Corporate Identity

A friend of ours recently posted an old photo of himself in a turquoise and pink Miami Vice-style blazer with the caption: “It was a phase.” What made it funny was that anyone who knows him could tell you that he was always more of a theater nerd than a man about town.

People want to put on a persona that they believe looks visually attractive and helps them get noticed. And although the attractiveness of 1980s fashion is a debate better suited for another time, it’s relevant to the choices businesses make when they design their websites: often, they put visuals first, even if those visuals clash with who they are.

Every business wants a fabulous-looking website, a striking logo, an effective color palette, a custom design that says, “You want to do business with us!” But don’t rush headlong into choosing the look of your site. Just as your personal style should display who you really are, your website needs to reflect your corporate identity. Your first step, before designing your website, is clearly defining that identity.

A Corporate Identity Is the Core Essence of a Company

Your corporate identity is made up of your values, your mission, who you are, and the clients you seek. Your website design should be the visual interpretation of that identity, so it’s important to think through the assorted pieces. When someone hires us to design or revise a website, we don’t talk about the visuals until we’ve mapped out the corporate identity because identity and visual brand are interconnected pieces that tell your story.

Story and Character Are Important Parts of Your Brand

The story you tell should appeal to your right-fit clients, whoever that may be: successful hedge-fund managers, wealthy retirees, or recently married couples in the tech industry. Based on your right-fit client, your story may be about your years of experience and reliance on safe, traditional approaches, or it may be about the way you embrace the latest practices and technologies.

Storytelling isn’t just the words you use; your website design also tells a story. Fonts can express traditional values, a modern attitude, or ease and simplicity. Some color palettes express cool confidence, while others generate excitement. Colors, images, and the use of white space all send messages in a way that isn’t as obvious as your words. If the story you tell in your messaging is different from the story told by your visuals, the whole message becomes murky. But if your visual brand matches your corporate identity and the authentic core of your business, it creates a clear, unwavering sense of who you are for your potential clients.

Your Website Can Create or Undermine Trust

Recently we met a client who we found warm and approachable, but their website felt cold and corporate—that’s a confusing message that undermines trust. If someone’s met you in person, it can be jarring if your website gives off an entirely different impression. And if someone visits your site before meeting you, a confusing layout or a logo that looks like it was created in the 90s can instantly turn visitors off, and they’ll carry that impression into any in-person interactions they may have with you.

In addition to the visuals and messaging, your site should use best practices that show your professionalism and trustworthiness. We’re amazed at how often professionals who live or die on a client’s trust don’t have an SSL certificate to make their site secure. Even if you don’t transact business or take information through your website, you want people to see that you always take security and privacy issues seriously.

Be Consistent With Your Identity

Once you have a clear corporate identity and a strong, coherent visual brand, commit to it. Apply the results to all your marketing efforts: ensure that your business cards, letterhead, ads, blog posts, and newsletters are consistent in visuals and messaging. A consistent brand voice and style sends a powerful message of authenticity and professionalism: that what you see is what you get.

If you struggle with any of these components to build a cohesive brand, get in touch. We will help you find your authentic corporate identity and the visual brand to match. And we promise you, that will never be a turquoise and pink blazer.

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