Tag Archives: branding

Designing for Print vs. Digital Media: Feel the Difference Based on the Viewers’ Impression

Web design tips

Design projects may have different kinds of purposes. Whether it is a brochure design, web design, or even interior design, each has different purposes as to why it should be done. However, design has one thing in common when it comes to aim; clients’ satisfaction. Yes, every designer must have a design and practical thinking to a certain extent before diving into a project, because they should also think in clients’ perspective about how a design should be done. In this article, we are going to discuss about the difference between designing for print and designing for digital media. Keep reading to find out.

Viewers’ engagement

The interaction between your viewers and your design is expressed in a different way when it comes to screen and print. For digital mediums, you want to make sure your design is easily accessible, usable, navigable, intuitive and clear while entertaining at the same time. Also, many users arrive in a digital space with a particularly informative goal in mind. When you design for these users, your work should function to facilitate their goal in browsing so that they can get all the information they want to know without having to bounce from the space immediately after entry. In the digital world, there is actual data that can show how effective your design is. For this reason, there is often a statistical element at work alongside the creative design process.

However, in printed mediums, the environmental conditions of how a viewer will find your work can really depend on location and function. Sometimes it is unknown whether they will find your work or not, which can result in these questions; “Will they find my design?” or “Is it seen when they pass by?” or even “Will they even touch my design?”

Senses

Printed mediums give you the opportunity to engage viewers on a physical level. Aside from thinking about the imagination of what you design, you should also consider many of the physical aspects of the printing process. When it comes to printed designs, you should also consider the texture and weight of the paper, foam core or canvas print material. Embossed lettering and design is another way to evoke both visual complexity and the sense of touch.

As for digital designs, we may use our fingers to work on scrolling while viewing a digital design, but it doesn’t give you a sense of touch – it will only let you see visuals. That being said, you can use video and music so you can evoke emotions from your viewers both in audio and visual. Interactive elements can also work to simulate an immersive experience with your design.

That’s how you can feel the difference between printed designs and digital designs. Whether you need it or not, it all depends on your company’s needs. However, when you decide to choose one of them; at least try to make it when the time is right. For example, you are joining a relevant seasonal event to your business; you might want to design brochures to let people know what you are up to in this event. Try to make it more appealing with a choice of paper that can make it more unique and different even though it is just a brochure.

The Professional and the Personal: The Differences between B2B and B2C Web Design

web design for b2b and b2c

Until our A.I. overlords takes over the world, businesses are all about people. The disappearing milk bars, once a ubiquitous feature of the Australian suburbs, cater to people. Large multinational banks cater both retail customers and corporate clients. But you know what’s behind those large corporations? More people. B2B and B2C marketing aren’t diametrically opposed to each other like the Montagues and the Capulets, they’re more akin to first cousins once removed.

Understanding the subtle and the obvious differences between the two is a critical factor in marketing. While there are a lot of similarities between B2B and B2C marketing, the balance between the subjective and objective varies between B2C, B2B and companies that cater to both. In web design, now considered to be the frontline and most important part of marketing, these differences manifest themselves in a number of different ways.

The tone and aesthetics

The basic difference is of course, the look and feel of the website itself. B2B websites are usually sanitized, adopting a cooler color tones and minimalist design. B2C websites on the other hand is usually loaded with personality, especially those targeting a younger demographic.

For a direct example, take a look at the website for MSI, a Taiwanese company specializing in computer hardware for both retail and enterprise customers. The main page for retail products is heavily stylized, featuring personalized fonts and colorful banners with a black background and splashes of red. By contrast, the main page for enterprise products is heavily muted, adopting a clean and minimalist design with only the banner displaying multiple colors, which are nowhere near as eye-catching as the one from the retail page.

The call to action

If you’ve ever been in the middle of a tendering process or have worked in a procurement division, you know how laborious business purchases can be. Even for relatively small purchases, the process of bargaining with a vendor can take quite a while. B2B marketing is a slow and methodical process and as such, B2B marketing is usually independent of the sales department, compared to how B2C marketing practically doubles as the sales department.

In web design, this translates to the prominent of the call to action button in product pages. For example, take a look at this page for one of Juniper’s core routers and compare that to this page for Microsoft’s latest Surface Pro tablet-notebook hybrid. You can’t just go and buy Juniper’s routers but look at how the ‘Request a Quote’ button is placed compared to the prominence of the ‘Buy Now’ button in the page for the Surface Pro. In B2B marketing, closing the deal is usually not part of the job description.

Differentiating between choosers and users

In B2B marketing, there are moments in which the people charged in acquiring the goods aren’t the intended users. Proper division of labor is after all how large corporations work. An employee of the engineering division might be the one doing the research but the decision has to be signed off by the managers or the procurement division. As B2B marketers, understanding how to appeal to this divide is important as this is never an issue in B2C marketing.

The engineering team (the users) is purely objective, their primary goal is finding the best product they could find. The manager (the decision maker) have to look at the bigger picture and have to take into account a myriad of other factors, like cost-and-benefits or potential return of investment, product integration issues or technical support. Making sure that your product page is loaded with the relevant information could help in convincing your potential customers.

The subjective and objective appeal

In B2C marketing, appealing to the emotional core of your audience is usually the right approach. Individual customers aren’t looking for productivity; they want something that makes them feel good. That’s not to say that they lack objectivity but since doing a thorough objective evaluation of two competing products is close to impossible, they gravitate to brands that they like, brands that they feel understand them.

B2B customers on the other hand are looking for an objective valuation. They are looking for goods and/or services that could best meet their needs at a certain price range. Brand cachet is less of an importance in B2B marketing; I’ve attended enough tender bidding process to know firsthand that the value proposition is always number one.

In web design, this difference translates to what contents are displayed. Educational contents, statistics-laden contents and case studies of how your company has helped other businesses are a staple of B2B marketing. For B2C marketing, contents involving emotional storytelling are more preferable. This does not mean storytelling have no place in B2B marketing, framing a case study as a story, like the work of chipmaker Qualcomm with helping Saipan’s water problem, is one method we’re seeing more and more.

Closing thoughts

Whether it’s to a business or directly to a customer, people are the one doing the browsing, which means that the standard arguments apply. Website usability and functionality is still a key. For marketing, having a dedicated chat box for customers to drop a question or two could be particularly helpful, so long as you make sure that the response will be swift. If your business serve both B2B and B2C sector, it is advisable to have sections dedicated to both like the MSI example from above.

Design Language: 4 Things to Consider when Choosing a WordPress Theme

Design Language tips

As of 2018, WordPress remains far and away the most popular content management system in web development, with the platform capturing a sizable market share of 31%, far eclipsing the second-placed Joomla, coming in at a measly 3.1% market share. WordPress owes its popularity mainly because of two reasons, its sheer versatility and the simple fact that at its most basic version, it is available for free. There’s just no denying free stuff.

Technically though, WordPress works under the ‘freemium’ model, in which plugins and themes, the very reasons for WordPress’ versatility, are separated into free and premium ones, just like with mobile apps and games. These themes and plugins come for the most part from third-party developers, owing to WordPress’ open-sourced nature and as such, WordPress is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the number of options available. Some might say there are way too many options.

Finding the right WordPress theme

Choosing a theme is usually one of the first and primary decisions you’ll have to make when starting out with WordPress. Themes aren’t just about looks. Basic functionality, layout, aesthetic impressions, the overall design language of your entire website is going to be heavily informed by the theme you’re going with. Apple didn’t merely stumble into their cohesive design language, shaping every piece of product in their lineup, both software and hardware, by accident. They did it through careful research.

Now, due to its open source nature, it is actually possible for you to design and develop a customized WordPress theme of your own, either from scratch or working from what’s already available but for most small businesses, this is usually unnecessary. The decision then, boils down to a choice between the plethoras of themes available for WordPress. In one marketplace alone, Themeforest from Melbourne-based Envato, there are over 10,000 themes available, packed like sardines in a crushed tin box.

To help you navigate and differentiate between this overly crowded market; here are some factors to consider when choosing a WordPress theme:

  • Choose between simple themes or a comprehensive framework

To put another wrinkle in your decision process, WordPress framework is the current trend in web development. Remember at the beginning when I said that WordPress themes also account for functionality? WordPress framework works by pushing all of those functionalities within the framework itself while themes consist solely of stylistical options. In a WordPress framework, you basically have two themes; parent themes dictate the functionality while child themes dictate the actual aesthetics.

The benefit of going with a framework is that it makes WordPress more in line with full-on web builders like Wix or Squarespace by allowing easy, drag-and-drop codeless customization and seamless theme switching but with the caveat that you can’t perform under-the-hood modifications as freely as you’d like. Usually though, framework already has a lot of functionalities and widgets built-in that you normally won’t have to add one yourself.

  • Just the right amount of functionality

First, consider what functionalities you’d like to have with your website right now and those you’re considering in the foreseeable future. Now, choose a theme that fulfills those needs with the minimum amount of baggage. A feature-rich theme might sound attractive but if it consist of features that are irrelevant, don’t bother. Those extra functionalities are just going to slow down your website and since load speed is now a Google ranking factor, a slow website isn’t something you want to be burdened with.

Technically, you can still add functionalities with plugins but again, adding more baggage is going to slow down your website, so try to go with a theme that already has the functionalities you need built-in to the theme.

  • Responsive web design and mobile-friendliness

Mobile web browsing has overtaken the conventional desktop experience in 2016 and you need to adapt your website for optimal viewing on diminutive displays and gesture-based navigation. The one method of solving this is by using responsive web design, in which the webpage detects the medium it is being displayed and adapts itself. Choosing a non-responsive theme in 2018 is akin to connecting to the internet with a 56k dial-up connection. It’s just too anachronistic of a choice.

  • Finding the right aesthetics

Take a glance at the selection available in Themeforest. On the left-hand side, there are a lots of different tags you could use to filter out just what exactly what kind of website you’re looking for. Food & beverage? Technology? A design portfolio or a resume? There are tons of themes available for various specific needs and choosing the one that fits the aesthetic you’re looking for should not be a problem. There are various considerations to factor in before you jump the gun, however.

First is the available color palette. Assuming you’ve already settled on a logo for your business, you need to find a theme with a color palette that could complement your logo. Some themes are available with unlimited color options while some, usually the free ones don’t. The second factor is legibility. If you’re working in the creative and/or visual industry, this might not be a primary consideration but for businesses working in professional services, you should always balance style with substance. Fussy, visual heavy design tends to not work with law and accounting firms.

Additional considerations

The example marketplace I gave here, Themeforest, deals exclusively with premium themes. If you’re looking for the free ones, the directory on WordPress website is a good place to get you started. Here’s my advice though, try to avoid themes that are made by an individual. Those tend to be extracurricular excursions and since there are no professional obligations, questions of supports and updates are always going to be on your mind.

There are a lot of organizations dedicated to making WordPress themes and most usually offer free themes to go with the premium ones. The free ones are usually restricted in some ways, with less functionality and a limited color palette but if you can live with those restrictions, those free themes are a definite bargain because getting support will be much easier than from an individual designer.