Why you shouldn’t wear your best friend’s dress, and other web design tips.

When I was in college my friends and I would often borrow each other’s clothes. Looking back at photos from those days, I know that wasn’t the best idea. My friend Dory is 5’8″ and Randi is 5’2″ so the clothes never fit quite right. But it was more than that. The style was wrong.

No matter how pretty I thought Dory’s ruffled print blouse looked on her, it always looked just a little silly on me. Even back then we each had our own personal style and some clothes matched the image we wanted to project and others did not.

Recently I saw how those style lessons apply to web design projects. We are working on a new web site for the Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market. Sara created a beautiful mock up, it was the prototypical market site. Cool, crisp, clean and modern with a glorious image of perfect food.


The problem? While it looked like a perfect farmer’s market, it didn’t look like the Broad Ripple Market. When we looked at the mockup something didn’t feel right. As we talked about the mockup  we realized the style was wrong.  If you have ever been to the Broad Ripple Market, you know that cool, crisp, clean and modern are just not words you would use to describe it.

The market is crowded and jumbled. The aisles are filled with shoppers, happy children, and dogs. There is a fun and friendly feeling as shoppers chat with each other and the merchants. None of that emotion or energy could be found in the original design. So Sara went back to the drawing board.


The cool sleek black and white was replaced with warm browns and textured beige tones. The single perfect image was replaced by a collage featuring food as well as the people and the pets which make a visit to the market special.

We know first time visitors are often curious about individual vendors so we added a section in the center of the home page with links to each of the product categories to help people plan their visit.

Curious to see how it turned out? The new site will be live when the market opens the first week in May.  Until then you will have to be content with just a sneak preview of the new face of the market:


What is your web design style.

If you are thinking about a redesign of your website, take some time to think about your style. It is easy to fall in love with a cool theme and try to put it on your brand. Don’t do that. Instead of forcing your brand to fit some preexisting mold, think about your core brand. How do you want people to think about you?

What words do you want to come to mind? Smart, sophisticated, comfortable, trustworthy, casual, professional, helpful, fashionable, affordable?  You can’t have all those words. Which ones are most relevant for you. When you define your brand position clearly, it is easier to decide how your brand should look. Instead of trying to wear something built for another brand, find the design which is the perfect fit for you.

What else should you ask before you start working on your next web design? Download our web design planning guide and find out.