Oh, you have print media already?

I was approached by a client wanting a new web site, nothing crazy just a few simple pages, new design, etc. I saw what they had already, it was old, non-SEO friendly, didn’t work on all browsers/ operating systems, used images with roll-overs as the only method of navigation, and most of the copy was in the actual images, pretty much as bad as you could get.

We started talking about what they wanted, what they liked vs. didn’t like, fonts, colors, font sizing, layout, size, target audience, and so on… we got pretty far along when it came time to discuss copy to populate the site, they said to take it from their new brochure…

Sure enough they had a nice, new, professionally designed and printed tri-fold brochure with supporting printouts inside, business card, etc.

To cut to the chase; I advised them to build their website such that it supports their brochure, using same colors, fonts, photos, copy, and so on.

Now I’m skipping a lot of details, but the moral of the story is that if you have current and usable print media and you are about to (re)design your corporate web site – please make sure that the two are aligned with each other. Make sure you give your web design team your brochure up front, and have the digital media/ assets from the brochure ready to hand over to the design team.

###

Displaying photos on your corporate site

Most sites have some level of imagery used, whether it be part of the design, product shots or head shots of staff. Most sites make awful of use those photos or employ sub-standard photos because they have nothing better on hand.

Clients: do not take the photos yourself, this includes using family, or employees; yes I know that they claim to take pictures well, maybe they have the latest in consumer cameras, etc. Do your corporate image a favor and save such skills for the holiday corporate card.

Web developers/ project managers, etc.: see above, the same applies to you and it is your duty to prevent the above from happening.

Hire a professional: I know it costs money, takes time, eats into the website project budget, etc. but you will thank me later for this decision. Would you let a co-worker be the photographer for your wedding? No? Then don’t let them take the photos that will end up representing your company.

I’ve seen too many clients insist on photographing their own products, some turn out mediocre, most are horrendous! Product photos at bad angles, no color correction, low resolution, bad lighting can result in harsh shadows, in consistency between shots, poor choices for backdrops, etc.

Ask your web developer/ project manager for a reference, chances are that they regularly use a pro; or pick up the phone book, there are more professional photographers in there than you could shake a stick at.

Be aware of what you are getting as a deliverable (prints, CD or DVD only, resolution of images, is retouching included), the shooting location (travel time), duration of shoot (clear your calendar), inconveniences of having a crew on site for the shooting, etc. Remember to ask for references & portfolio.

I could go on… but this is just a high-level overview, not a definitive resource on photography – besides, I think you get my point.

p.s. stock photography is wonderful, but models are no replacement for quality photos of your staff (what would that say about them?).

###