Look and feel and how it relates to corporate identity
February 18, 2022

What is a Look and Feel?

You’ve probably heard the term look and feel if you have, or are in the process of getting a website. It is essential that you define your look and feel before your designer can get started on your website. But what exactly is it? And why is it so important? And how does it relate to your corporate identity? Let’s break it down. 

The look and feel of a website, or any software describes its appearance (look) and functionality (feel). Though the term can be used for any interface, it is most often used when speaking about websites. Generally, when people speak of the look and feel of a website, they are referring to the layout and their experience navigating through the site. 

But your look and feel goes beyond your website or digital presence. It also includes your logo, brand colours and all the design elements that make up your corporate identity which extends to business cards, packaging and even uniforms (but more on this a bit later).

To better understand the concept we can break it down into its two parts. 

Look:

The look of your website includes aspects such as colours, shapes, fonts, layout and the general spacing and styling. Your website may appear professional or simple or have eye-catching elements. A site with bright colours and bold fonts will give the impression of a high energy, bubbly brand. 

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Like this site from Awwwards

While a site that uses black and white, and an elegant font will feel clean and upmarket.

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Like this site from Awwwards

As mentioned, your logo and colour palette also affect your look and feel.

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like this one that gives the impression of a laid back, creative company.

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or this one that looks fun but trustworthy.

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or this elegant and upmarket logo.

Feel:

The feel of your website generally refers to the navigation, and how the site responds to user instructions. Things that contribute to how the website feels are the speed with which pages load, the movement and responsiveness of elements such as buttons or drop down menus and even sound effects. Another important aspect of a website’s feel is its mobile responsiveness. 

Non-digital aspects of your brands feel would be the personality that comes across in your visuals and the tone of voice in your communications. Do you communicate with customers very professionally and efficiently or do you make the communications fun and entertaining?

Why your look and feel is important

Your look and feel convey your brand’s personality and attitude, much like your brand’s image and identity does. In fact, your website should be an extension of your brand’s identity. A good designer will ensure that the look and feel work to be the online embodiment of your brand.

Your look and feel should entice a viewer to engage with your website. While we all want our websites to be unique, it is important that your website suits the industry that your business is in. 

A website for a medical aid company, for example, should be simple, clean and easy to navigate. 

Imagine a medical aid company having a website with bright, funky colours and shapes. You would likely be turned off and look for another business with a more professional looking website. So be sure to check your industry standards before deciding on a look and feel. 

The same applies when choosing logos, fonts and colours for your brand. 

It is important that your viewers feel empowered to navigate your website and find the information they are seeking. A user-friendly site should be a priority when thinking about look and feel. 

Figuring out your look and feel

Now you know what a website’s look and feel is and why it is important. Great! But how do you go about deciding yours or explaining your vision to your designer? 

You can describe your look and feel using adjectives like you would use to describe a friend.

  • Approachable
  • Elegant
  • Professional
  • Fun
  • Interactive
  • High-end
  • Casual
  • Modern

You may also want to use some adjectives to describe what you don’t want your look and feel to be like:

  • cluttered
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Image from Themeisle

  • Boring 
  • Confusing
  • Outdated

If you’re still unsure exactly which look and feel is best for your website, you should revert back to your corporate identity, or if you don’t have one, look into creating one for your company. 

But, what is a corporate identity?

Well, essentially, it is the physical look and feel of your company. It embodies your business’ character and essence through visuals and graphics. It is the visual DNA of your company.

There are two ways to go about deciding on the look and feel for your brand. 

1. Start with your website, and build a brand from there. Or 

2. Create a corporate identity and use that as a basis for your website. 

The latter is the best option as it creates a fine tuned brand identity and allows for scalability within your identity and projects. 

A corporate identity is a great tool for consistency. If you want to present your business in a professional light, then consistency in your brand’s identity and imagery is absolutely vital. This means sticking to a particular colour palette, using the same fonts and even the nitty gritty stuff like the positioning and alignment of your logo. And that’s just the visual stuff! A good corporate identity also dictates the tone of voice and personality of your brand. When all of these elements stay consistent throughout online and printed communications, your brand will undoubtedly appear professional and trustworthy.

Many businesses, big and small, neglect to spend the necessary time developing their basic identity when starting out. This leads to a shortfall in their brand at a later stage when consumers or clients cannot recognise the business as one brand. This can also result in a waste of time and resources as you have to brainstorm look and feel for every new project rather than referring to your already established and known identity. This again, links to scalability. 

If you want to grow your business (and who doesn’t?), or consider using different creatives now and again, your Corporate Identity is super important. Your CI, in the form of an actual, professional document becomes the framework for your entire business. It ensures that no matter who works on your brand, be it a web design agency or a freelance marketer or even yourself, the brand will ALWAYS look consistent and recognisable.

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Check out this really great example of a corporate identity manual

We know that creating a CI can be a bit daunting and that all this information may feel overwhelming. If you need help with creating your corporate identity ZenZero Agency would be happy to assist and build a foundation for your business. 

As you can see, having a well developed CI removes a lot of thinking when it comes to your websites look and feel, and gives the designer a really solid base to work off of. It also gives you a good footing when it comes to your own business. Knowing exactly who your brand is, and being confident in that, will set you apart from other businesses that are developing their brand as they go. 

So if you’re a new business owner or an older one without a Corporate Identity, invest some time into developing one. Set yourself apart.

Kayla Manfredo

Author

Kayla is our head designer and blog post gal. She works hard every week to bring you new and exciting posts along with Vanessa, who talks about marketing, and Mirko, who talks about buisness.

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