What is your brand? How does your current web design reflect it? I hear small business owners ask for two things most frequently when they talk about designing a new website.
First, they want it to be easy to use. Well, of course. As web designers and marketing professionals, we want your website to be easy to use too.
But secondly, and more prickly, small business owners want their website to match their branding. Often they’ve recently revised their logo and the old website no longer matches their new brochures and vehicle graphics.
Here’s the catch: your brand is not just your logo.
A new web design will seriously stretch the branding of your small business. It needs new graphic design and identifies important gaps in your collection of brand assets. Websites demand matching icons, photos, three to four on-brand color options, patterns and wallpapers and other nuances.
How does Roundpeg go from get-to-know-you to getting-ready-to-launch with a new website that matches your brand? Let’s start with the introduction.
Getting to Know You
In Your Dreams: We check out your current site and sponge up everything about your brand for instant and total understanding.
In Reality: We ask you to fill out a questionnaire and we meet for an hour to talk in a kickoff meeting. And we keep growing in our knowledge all along the way.
The introduction really begins while the sales process is still going on. Getting your needs and wish-list sorted out are some of the most important introductory questions. The questionnaire helps us ask questions about your audience, your current website traffic and your goals for the future. We review all of this in a formal kickoff meeting.
But I’ve still really just met you. Once you share your branding guide and design assets, the mind-meld really starts.
Share All The Branding You Have
In Your Dreams: First, you email me a single logo file. Second, we wave a magic wand to create thousands of dollars in all-new, additional branding elements.
In Reality: You email me a single logo file and I ask for more examples. Maybe there’s more, maybe you even already have a sweet icon set! Or maybe a basic logo is all you’ve got so far and we stop the web project and recommend that you do a branding project first.
Yikes! What? Yes, remember all the ways a web design can stretch your branding? We’re living in times where customers are used to finely polished brands from global companies like Apple, Ikea and Airbnb. They seem to be everywhere and look great doing it. Even if you’re not competing with them directly in the market, you are competing directly for attention.
It’s no good stumbling through a web design if you don’t a have solid, complete set of 21st century branding assets to start with. Do that first. Please! But if you’re ready to go and see what brand looks like in a new web design, the next step is creating a homepage mockup.
Roundpeg Drafts a Web Design Mockup
In Your Dreams: We spend a happy hour clicking and dragging elements into place, our mouse hand guided by the invisible spirit of your brand.
In Reality: We pore over the kickoff meeting notes and the branding and marketing examples you shared. We sketch possible layouts and collaborate with a writer to produce recommended headlines and buttons. Our designer uses a starter file to build the basic elements, filling in our proposed content along the way. We customize and polish every inch for a good fit.
In the end, this mockup is just a proposal. You still have to review it and tell me what’s wrong and right.
The Web Design Mockup Review
In Your Dreams: You open your email to see the mockup file and just clap your hands from pure joy. “Huzzah!” you shout. You decide it’s perfect in every way and a single tear of pure joy rolls gently down your cheek. Later, you will print and frame a screenshot. It will hang on the wall with your family portraits.
In Reality: You might have to say, “Umm, that’s not really me.” That’s cool. Really! Tell us right now before we make another move and we’ll work until we find the right track.
The mockup review is an important exploration of different ways your new web design will use and adapt your branding. Chances are pretty good we’ll miss something or need to tweak it for you.
Know your brand and keep us on track!
As the web design process continues, we’ll continually ask you to check on the development site. You’ll have an opportunity at every step to make corrections. Because you’ll always know your brand better than us. It’s you. We can’t be you, but we can help you. Share specific feedback and be willing to revisit the drawing board with us in an engaged conversation that builds both your website and your brand.
Take advantage of our inclusive process and when it’s finally time to launch, your new website will truly fit you.