Understanding visual communication and applying it to your website and branding design can make or break your branding success. Below are 8 visual communication ways to help you make your web design great and goes into a lot more design detail then our article about starting a small business website. There’s lots of other things to consider as you go but if you get these basics right you’re on your way to a winning design.
1.Choosing your colour scheme
Colours are the first thing that people notice. This can usually be the decisive factor which determines if someone will read more into brand. An official colour scheme that is repeated throughout your branding will help people start associating it with your business. Think about some of the more famous brands and how they have used colours to associate your thoughts with their business. McDonalds and the golden arches on red background, simple yet powerful. Facebook, white logo on blue background, again simple yet memorable.
When deciding on your colour scheme start with something simple a few shades and 1 to 2 power colours that you will use for drawing customers attention to certain products or pieces of information. The colour choices you make will have a big impact on the hierarchy of your user interface (UI) and branding material. You don’t want to use the power colours for all areas of your design otherwise nothing will stand out and remember to start with simple and clear colour designs, it’s easy to build on it later down the track.
When colouring your UI or advertising material try to get into a rhythm and keep it consistent. There is nothing more annoying then different coloured links and buttons all over the place. Pick a power colour for links and another for call to action items and don’t be afraid to experiment with shades. And even though its hard try not to get inspiration from your competitors, you want to stand out and be different remember.
2. Picking the right typography
When it comes to typography you need to look at fonts that are aligned with your branding philosophy. Don’t forget that with mobile devices your font needs to be responsive to the layout and easy to read no matter if it’s on a phone or computer screen. Like your colour scheme you can have a hero font used for headings that is like a piece of art and a more easy to read font for your paragraphs but try to keep them fairly reserved if your trying to display a more professional organisation and you want your audience to focus more on the information rather than how it looks.
3. Working through your layout
People view (skim) websites and advertising material in a similar way. As a designer you need to ensure that you design your layout to take into consideration the way people skim your website. You need to follow general rules of practice when adding hero images and text to ensure that it works to maximum effect and then as time goes alter your site to guide users to particular sections where you want to give them important details about your business, products etc.
Always consider the use of shapes and their placement within your design. The brain automatically processes shapes before people realise so it’s important that their use and placement be thought out. Every item in your design must have a place that adds to the natural design feel and is pleasing to the viewer/user. Following a hierarchy will ensure that you don’t clutter your website or design material and if you intend to stray from design principles then make sure it assists the user rather than disturbing the feel of your design
4. Adding empty or negative spaces
This topic is closely related to the layout topic above but I decided to place it separate because it really is important to the visual communication success of your website/design. White space is not a bad thing. Don’t think you have to fill every pixel of your design. Negative space allows users to pinpoint important information and allows you to drive users towards your more key elements. Cramped web pages are usually the quickest way to lose viewers who don’t have time to scroll through everything on your site until they find what they are after.
5. Balancing your design
Imagine that your design/website represents scales. Would you consider your design evenly balanced? A balanced design is like having the correct spelling and grammar in a sentence. Unbalanced designs can become difficult to handle as a user because our minds are trained to balance things whether we actually focus on it or not it happens. So when designing make sure your designs are balanced. If images are to the right or lefts balance them with text or vice versa and if it’s hard to balance simply centre your content or place in even columns.
6. Adding illustrations and images
A picture is worth a thousand words. This is so true especially when you’re trying to connect with someone in 9 seconds. That’s right, the average web surfer takes 9 seconds to decide if they find your site interesting. This isn’t really enough time to read anything in detail which means your visual communication design and images are they key to keeping them on your website. Make sure the images and illustrations you use in your website and designs are reflective of what you’re selling/ your business is about. This should align with your target market and don’t be afraid to change as your business/season changes. There’s nothing worse than a great design with outdated images, especially if their products I can’t get from your website.
7. Using icons and symbols (iconography)
There are thousands of icons and symbols that you can use through your designs, this doesn’t mean you should. Icons and symbols need to be easy to decipher and again be representative of your business. There’s no point adding in some icon you think looks cool and using it on buttons or around your website which had no significance to anything. Like images the purpose of icons and symbols must be clear and can work great where the target market understand them, otherwise if it created uncertainty sick to text.
8. Simplifying the overall result
Less is more. We have all experienced websites where you feel overwhelmed by too much going on. All those images and text everywhere it feels like there’s no breathing room. There is nothing worse than looking at website on a mobile phone overloaded with text, can’t make sense of anything, especially when I’m in a hurry. Use negative space like a pause in a speech. It gives people time to take in your information. Don’t be afraid to take things out of your design as you review it and start with your minimum viable product (MVP).
9. Visual communication conclusion
So there you have it, 8 ways to boost your visual communication design for your websites and if all else fails dont be afraid to call in the professionals. As a designer our job is to make the whole process a lot easier for you by taking your creative throughts and being able to combine them with our design skills to hopefully come up with a winning combination. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us we are happy to chat anytime. I would love to hear your thoughts or any other strategies you use for winning at your website visual communications.