Typography can be a very difficult part of your design: Especially if you as the designer don’t have control of the type of type used. Design and typeface need to meld together to form an overall complement in a web design. The two have to achieve harmony with each other in several areas or the design will fall flat on its face.
When setting out to create the design you and the copywriter need to both meet with the client to establish the client’s requirements, history of the company, the logo which will be used in the branding and also who his opposition is. Some of this may seem irrelevant, but it isn’t really.
The first time on the agenda with the client will be to define what his goal is with the website. Is it a sales tool? Is it merely for information? Alternatively, how does he envisage it developing?
This will be the foundation stone on which the website will be built. If he is going to use it as a selling tool he needs to decide if it will sell on line or merely be a showcase for his stores. If it is merely a corporate website with information about the company it would be a whole different kettle of fish. Both kinds are branding tools but the corporate site would give over a strong corporate image of what the company is doing in the community as well as for its employees and clients. Here you would have to research the opposition’s sites, and their backgrounds and information as well. There is no way you want to duplicate their site, and you need to be very careful to stamp the companies own branding on their site.
If you are building a selling site you will need a whole lot more from the client, including either product if you are doing the photography in house or photos if they already have good quality photos. The photos need to be superb as this is what the prospective purchases will base their purchase on.
The second thing you need to look at is the target audience of the website.
You have young audiences you have older audiences, you have techie audiences and you have the highbrow audiences among others. Each one will have their own triggers and these need to be used to pull a response from the web visitor.
The brand of the company will play a big part in the design of the website. It the brand has not been established as yet you have a whole lot bigger job than if it is an established company which has merely decided to go ahead and put its presence on the web. With the one, you will have to Brand the company from scratch, and this can be a daunting task as the responsibility of years of branding down the line will rest on your shoulders to make a brand image that will last the decades. A brand is something that should last through the ages and shouldn’t be switched and changed. It’s the establishment of an image that will be remembered by all and will include things from a favicon to the business card that is presented.
If the website is for a sub section of a company already in existence the brand of the holding company should be incorporated in some manner.
The constraints of the internet and search engines have to be taken into account when using various typefaces as some can distort your design terribly and for these you will need to use jpgs or pngs to replace the text but with a full description at the back of the picture to tell the spiders what they can’t see.
All of these items have to be taken into account when you and your copywriter set out on the task of doing a new design.