Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Brand Site should be like traditional magazine design.

A Brand Site should be like traditional magazine design.
Dec 26, 1996

Mar 11, 2014
The early web were pioneered by technical people who are rather terrible in creative and design. (Hm...I guess that's why I preferred minimalism for my blog design) I have always been pitching that web designer should learn from magazines' cover page, page layout and navigation. Most home pages look like a complex table of content but instead they should look like a magazine cover page. People can easily find the table of content when they want to but a web (unless it is a portal of all things like Yahoo) should focus on a Cover Page like design that focuses on one thing, if not only a few things, that deliver a strong impression of the brand is about.

We are now starting to see more and more web designs looking very much like a magazine cover. They look simply much more attractive than in the early days. Business Insider has taken the effort dig out how the 10 Brand Websites looks then and now in this article. Take a look at the Burger King web design example I have learned from the article. Today's Burger King's web site simply make me feel hungry within seconds from landing to the page but the web page back then in 1996 make me feel like I am about to enter a space station.

Interestingly I believe such change in web design philosophy has much to do with the popularity of the mobile device. With much smaller screen than PC screen and much simpler input device (your figure vs keyboard & mouse), web designers are forced to design web pages that present one things at a time to solve the smaller screens challenge, and interact in a very simple, often, linear way instead of complex "Table of Content" due to the simple figure navigation. Such linear navigation of the web site, whether you are scrolling downward continuously, or flipping pages one by one, simply resemble the one way reading of a book or magazine. I often joke about it back then that "too many hyperlinks make me feel hyper and cannot focus on one thing that matter!". Today's mobile friendly web designs are simply a much better read for me as a reader.

If your company is designing a web page, you should look into traditional design wisdom from print and magazine design. It is, in some way, more difficult for web designer as every page are "layout" like magazine  so it's more labor intensive the needs to handle multiple size devices. However, whoever master both sides get to earn a lot of return in a successful digital marketing campaign.