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Web design trends come and go every year, which means it’s essential for businesses to keep up with these trends in order to avoid having an outdated website. An updated website results in your company maintaining a modern and up-to-date reputation. Here are ten web design trends that have shown to be popular in 2014:

1. Responsiveness

A responsive wed design (RWD) approach is aimed at providing easy reading and navigating across all platforms including tablet, mobile, and desktop. RWD enables the website’s layout to adapt according to the user’s screen resolution. With the proliferation of mobile devices (see below), it is crucial that your website is mobile friendly.

Example: Harvard

Harvard Website

harvard-mobile-website

2. Making the Most of One Page 

One-page scrolling is becoming very popular among organizations due to its simplicity, fast load speed, and cleanliness. By using a long scrolling design, the content on your website has a greater chance of being read, as viewers are not required to jump from page to page. This allows for companies to focus on content, and it is also beneficial for image-heavy websites.

Example: Jess & Russ

jess-and-russ-website

3. Exciting Typography

Another web design trend that we have seen lately is the use of fonts with personality (fonts that feel like they can stand on their own), various font styles, and fonts in bright colors. By using exciting typography, you are setting your design apart from the competition and helping the content on your website to stand out to visitors.

Example: Bangers

bangers-website

4. Minimalism

Minimalism uses a straight-to-the-point technique by getting rid of excess clutter. This design trend enables websites to not only stay simple, but it also place an emphasis on the content. Some minimalistic web designs have simple color schemes with only one or two colors, while many take advantage of white space.

Example: Dropbox

dropbox-website

5. Heavy Mobile Focus

With so many mobile devices being used today, many users are using their phones to browse the Web. Thus, it is essential for companies to ensure that their website functions on mobile devices. Mobile web designs adapt websites to small screens while incorporating many features available on the full site.

Example: Whole Foods

whole-foods-website

6. Large Content Blocks

Many people are visual processors, and are better able to consume content with the help of graphic aids including tables and graphs. Large content blocks segment a website’s content into visual categories. This helps to create good flow and responsiveness by causing viewers to focus on one subject at a time.

Example: frog

frog-design-website

7. Flat Design

Flat design incorporates smooth colors and simplicity in order to bring a website to life. Flat UI elements remove any stylistic choices that give the illusion of three-dimensions. CSS3 created much flatter buttons using natural box shadows, text shadows, or rounded corners. Additionally, Apple recently introduced Flat UI design on its iOS 7.0 software update.

Example: Future Insights

future-insights-website

8. Prominent Social Icons

Social media is becoming more popular every day, which means your organization’s website should be clearly displaying links to your social media accounts. Making social media icons easy to notice helps to generate social activity. Additionally, many sites are integrating social feeds into their websites, which dynamically updates in real-time with their latest posts.

Example: Oreo

oreo-website

9. HTML5

HTML5 will remain a core technology for structuring and presenting content for websites. It defines a single markup language, and there are many important features that come with HTML5 including markup, new API’s (application programming interfaces), and error handling.

Example: Webflow

webflow-website

10. Video Content

Why read about it when you can watch it? Videos are becoming easier to produce and share on both websites and social media, and the ability to capture valuable metrics make them a useful addition to your website.

Example: Coin

coin-website
Don’t let your website become outdated! Make sure you stay up-to-date with the constantly changing website redesign trends. Is there a trend that you think is important to add to the list? Comment below to add your input.

Two Examples of Logo Redesigns

July 10th, 2014 by Hayley Gruwer

A company’s logo is perhaps the most important aspect of their brand, and its ultimate goal is to create customer recognition between customers and a particular brand.

While keeping the same logo helps to form brand familiarity, it may become necessary for a company to alter it over time. There are many explanations for why a company’s logo may change including brand acquisition, style evolution or even a new concept. Starbucks and Pepsi are both examples of large, global companies with logos that have changed several times throughout the company’s lifetime.

Starbucks Logo History

1971 – 1987

Although there are now over 22,000 Starbucks stores worldwide, the company originally started as a single store in Seattle in 1971. Starbucks was named after a character in Moby Dick, and the brand evokes the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders. Because of this, the first Starbucks logo was a brown, two-tailed siren based on a 16th century Norse woodcut, designed to be as seductive as the coffee itself.

Starbucks First Logo

1987-1992

In 1987, the logo was changed due to the purchase of the company by Howard Schultz (the current Starbucks chairman, president and CEO). He was immediately attracted to Starbucks and joined the company a year later. However, while traveling in Italy, Schultz became fascinated by Italian coffee shops and left Starbucks to start his own chain of II Giornale coffeehouses. In 1987, Schultz purchased Starbucks with the help of local investors. The logo was then changed to symbolize the merging of the two companies: Starbucks and II Giornale. It kept the Starbucks siren with the starred crown, but made it more contemporary by changing the color from brown to Giornale’s green.

Starbucks Second Logo

1992-2011

In 1992, the Starbucks logo was slightly revised to a close-up view of the siren, who also lost her navel.

Starbucks Third Logo

2011-present

The current Starbucks logo was introduced in 2011 in honor of the company’s 40th anniversary, bringing the siren out of the circle and dropping the words “Starbucks Coffee.” The decision to remove the company name was somewhat controversial, but Starbucks was confident of their decision in order to ensure the brand’s future growth.

Starbucks Fourth Logo

Pepsi Logo History

1898-1906

Another large company that has undergone several logo changes is Pepsi. Pepsi’s first logo was created in 1898 with the words Pepsi-Cola written in red script. While many people feel that this closely resembled Coke’s script, in actuality script typefaces were very popular during this time period.

Pepsi First Logo

1906-1940:

In 1906 the script logo was modified for the third time in eight years.

Pepsi Second Logo

1940s-1960s

During the 1940s, the Pepsi logo colors changed to red, white, and blue in order to show support for America in World War II. In the 1950s, the logo was given a “bottle cap” look with the company name in the center.

Pepsi Third Logo

1960s-70s

The Pepsi logo went through another change in the 1960s during its “Pepsi Generation” campaign. The logo was modified to a serrated bottle cap, the word “Cola” was dropped and Pepsi began to incorporate bulls eyes to display Pepsi’s dominance in the soft drink industry.Pepsi Fourth Logo

1970s-1990s

In the 1970s, society was progressing into a more modern and technologically advanced era. This progression caused Pepsi to change their logo, once again, into a minimalistic design. The Pepsi logo kept the red, white and blue color scheme, but with only the word “Pepsi” written in a box. Pepsi continued to make changes including rendering it into a spherical shape and 3-D look in the 1990s to celebrate Pepsi’s 100 year anniversary.

Pepsi Fifth Logo

1990s-present

Today, the Pepsi logo gives the impression of a smile, with “Pepsi” written in lower case levels. Pepsi modified the Pepsi logo to instill brand familiarity and loyalty to its customers in the new millennium.

Pepsi Sixth Logo

Establishing and modified a logo is a crucial aspect of branding for a company. Although it is important to keep the mark recognizable, it is also important for a brand to keep up with the industry and society around it. Nike, Mercedes Benz, Apple, Shell and IBM are all companies whose logos have been changed several times in their life cycle. Adjusting a logo can be a large undertaking, but one that may be necessary for continued success.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest B2B marketing tips and trends.

The Flat Design Trend

July 3rd, 2014 by Caryn Pratt

What Is Flat Design?Flat Design Characteristics

Flat design refers to a current design trend that removes any 3D stylistic choices (drop shadows, gradients, or textures) and is focused on a minimalist use of simple elements, typography, and flat colors. Most flat design schemes have five characteristics:

  1. no added effects
  2. simple design and UI elements
  3. focus on typography
  4. focus on color
  5. overall minimalist approach

Why Choose Flat Design?

Some businesses choose the flat design path because it allows interface designs to be more visually streamlined and efficient, effectively conveying information more quickly while maintaining appealing and approachable integrity. The simpler to design interface is responsive to changes in browser size across different devices and the minimal design elements allow websites to load faster and resize easily while still looking sharp on high-definition screens.

Flat Design Examples

Apple icons maintain style and form even after being stripped of details, shadows, and texture:

Apple Flat Design Icons

Microsoft flat design with square-based interface has simple iconography and typography:

Windows 8 Flat Design

Some Considerations

When considering implementation of any new design trend, we recommend that you consider your target audience, use it moderately, and A/B test for user acceptance and conversion. And obviously, don’t make a design trend or visual style more important than your content.

Need help implementing a new design trend or marketing strategy? Contact Launch Marketing today! Be sure to follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest B2B marketing tips and trends.

Essential Elements of a Website Redesign

June 26th, 2014 by Kathryn Drake

Website Redesign ElementsA company’s website is likely one of the most visible marketing pieces that is produced. Just like many other marketing pieces, a website requires regular updates in order to remain current and relevant. The way visitors view your website often reflects the way they view your company. Does your current site say “old and outdated” or “fresh and modern”?

When to Update and What to Evaluate

There are several questions that you can ask to help determine whether it’s time for a refresh or overhaul. These questions include:

  • Does the look and feel of the website complement your company’s other marketing components, such as marketing collateral, email templates, direct mail pieces, tradeshow booths, or advertisements?
  • Does your website’s content match the marketing messages in your company’s collateral, emails, and direct mail pieces?
  • Does your company’s website appear in the top 10 organic Google search results when searching for your company’s name or other keywords that are important to your business?
  • Is the copyright date more than two years old?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you may need to make either a few small changes or consider a full-scale redesign. No matter the scope, there are a few components that you should be sure to pay attention to:

Content: Look at your site and imagine yourself as a first-time visitor. Can you quickly grasp a high-level feel for what your company does? If not, you probably need to update your homepage content. Likewise, examine the content on each page of your site with the mindset of a first-time visitor, updating content when necessary. Remember that visitors will only skim content so be sure to grab their attention quickly and do not rely on large blocks of text that will not likely be read.

SEO: Since SEO best practices frequently change due to algorithm changes on the part of search engines, it is a good idea to reevaluate your SEO strategy when updating your website. Are you still trying to cram your content with keywords in hope of reaching the top position on Google? If so, you will want to revamp your content to better reflect natural language and flow in order to avoid negative penalties from search engines. Additionally, here are a few SEO-focused suggestions to take into consideration when updating your website:

  • Ensure your meta data is up to date and that the page content correlates with the meta data for a given page. (A great tool for WordPress users is the WordPress SEO Plugin.)
  • Provide links within your site to other areas of the site with relevant content. This not only makes it easier for visitors to navigate the site but ensures search engines can easily find the most relevant pages for a given topic or keyword.
  • Write articles and other content pieces on topics of interest that are aligned with the keywords most relevant to your business.

Design: Does your website’s design look current? If it looks dated, you may want to conduct a redesign. Many innovative formats have emerged recently that you may want to consider. No matter which format or style you choose, you should remain focused on the long-term view in order to ensure that your design remains relevant for as long as possible.

Navigation: Are there areas of your site that are hard to navigate or is it hard for visitors to find the content that they are looking for? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you will probably want to reconsider the navigation structure of your website. Also, looking at your analytics data can help you uncover areas with large drop-offs that you may want to investigate and work to fix via updated navigation methods. If you end up changing your navigation structure, don’t forget to set up redirects to the old URL. This ensures that visitors and search engines can find the content they are looking for.

Don’t Be Intimidated

A website redesign can be overwhelming once you realize the number of pages you have, the amount of content on each page, and the graphic or development skills needed to produce a stellar product. Outsourcing parts of or the entire redesign project can prevent the inevitable headaches that come with a project of this size.

Considering a website redesign? Read more about the website services we offer. Be sure to follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook for more B2B marketing best practices.

Photo Credit: john_a_ward