Whenever I pass through Mallorca’s airport, I see a large poster for the popular Palma Aquarium. It rattles me every time (not just because of the random capitals) because I’m not sure if the straplines are clever or just confusing.
I’ve been intending to talk a bit about my new logo since the updated site went live a few months ago. A featured post interviewing the logo’s designer, the talented Mariana Murabito at Monok, on popular blog LogoGala has kicked me into action.
It was important to me to establish a brand from day one of freelancing, to make me look professional, credible and also memorable. I spent quite some time thinking up a name that described the service I offered, then used the logo on my website, invoices, quotes and other documents.
In the beginning, there was…
The first design was my amateur attempt using Photoshop. I’m sure it would have made any ‘proper’ designer have kittens! However, as I was starting out with little funds, it was the best solution at the time.
I can’t say I gave any reasoned thought to its appearance; I tried out some simple colourways that I liked and chose a font that was …
I’m a big fan of plain English on websites for a wide variety of reasons, most of which boil down to reaching the widest audience possible. While there are of course instances where more flowery language is appropriate, communicating important information is not usually one of them.
So if there’s an easier way to say something, use it. And this is what went through my mind as I was browsing the Climate Action website today, when I saw its strapline:
Assisting business towards carbon neutrality
As the platform is produced in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), I think it’s fair to assume the target audience is at least Europe-wide. The majority of those people will speak English as a second language.
Even though English is my native language, I still need a split second to unravel the meaning, which isn’t ideal. In addition, the wording has a distinct whiff of ‘corporate speak’. I think the following is clearer while …
If your website’s main content has a consistent tone throughout, that’s great; but don’t forget those other points of contact with your readers or customers. This might be rarely needed web pages (such as the 404 error page) or following up on an order.
I recently ordered a couple of t-shirts online from howies, and the company’s warm, informal tone (with a hint of dry wit) continued throughout the process. It really felt as though one person was speaking to me throughout.
For example, from the order confirmation:
A big thanks for your order […] We will be burning the midnight oil to make sure your order is dealt with to make sure you’re not waiting too long! (By the way your card will not be charged until your stuff leaves our warehouse.) […] A despatch confirmation e-mail will be sent to you as your order leaves us down here.
And from the despatch email:
Just thought you’d like to know your order is heading out of Cardigan Bay as we speak. And it’s heading your way. …