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Making branding usable

by Giles Turnbull -- 2000/08/29

Should your branding undergo usability testing as well as your content? Roger Parker says it should.

Much is said about usability in web design these days. Some people have begun to make a living out of it, or even build businesses from it.

Which isn't a bad thing. It's only thanks to these vocal proponents of usability that the internet has made big strides towards becoming something more platform- and display- independent. Towards something more usable by anyone.

But when you're trying to build a brand online as well, it can be difficult to reach a balance between the demands of the usability designers and the demands of the marketing team. The two issues can come into conflict.

If you're branding stands out, the chances are your site isn't usable. But if your site is as minimalist as Jakob's, your marketeers are going to be unhappy that no-one remembers or recognises the logo.

Roger Parker starts with some simple ideas for attaining that balance:

1. Limit branding to the top of the page.
2. Use a limited color palette.
3. Use a lot of sub-headings.

None of this is that revolutionary, but at least it will encourage people to think in terms of reaching a balance, rather than sacrificing one attribute at the expense of another.