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Water to Wine

Posted at Feb 17, 2009 1:36:15 PM by Ronald Busky | Share

Lately, I've noticed a pattern in website design. Clients that come to us with a good logo and good photography end up with a great design while ones with a dated logo and bad images come up short. It sounds incredibly simple because it is. You cant turn water to wine - or can you?

At THAT Agency we specialize in miracle work and yes we can turn water to wine - as long as the client is flexible. Heres a few tactics when faced with a weak logo or poor photography.

Weak Logo:
The clients logo has colors that are unpleasant or its hard to read when reduced to a usable size.

In order to get around this one you have to get creative. There are a few things you can do. If the client logo colors are orange and green and you dont want to set orange type on a green background (ouch)......maybe you should downplay the corporate colors ... go with more subtle colors for your layout and save the loud corporate colors for limited usage elsewhere. Try using the green only for your clickable items then run the phone number in orange.

If the logo or slogan becomes non legible when reduced to a usable size it may be time to show the client some options. You dont want to change their logo too much but if you demonstrate ways that can look better they'll be open to suggestions. Often if the logo has a slogan when you reduce it to fit on the page you can no longer read it. In this case you can reset the type in the slogan with a more readable font or take it out and use the slogan somewhere else where you have room. As the designer you have freedom to explore options and the client will thank you for showing them solutions rather than presenting them with problems.

Another option is to redesign the logo. Who knows - maybe this is a perfect chance to create a fresh web friendly logo.

Poor Photography:
The company wants a site but they have no photos and need the design tomorrow or they have photos but they are questionable.

A great photo to me is critical to making a site look good. Basically without a stunning photo or great illustration its hard to make a page come to life. If the client has no images - find them some! Head over to a stock agency like istock or getty and purchase a few. Having even one great photo will make your job much easier.

If they have photos but they arent the best maybe you can suggest supplementing their existing ones with new ones. Or maybe you hire a local photographer to get some fresh images. Another option would be too take what they have and improve on them using photoshop. Take the grey sky image of their building and put a sunset behind it. If you want a great looking site you need great photos - so do whatever it takes to get them before you start.

The bottom line is dont let things prevent you from doing great work. Work with what you have and present the client with positive solutions rather than problems. This keeps you in control of the design process. Once you allow the client to suggest solutions you run into problems. While clients generally have good suggestions they arent always good at visualising the end result. Additionally, try to come up with reasons for why you took the approach you did. This will help the client to feel comfortable that your solution was done for a reason and they will trust your judgement.

Tags: General

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