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  • Writer's picturebrucefenske

Are your website aesthetics pleasing and up to date?

Most people are naturally drawn to beauty and delight. If your website doesn't look great or the experience feels awkward, your visitors will know it, and may be turned off. Of course, keeping your text current and engaging is important. But, the cliche "a picture is worth a thousand words" is true. So paying close attention to your logo, your colors, photos, illustrations, icons, infographics, and other visual elements is vital.

The brand identity or logo

Your brand (what people think about you or your business when you're not there) is represented by a name, and a symbol, or a mark — most often referred to as a logo. If you can only choose one aesthetic element to update, choose your logo. This is often the first image your audience sees when exposed to your brand identity. Your logo should represent your identity in the best way — the same way you'd present yourself on a first date.

Some people will have strong opinions about logos — what they like or don't like. The key to a great logo is that it captures the essence of your story. It may or may not include the name, but it must be the most simple and quickly recognizable image — boiled down to its essence. No less. No more. Be certain it's well-designed and reflects your personality.

Color my world

What color(s) should your brand identity or logo be? You may have a favorite color. Is that the right color to use? There's no simple answer. But because color has such an impact, you might want to use color psychology to find out. The act of choosing color is creative yet scientific. Some colors look better together than others, and some colors represent different things from others.

The best colors for your brand are colors that visually connect with the benefits or experience of your business, are appealing to your ideal customers, and are distinct from your competition. Also, be consistent by applying your brand colors throughout your site in the navigation, the illustrations, the background, etc.

Photography and illustration

On your website, the photography is almost as important as the logo, because it fills in the story. Your brand identity is who you are AND what you offer. So generally, you can think of the logo as the who, and the photos as the what. Your photos should portray your identity — whether it's technical, whimsical, dangerous, or sporty — and be of the highest quality. Blurry, poorly-lit photos or screen captures from your phone reflect poorly on your brand.

If you don't have access to representative photography, use illustrations. They're just as good or sometimes better at filling in the story. A good illustrator can create something specific for you that might be impossible to capture in a photo. Be sure to consider the style of the illustrations, because they must also portray your identity.

Icons, infographics, and more, oh my!

A good story needs supporting characters. Website icons are the characters people will lean on to accomplish their tasks. If they have questions, they may be looking for your chat icon. When they're ready to make a purchase, they'll be looking for your shopping cart icon. Whatever the icon, make sure it's easy to find. Keeping all your icons the same size and style for sake of consistency and ease of use, will provide a more seamless user experience.

Website infographics are prime storytelling devices. Have you ever been in a meeting where the person talking starts drawing on a notepad or white board to explain their point? Some concepts are difficult to convey without a conceptual infographic. The challenge in this case is to simplify the complex, while still offering clarity.

Other elements like lines or patterns, backgrounds or fills, can be applied to render your design complete. But don't overdo it. For example, using boxes or lines to separate your text may add noise so it becomes more difficult to consume. Aesthetics should always enhance and never distract. And leave room for white space so your design can breathe.

The way it looks and feels

If you focus your attention on the logo, colors, imagery, and the rest, you may still end up with a website that doesn't have the right look and feel. Design is very subjective. For example, you could place all the most amazing furniture in your home, but the overall look and feel is off. If that's the case, it may be time to hire a good interior designer. The same goes with your website. A fresh set of eyes will often bring the clarity you need.

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