The corporate identity may be defined as the group of homogeneous design elements transmitting the same corporate message. Among them there are the logo, the website, personal cards, catalogues, brochures, etc. hierarchically speaking, the logo is the most important of all, as it is fundamental and foundational. Fundamental because, for a company to launch its products, an identifying corporate logo is absolutely necessary; and foundational because it is its design that sets the pattern on which all the other designs will be based. In second place comes the website, and then the rest. But these complementary elements are truly important, as they are essential to reinforce the unifying message that is being transmitted.
Now well, our concern here is the website and the visual coherence. Homogeneity means transmitting the same unifying message. For this end, all designs should be similar to one another in graphic-visual terms. Nevertheless, each design’s peculiarities must be taken into account in order to avoid dullness and uniformity -do not confuse uniformity with Homogeneity. in other words, each design has its own distinctive characteristics, and these are to be developed individually, but always heading for the same whole concept. This is why a skillful designer is a must.
But, what happens if a design fails to stick to the original pattern and therefore spoils the visual coherence? Well, it depends. In the case of weekly catalogues, for example, at worst the public will reject the new design, which might cause a slight low in the sales levels, but there is no real harm done. However, the problem is much worse in the case of the website, given its importance. There are two possibilities, both disheartening:
- 1. The public might regard your website as unrepresentative, as not belonging to your company, rather than as an error. So, in the eyes of the consumers, there will be no website at all, as they will not associate it with the conception they have of your corporate identity. This is really bad, but no so bad as the following case, since here the problem is solved by redesigning the website. Although it will be long before a redesigned website receives a large number of visitors, this is a short-term goal which does not require much time or money. In short, the error is thought to be a fault, and faults are susceptible of solution.
- 2. The public might think that the wrong website is perfectly alright. As a consequence, they will be like: "so this is the corporate message, I didn’t quite understand it before." From this misconception a lot of trouble will arise, since all the other design elements will be seen from another point of view -which is wrong! This is by far the worst possibility, as it cannot be solved just by redesigning the website (which, in fact, might be counterproductive). The best course of action will be either to make it known that there was a mistake or to modify the whole image of your company so that it is closer to the new concept.