Hold On -
Before even thinking about designing something, you first have to learn more about the company. Find out more about the company's personality by asking a lot of questions.
Ideas to ask:
- Describe your brand in 5 words or less
- What are the products or services you sell?
- What are your passions?
- What's your mission statement?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- What do you want to be known for?
- What makes you unique?
Team Up with Marketing
It's also a good idea to team up with marketing and look at the company's personas. A persona is a profile detailing the demographic, psychographic, wants, needs, and other detail that fully describes one a key member of the company's target audience.
After you've figured out all about how the company acts and how they want to be portrayed to the personas, now you can do what you do best and design your heart out.
You can't go crazy; you need to be consistent with the brand components. Everything from the typography, color, and photography need to be related. You will only confuse people if you switch the colors and font from page to page.
You've probably heard that different colors evoke different emotions. For instance, blue says trust to a lot of people and yellow has a feeling of happiness. You can even do a little color research and find out which colors your target audience gravitate toward.
Ditch the dull stock photos. All those do is make you look like a boring corporation. Add flare to your company by displaying real photos of the employees and the place you work. It will make your company stand out and be more personable. To see how ridiculous stock photos can be, take a look at this HubSpot blog post.
Another way to show your brand through design is by incorporating a culture section on your website. This is a place where you can really show your brand's personality and separate yourself from the other companies in your field. Have fun with it. You don't have to just stick with pictures of you sitting at a desk at work. Show who you are outside of work, or just having fun.
You don't always have to start your brand out with a logo. Keep the brand strategy open for change. Once you've developed a better sense of your brand, you can come back to your logo and it will define your company better than creating it from the get-go.
Don't Overdo It
Whitespace is OK. In fact, whitespace is necessary for a great website. You don't want to look like you've compiled every element possible on one page. It's easy to overdo it because you want to add a lot of different things.
Whitespace isn't the enemy. With whitespaces on the page, you are allowing people to move around the page without being bombarded with design.
Here's an example of a bit too much going on:
Here are more resources for defining your brand and where the graphics came from