Corporate identity is the group of visual and graphic elements that shape a company’s image, and which communicate a unique message, which is always the same. This group is deliberately and necessarily homogenous, as its design’s homogeneity is what allows a unique and stable message. A strong corporate identity is essential for a company’s growth, and here Web sites have a crucial role. Companies’ looks are made up of several elements: the Logo, brochures, business cards, catalogs, etc. But this variety of elements should not be considered to have the same significance: the corporate Logo is the corporate identity’s key and foundational element, and it is more important than, for instance, catalogs or business cards. Web sites are not as important as Logos, but they are second as regards importance. That is the reason why a corporation’s Web site has to rigorously stick to the other identity elements’ parameters.
However, a Web site has certain features that cannot be left aside. By leaving these features aside, you are restricting a proper progress of design, because these features are the basis for the creation of their elements: Web design without these features is not Web design. Web design does not use just graphic design's resources: if so, the results would be a disaster. That is why there has to be a proper balance between the parameters and the freedom to act. But we also have to bear in mind that both leaving features aside and using them in excess is wrong. As we have mentioned before, the different components of a corporate identity have a difference degree of importance. Making a mistake when designing a catalog is not the same as when designing a Web site. A corporate Web site’s fault, mistake, de-phasing or lack of consistency may cause two kinds of damage. The first one would be that people think the site is not your company’s site, or that they do not feel comfortable and do not visit it. The second one is that, as the client knows Web sites are a key component to the corporate identity, he gets confused, as he gets two different messages: the one of the other elements and the one of the Web design. Thus, the recipient may be so confused, that the message you tried to convey with the other designs is ignored and the Web site's design gives him the wrong message.
Colors, textures, animated graphics, pictures, images and every design element in the Web site have to correspond to the general concept of corporate identity. If you have many elements that do not stick to the parameters, a consistent Web design, one that promotes your firm's image, will be hard to achieve. A Web site, with its features and its importance, should be carefully designed so that it obtains its own identity, which identifies with the image that represents the company. As we have previously mentioned, a company’s site is its virtual costumer service office, where the company, and its clients and potential clients interact, and it is also an extraordinary neuralgic point for advertising and promotion of products and services.
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