They are two seemingly interlinked jobs: a website is often called the shop window to a company. Why shouldn’t it be designed by the branding agency who are in charge of every other part of the visual identity of the company?
Quite often, however, the website design proposed by the branding agent is surprisingly old-school, despite the rest of the material being very fresh.
This is probably a result of graphic designers having the view in the back of their minds that the brand needs to ‘fit’ onto the material it’s on – whether it’s shop signs, letterheads and in this case, the internet. The problem is the experts in these materials are advancing with their technologies faster than the designers can cope with. And who could blame them: it’s pretty hard to be master of all trades.
But any graphic designer worth their salt would be in discussion with the tradesmen of these different medium to get the best results and as such their proposals cannot be set in concrete.
It is up to the web designer to work with the graphic designer (brand designer). I would even suggest the client encourages this: remember these guys are experts at their relevent trades – no one knows better.
With collaboration, the client gets better results, and the designers learn a little bit about each others’ trade.
It’s good to get this right. In fact, in this age, it’s vital. With your website, app etc. people are essentially carrying your brand around in their pocket, and it’s fighting for attention. Image does matter. But so does usability, accessibility and so on.
Coping with Trends in Design
Trends in Brand design and Web design don’t always correlate. This website documents what is current in brand design. And you can see how the web has changed.
One thing that is significant, though, is advances in web technology means that there is much more flexibility to design closer to the brand: in particular, fonts. With browsers rendering text better than ever, much better CSS support for advanced text features as well as the ability now to use any font you can afford, it is not the rigid medium it used to be.
Support for gradients, rounded corners, even the ability to rotate items on a page without a single image adds even more possibility and maybe something closer to how the graphic designer wishes the website could look.
Also less rigid is Screen Size. It can be anything. Enter Responsive Web Design (RWD). Your and it’s the same powerful technology that gives us this possibility. With a strong visual identity there’s no reason it can’t translate across different devices (and material) with consistency.
So, graphic designers, web designers, can’t we be friends? Let’s work together. It’s all for the greater good.