09 Jun In a world of potatoes, be a pineapple
After spending a number of hours looking at competitors’ websites for a client the other night, I started to get weary. There really is only so much information a brain can take in before it decides to pack up and go home! I admit I was getting visual fatigue from all the stimulation. And all the visual elements encountered on my search.
The design process is quite intensive in that way. As part of developing a client’s point of difference, looking at competitor’s websites can provide insight into how a client can ‘stand out’ visually. How do we grab a prospective client’s attention?
And, really, this is likely how your prospective clients are feeling when they are trawling the web, looking for businesses that provide the products or services that they need. At some point, all the websites will blur together. And it will be hard to make a visual impact on a potential customer.
A website that stops you in your tracks
In that case, imagine the most visually refreshing website is the next tab that you open. You are presented with a picture of a pineapple, with so much white space, that your brain instantly feels refreshed. Within the first five seconds, you are amused and interested in the person behind the website. And for this reason, you scroll down to learn more.
Whatever you do, I believe that you want to be that pineapple. Your website should be so refreshing that a person who has spent hours looking at features and pricing of similar products, suddenly wakes up and takes notice. These kinds of visual elements will help your potential client to remember your brand. And will encourage your potential customer to explore a little deeper into your website and hopefully take some action.
As you want your potential customer to find out more about your products or services, and to remember your brand and come back again, it is important to have a website design that has a real point of difference from the other competitors in your industry. That is my job as a web designer. Or the job that I will collaborate with other graphic designers on, to develop a visually distinct website. The aim is to make the customer stop and take notice.
A word on pineapples
There is a caveat here. While refreshing, I am not sure pineapple is the most harmonious visual image to use in the industry I was researching. For full disclosure, I should say that I was looking at other web designer and web developer websites. My aim was to try and find Fizbits Web’s visual point of difference. I started drafting this blog post on Saturday night. On reflection, it seems that a pineapple is an incongruous, and dare I say discordant image related to the search I was making.
I saw the pineapple at the end of a long night of research. It is refreshing and different. But on a Monday afternoon, I also believe that the visual point of difference should be something that is related or harmonious with your product or service. This is important from the point of view of branding. Your visual elements will make your users FEEL something. You want that feeling to be harmonious with your product or service and to say something about your brand.
Think about a pineapple, and then think about graphic design. . . Am I right?
By all means refreshing – the visual elements of design
And so, I think the aim is to find a visual design strategy that is visually refreshing in the context of the dozens of websites your potential customer has looked at (or will look at), AND harmonious with your brand – that inspires a feeling inside that is sympathetic to your products and services. That is one of the benefits of having a style guide and developing an overall visual strategy. It should also be used in other areas that you represent yourself visually, such as email marketing or social media, like Instagram.
What is the most refreshing and surprising website that you have seen lately? Tell us in the comments!