I can’t believe I won! That’s right, last week I won a pair of red, patent Christian Louboutin heels (so stunning). I tried them on and soon discovered that these were the most painful shoes I had ever tried on – in my life. They just didn’t fit me. So I returned them and asked for a gift certificate instead. It’s frustrating when something you really love doesn’t fit. Like shoes, relationships, or … branding.
So why am I telling you this story about fabulous looking shoes that didn’t fit? Because a couple days ago it happened again, although this time it wasn’t with shoes it was with a website. A close friend from design school called me up. She said someone, let’s call him John, had taken it upon himself to present a website design to one of her clients without considering the brand she created for them. John didn’t know anything about the company he designed the website for, but truth be told, it was actually pretty slick.
He had employed the latest design trends, large images, all uppercase sans serif modern fonts, a long scrolling page, and navigation that changes as you scroll. It was even responsive (a site that rearranges itself based on the platform used and the size of the screen.) The client also thought it was pretty slick. So what’s the problem, right? The problem was it wasn’t in brand. Just like my shoes… it didn’t fit.
The site was for a restaurant in an art gallery. The logo for the restaurant was designed to connect to the art gallery and the type of art it housed. Whereas the site looked like it was meant for a completely different art gallery. My friend went back to her client and acknowledged that the site looked good, but it wasn’t appropriate for the audience. Viewers of the site would expect a certain kind of feel. There would be a disconnect with the offline brand and the website. In short, the site didn’t reflect the essence of the brand.
When going forward with a purchase, whether it be shoes or a website you need to make sure they fit. Will the user feel comfortable or will it look like you’re pretending to be something you’re not.