Inspired by James Fenton’s Art Direction Vs The Web talk
Earlier this year (26th March) Proficient VA had the great opportunity to attend James Fenton’s (Art Director at Tribal Group) talk at Red Gate Software, Cambridge. James let us take a sneak into his talk prepared for the Future of Web Design weekend coming up in May in London. At Proficient VA we are known mainly for our reliable virtual assistant services, but we also provide graphic and web design for small businesses, therefore all the information gained from the talk was highly appreciated and will definitely be implemented into our future design work.
“Art direction in traditional media involves the measured and meticulous control of a visual style across a product, exhibition or campaign. An art director would oversee all aspects of the visual, establishing structure and layout, whilst ensuring graphic elements such as typography, illustration and photography communicated a consistent visual message.” Also, art directors are the connection between the designers and the marketing team – two teams who hardly ever understand each other’s duties in the design process, but their co-operation is essential for a successful outcome.
“The web has moved the goal posts however, handing over increasingly more control to end users and third party tools. So what role does art direction play in a world of choice, customisation and user generated content?” In his presentation, aiming to answer this question James discussed the role of the art direction within large web projects and project teams, exploring the challenges of delivering brand consistency across several differenttypes of viewing device, a large scale of environment and the never-ending list of applications. To achieve this, a more flexible and dynamic approach to brand guidelines is necessary.James’s suggestion was to give a strong role not only to the graphic/web designers in a project, but also „calling on developers, UX, writers, marketeers and clients, to help champion the principles of good design, rather than simply adhere to a strict, rigid set of rules“.
Proficient VA’s own experience on the importance of branding flexibility:
Nowadays the presence on social media websites is a must for all businesses. When we started registering Proficient Virtual Assistance Ltd. on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, all of them required a square thumbnail as a profile image. Having a rectangular logo, this caused several problems: it bacame either unlegible or stretched disproportionally. We had to come up with a solution for this challenge, so we started using the circle from our logo containing the letters VA (for Virtual Asssistance). Later a more stylised version of this was introduced, and finally we ended up with what we call the „Batman Sign“: stylised V and A in a steel circle – this seems to be working very well, don’t you think so?
Have you had to face this problem with the logo? Did your branding guidelines allow slight changes to the logo so that it could be used for social media?
(Photo credit blipfoto.com)