The corporate identity is that homogeneous group of design elements organized in such a way that they transmit the same unifying message. In terms of hierarchy, we might say that, being fundamental and foundational, the corporate logo is the most important of these elements. It is fundamental because every business firm needs a logo to put its products on the market (never is a product lacking a logo sold); it is foundational because it is the first element within the series of designs forming a company’s corporate identity, the “foundation stone” for the regular patterns and trends on which all the other designs will be based.
The second most important element these days is the website. As we have explained so far, both its characteristics and functions are indispensable to any company. But, what is the main difference between a logo and a Web page in visual coherence terms? That the logo should not follow any prearranged pattern, whereas the website should be adjusted to that of the logo. Even when it is true that each design element has its own peculiarities –in fact these should be exploited to the utmost so it is effective–, this does not mean that a designer may fail to stick to the original corporate criterion. The same, of course, applies where Web design is concerned.
There are two possible problems if Web design does not stick to the corporate criterion of the other design elements:
1. The public might reject the website:
as we have mentioned above, all the elements representing a company follow similar or even the same design patterns, so all of them transmit the same message. As a result, if these patterns are altered, the whole message will be so. Then, an element of design, e.g. the website, which transmits a different message from the unifying one can be rejected by the public or even regarded as not belonging to the company in question. Either way, if this was your case, you would end up without a Web page, since the public will not associate it with your company –which makes it non-existent. However, this problem can be easily solved just by modifying the faulty design. The following case is far worse.
2. The public will accept the faulty website:
as you know, all the elements of design forming your company’s corporate identity transmit a unifying message –which, in this case, is not the same as that of your Web page–. This is a double problem: for one thing your website is transmitting a different message from that of the other design elements, for another your website’s message is wrong! So the only solution is to modify the whole previous series of designs. Otherwise, influenced by the faulty element, i.e. the website, the public might misinterpret all of them.
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