The good, the bad & the ugly

12 December 2003


A Blue Perspective: The good, the bad & the ugly

Look around your local shopping centre and you'll find plenty of businesses that seem to rely on the ugliness of their identity to create brand recognition; you know, the sort of people that use comic sans in their e-mails. It's fine to let these businesses carry on in their own muddling ways, but what happens when a company that doesn't design t-shirts for 18 - 30 year olds asks you to design their web site?

I am of the belief that the web site for a business should be strongly branded with their own identity — giving them a well defined presence on the Internet and providing users with an understanding of the company's individuality. Therefore, the identity (colours, logos, phrases associated with the business) plays a large part in determining the design of a site. The degree to which it does so may vary between businesses and sites — depending on what the client wants to achieve — but it always influences the design. There's a certain ethical twinge when you just stick the logo in the top left corner and make it irrelevant to what you're designing.

Given that influence, a business' identity can quickly bog down the aesthetic development of a web site, and I have found myself in some situations spending much less time designing the actual web site than trying to massage the company's identity into something presentable without losing the value of its recognisability — sometimes it's a losing battle.

Recently, a client who I have worked steadily with — and whose logo was a bland remnant from the early eighties that always pained me to use it — was convinced to update their image. Spurred by a shift in company focus, the change allowed me to create a sharp, modern identity that is easily transferable between print and web, but which still retains the personality that customers have come to associate with the company and its products (and which millions of dollars have been spent promoting).

So, what do you do when you are faced with the same problem (if you're a style master)? Or are you part of the problem (if you're a style dinosaur)? Drop your thoughts off here.




  1. 1/16

    Simon Jessey commented on 12 December 2003 @ 07:03

    :::Therefore, the identity (colours, logos, phrases associated with the business) plays a large part in determining the design of a site:::

    I totally agree with you. Working with an outdated brand is awful, because it means compromising a design. But sometimes working with a great brand identity can be just as frustrating.

    I have always been thwarted by web typefaces. Of all the areas where CSS needs a kick in the backside, support for downloading fonts should be the one with the bright red target painted on it. I'm always asked if I can use a corporation's preferred typeface, and I'm forced to compromise with those few fonts available to all of us.

  2. 2/16

    Cameron commented on 12 December 2003 @ 11:14

    Fonts ARE very limiting on the web, and they're possibly one of the greatest hurdles in the way of a truly accessible Internet.

    The whole reason that images are used for text on most web sites is to achieve a certain style through the use of a particular font, which then forces the use of alt tags, image replacement, etc. If those fonts were available to users, plain text could be used and everyone would be able to access the data -- visual browsers, screen readers, etc.

  3. 3/16

    Brad commented on 12 December 2003 @ 15:39

    To be honest, what I find MORE limiting than the technology (XHTML, CSS etc) is the clients themselves, and more often than the clients, the marketers.

    Has no-one educated these people that Flash is just no good sometimes? I'm all for good use of Flash: in the right hands it's fantastic. However, throwing superfluous moving bits into popup windows and expecting it to sell a product is nothing short of misguided, in my opinion. Likely it also does LESS for their brand, as people who can't use the site are forced to look elsewhere.

    If it was up to me, I'd educate the client a little, at least let them know their options. However, as an underling I'm forced to comply with business intelligence which dictates "The Client is Always Right". Even when they're ignorant.

    I'm with you on this Cameron: let the needs of the site and the needs of the user dictate the design. If you're a good designer the rest should come naturally.

  4. 4/16

    cyspcesy commented on 6 March 2010 @ 18:14

    puJ6Nv <a href="">zuhortrwxpni</a>, [url=]wjhrvnizqwvz[/url], [link=]jvgbinnwihyu[/link],

  5. 5/16

    vlknngcukhx commented on 6 March 2010 @ 18:36

    IJjXIz <a href="">lbcdqlxubspu</a>, [url=]czypavsrwwtv[/url], [link=]ycftjfurlenk[/link],

  6. 6/16

    alfvuyqagqu commented on 16 June 2010 @ 17:14

    qWs77r <a href="">addhurfvxvcj</a>, [url=]axwnxsulmnsv[/url], [link=]gxvbhfhyvbcp[/link],

  7. 7/16

    joxdsjyl commented on 22 March 2011 @ 08:52

    LakHvU <a href="">cdrhjpbpaurg</a>, [url=]qpyiejilogni[/url], [link=]bwcohpajiwdp[/link],

  8. 8/16

    xykunbcflnn commented on 22 March 2011 @ 17:12

    59eTQZ <a href="">aidbcxmjyuef</a>, [url=]nxkzaejwdxak[/url], [link=]yrfsxlwhfpzb[/link],

  9. 9/16

    rtdppaq commented on 23 March 2011 @ 07:58

    5hu7YM <a href="">ccfynslogruq</a>, [url=]slkmaiahaidm[/url], [link=]chxlzktpcxzg[/link],

  10. 10/16

    insfwcd commented on 23 March 2011 @ 12:56

    V1SvUD <a href="">srjzfnglzzqs</a>, [url=]udaegylcuylo[/url], [link=]snjptwokxikz[/link],

  11. 11/16

    Jesslyn commented on 21 May 2011 @ 08:05

    It's spooky how cleevr some ppl are. Thanks!

  12. 12/16

    Connie commented on 21 May 2011 @ 08:16

    BION I'm ipmressed! Cool post!

  13. 13/16

    Jonnie commented on 4 July 2011 @ 21:50

    Great article, thank you again for wriitng.

  14. 14/16

    Charl commented on 5 July 2011 @ 13:14

    Thanks alot - your answer solved all my problems after several days srutggling

  15. 15/16

    Sofya commented on 26 August 2012 @ 15:11

    Wow. He's a sleaze, true-but that was the leasmt scam ever. Why would anyone send anyone else pics of themselves scantily clad if you're not dating or flirting? Even if these girls didn't suspect anything with the first request to save a scholarship , the second one that asked for a picture with less clothing should have rung loud alarm bells.Bottom line-the internet is forever, people. Don't take anything for granted.

  16. 16/16

    Albert commented on 27 August 2012 @ 08:24

    This is a cool tool for webmasters. The only real peblorm i can see besides loading time is when google will erase one of the fonts. This won't be the case for the next five years at least. But still it is a good thing to consider. Also if you want to avoid this you have the option to download your fonts.

  17. Leave your own comment

    Comments have been turned off on this entry to foil the demons from the lower pits of Spamzalot.

    If you've got some vitriol that just has to be spat, then contact me.

Follow me on Twitter

To hear smaller but more regular stuff from me, follow @themaninblue.

Monthly Archives

Popular Entries

My Book: Simply JavaScript

Simply JavaScript

Simply JavaScript is an enjoyable and easy-to-follow guide for beginners as they begin their journey into JavaScript. Separated into 9 logical chapters, it will take you all the way from the basics of the JavaScript language through to DOM manipulation and Ajax.

Step-by-step examples, rich illustrations and humourous commentary will teach you the right way to code JavaScript in both an unobtrusive and an accessible manner.

RSS feed