If you want your websites to stand out from a sea of competitors, the easiest way to accomplish this is to give it a little personality. As web designers, we have the capability to tap into this human trait through well-conceived designs that forge an emotional connection with the visitor. How is this attribute achieved? In this article I will present ways you can inject personality into your web designs and create a memorable business solution for your client.
The visual language of a website plays a pivotal role in its personality. Is your site clean and minimal or bold and eye-catching? The way you define your website will help you in creating an effective visual language. Visual language is expressed by:
- type choices
- color usage
- the overall design style
To better understand the potential of this trait, take a look at the following two corporate websites and how their visual language is defined through the above attributes. While neither of them is better than the other, you can pick up how the designer expressed the company’s vision through the site.
Capegemini presents a clean, slick visual language. The color blue is used predominately throughout the site – a good choice as it represents protection and wisdom – something a user is looking for in visiting this site.
Red Brick Health takes a softer approach on their website, choosing illustration to convey personality. The result is a feeling of warmth – an attribute visitors respond favorably to in visiting this health website.
Color is a powerful tool that can affect our senses and be associated with feelings and ideas. It’s said that reds, oranges, and yellows are associated with hunger, excitement, and warmth while cool colors such as blue and purple evoke calmness and serenity. These feelings are tied to the overall experience we have with a brand and factor in largely to the decision making process.
Adding textures too can alter colors – a roughly textured surface makes a color seem darker, while a smooth surface lightens the same color.
Consider the following feelings evoked by the corresponding color:
- Red – Energy, strength, passion
- Pink – Romance, love, friendship, femininity,
- Orange – warmth, energy, balance, enthusiasm,
- Brown – friendships, special events, earth,
- Gold – wealth, god, winning, safety, masculine power,
- Yellow – sun, intelligence, light, accelerated learning,
- Green – earth mother, physical healing, monetary success,
- Blue – good fortune, communication, wisdom, protection,
- Purple : influence, third eye, psychic ability, spiritual power,
- White : spirituality, goddess, peace, higher self, purity,
- Silver : glamour, distinguished, high-tech, industrial,
- Grey : security, reliability, intelligence, staid, modesty,
- Black : protection, repelling negativity, binding,
The social networking site Twitter has designed a look and feel for their site to make visitors feel at ease. The color blue is a nice choice here, as it enhances productivity and makes you feel relaxed and trusting. It’s no surprise that a lot of companies use blue when designing their logos.
Atmosphere contributes a lot to one’s emotions. When you walk into a restaurant or café, you’re probably formulating in your head impressions you have about the particular establishment. The same is true for the web. Atmosphere is created through a number of elements including color, texture and organization. Whether fun and family friendly or elegant and professional, the atmosphere should give the viewer a taste of what your business has to offer.
When you think of coffee shop websites and how they engage users you may think of close-up shots of coffee or large static images of customers enjoying the atmosphere. The designers of Melitta knew this and made some intelligent decisions to really push the environment of the shop. What better way to get the user involved in your product then by putting them into the scene?
Melitta redefines what it’s like to enjoy coffee by putting us at eye level with the rest of the shop patron’s, making us feel included and like we’re enjoying the coffee ourselves. With a large view of the shop’s exterior and by watching the patrons move and enjoy the experience, we are given an insight into the culture and experience of Melitta before we even step foot in the door.
Texture is another element used in design to evoke a feeling and contribute to the overall experience. If used correctly it can evoke memories – the emotional reaction of seeing a texture can conjure up images of how we felt about it when first experiencing it.
Designing a Website with Personality
- Incorporate original and unique graphics. Through large or slightly quirky graphics you can help your website stand out from the competition.
- Use confident opening statements, catchphrases and/or interesting summaries to catch the attention of your audience. Most visitors will only read a small percentage of text on any given page, so use original language to emphasize your differences.
- Keep things organized. If a visitor can’t see past the first page due to untidy navigation, chances are they won’t stay around much longer after that.
- Experiment with non-traditional color combinations. You want to user to feel engaged, but keep readability in the back of your mind too.
As designers we have the ability to think outside pure functionality concerns and creating websites that forge emotional bonds with the viewer. Of course, you should have a solid strategy in place for what the site will achieve, but personality is one way of helping your design cut through the clutter and reap rewards for your clients. What are some ways you show personality in your web designs?