Design DNA is engrained in a company. It shows in presentations, in the web site, in the way the office is laid out. When a visitor/user/viewer gets in touch with a company, she makes up her mind in the first millisecond about the design DNA of the company, by comparing it to all other presentations, web sites, and offices she has seen. We have all seen these stereotypes:

  • The bare bullet point presentation in the standard Microsoft Office 2007 format
  • The over-designed PowerPoint template with gradients, images with faded edges and huge logos at the top of the page
  • The social media expert website full of call to actions to buy her $5 ebook on being a social media expert
  • The traditional, hierarchal office with too many big leather board seats crammed around a too small board table in a board room that doubles as a storage room for exhibition displays
  • The hipster I-don't-really-say-anything web site
  • The girly office full of plants and cute natural-material furniture
  • The macho office with an impressive collection of booz in the lunch room
  • The 1990s tech company web site: takes 40% of your screen and has detailed product hierarchies that get to pages that don't really say much about that specific product
  • The startup web site where "tour", "about us", "benefits", and "product" tabs pretty much say the same thing

At every point you come in contact with a client, user, investor, make sure you look the way you want to look. Even if your investor presentation looks right, that impression can be undone in one second when someone opens your web site.

One strategy is to change and align everything to make sure it is consistent. Another one is to recognise who you are, and change the 1920s cute art deco look of your presentation if you are in the business of selling 4x4 car suspension systems.


Art: Henri Rousseau, The Dream