King & Tuke Head of Design, Martin Cassidy
Designing a clean look and feel
When I was briefed about the website design, it was explained that SmallWorlders had been abbreviated to SMLWRLD, to take a ‘less is more’ approach; a new way of thinking which extended to a company-wide reduction in carbon consumption, and a shift towards the more efficient ‘Software as a service’ model. I was asked to think of some iconography or imagery that reflected this.
With that brief in mind, I created a minimalistic suite of icons and graphics to convey a sense of collaboration, instead of showing cliché’d pictures of a team working together.
I rolled these graphics out across my initial design for the website, using devices such as overlapping circles to support our narrative of waste reduction, inclusivity and carbon- neutrality. The simplicity of the graphic tied in with the simplicity of the name.
Jason wanted the overall design to have a green eco-friendly feel, so it was just a case of visualising and concretising those themes. He also wanted to use the same typeface on SMLWRLD as he did for King and Tuke’s logo, so that they felt like a family.
Creating space for a clear narrative
I like that the design doesn’t rely heavily on photography. It’s about simple graphics, and using those simple graphics to tell a story. It’s clean, and there is clarity. I wanted the pace of it to be clear, so that when scrolling the reader isn’t bombarded with lots of elements. You get a clear journey, with a headline that stands out and is supported by a visual, without being confusing.
Having worked in design for around 12 years, I have noticed that early websites were more about entertainment, often complicating their message with over-the-top animation, music and video. Nowadays, more and more people use the Internet on their phones, and often won’t have the time to take lots in. People want something that delivers clear messaging upfront and is easy to navigate, whilst still being visually engaging.
By avoiding being visually overwhelming, our new design can be efficient and aesthetically pleasing. Going forward, I think it would be good to animate by adding in some form of parallax or animated GIF to help strengthen the design without making it confusing. As a tech company, it is essential to showcase your skills on the page.
Collaborating with SMLWRLD
I’m not a web designer, so I work with a web designer who can advise whether a design will translate well or not, and then we work together to find a solution. For this project, Jason came up with the ideas, I created the assets and the look and feel, and then it was a case of giving those assets to Saleem.
We were able to provide him with the rough brand guidelines, the palette, typeface and graphics, so he could implement them. From a technical point of view, he is best placed to know how designs will function best whilst respecting the desired look and feel, and sticking as close to the brief as possible.
SMLWRLD Web Designer, Saleem Rawn
Bringing the vision to life
My role was to work alongside the team at King & Tuke to translate the new brand vision into an attractive, functioning website.
From brief to beta
As soon as Jason had presented the new logo and brand for SMLWRLD, the team became extremely excited. As SMLWRLD’s web designer, I was tasked with implementing the brand across our website.
I spoke with Martin, Simon and Jason regarding the website rebrand, discussing how SMLWRLD was previously more of an agency, and that the old site was more focused on our employees and their backgrounds.
We wanted the change to be more product and platform-focused. We were also becoming more eco-aware and conscious of how our product can impact the environment and a business’s employees.
Martin provided me with the initial look and feel he’d created, which used minimal and well-balanced graphics to express our newfound ethos, and we discussed how to flesh that out and move it forward in terms of functionality.
Moving the look and feel forward
We had a look at the messaging that was coming from the branding, and how we could communicate that to showcase our product to potential customers. We now focus more on the product, using the site’s front end to show users visually what they can expect, and giving examples of functionality that they can interact with.
For example, we show users how our intranets can enhance their social interaction with colleagues, whether at home, in the office or on the go. We’re also showcasing the back end of the product, and how businesses can use the editor to add their content and sections easily.
We still provide bespoke intranets that are built based on a customer’s needs, but we now also offer an ‘out of the box’ package for small, medium or large businesses. We wanted to be direct throughout our messaging in terms of what the product does, what the benefits are, the pricing and our reputation.
The New SMLWRLD site
By simplifying the website, we’re removing clutter, reducing waste and focusing on the essentials of the business. I like that we are more transparent and more product-focused, and that when a potential customer lands on our website they now understand precisely what we’re providing.
As a team, everyone had input and a hand in the shaping of the website, which moulded the final outcome. Working so closely with King & Tuke provided a range of perspectives, which ultimately resulted in a site we can really stand by. We’re all very pleased with the new branding.