring that your branding is working hard for you. If your branding is wearing yesterday’s outdated fashions then it’s getting lost in the shuffle, and you’re losing valuable business opportunities. A fresh new idea and theme can bring your branding back to the forefront again.
After a juiced-up logo, your website design is your next strategic identifier. It’s the adjoining partner when it comes to taking the guesswork out of your identity. Your website is the hub where a large number of your potential donors and clients are gathering to find out who you are and what you can do for them. Your design needs to incorporate your branding, but also expand upon it, taking clients and donors past the “Hello, my name is” foyer and showing you to the living room where they can engage wtih your products and services.
Web design is often oversimplified. It’s not a quick easy setup and go, instead, it’s creating an environment that is eye-catching, inviting, and useful to your donors, volunteers and potential clients. With your web design and layout you are building an experience, not just a quick handshake. Web design always starts with your branding and logo when it comes to the look and feel, but then it expands to usability and purpose. Your design needs to be easy to navigate and highly functional, bringing your visitors to a point of decision and a point of action. Your layout should make it easy for your visitors to get where they need to go with as few of steps as possible and it should be filled to the brim with updated content that is valuable, motivating and intriguing. Web design entails not only images and color, but also functionality and purpose.
So, it’s time for your organization to get noticed. Remove the guesswork from your identity by strategically focusing on your signature branding and a top-notch web design. This branding and design doesn’t happen automatically. You must be intentional. In today’s competitive digital media age, you want to stand out. And no matter what anyone says, first impressions do count, so make your impression really count — and don’t keep them guessing!
Written by Graphic Artist and Web Developer Kally Stehouwer for the Spring 2016 edition of MNA Links, with contributions from Sandra Beach, Creative Division Manager, and Michelle Lefeve, Executive Director.