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Hi fellow NingPeeps,

I just wanted to share some thoughts on visual identity and a clean branding of your concept. Most of us already know the fact, that we are being overflushed with visual promotion everyday, some of us don't even notice the amount of effort put into making sure, that your eye will tell your brain to remember this brand.

Have you ever noticed alot of people will catch the legendary red/white Coca-Cola logo, having it pass by qwickly, not even looking directly at the logo. You've seen it so much, that your brain catches the message instantly, almost at a subconscious state of mind. The letter curves, composition and colours put you in no doubt, that this is an Coca-Cola advertisement.


I'm not here to preach, i just find visual identity very interesting in it's form and ability to draw traffic back to your site, with some few basic rules and some thoughts on a streamlined look. I've seen alot of Ning network owners do a great job on this themselfes, i've been inspired, ...but let's just say these rules might be inspiration for those who have not thought about this issue yet.

Rule 1: Select 3 to 4 main colours, to represent your streamlined identity. Colour Code Generator
(important: choose slight pale colours, no neon colours disturbing the eye)

Rule 2: Design a main logo
(important: Use alot of time on this, use people who work with graphic designs if you have no idea)

Rule 3: Choose a main font to support your logo (Use this font in all other graphics being made)
(important: i'm not talking about your webpage browser font, only for graphics ex. banners, headlines)

Rule 4: Get yourself a slogan, i know it sounds weird, but it works. People tent to catch short slogans.
(important: choose a slogan, that represents everything your project stands for, powerfull and easy)

Rule 5: Use the selected colours, main logo and font in everything graphical thing you produce.
(important: streamline the identity in member ex. broadcasts, promotional things, website and so on...)

Rule 6:
Stay focused on the identity, don't loosen it, and you will gain the effect steady.

Get your Ning site the domain redirect add-on, as well as the created by removed add-on, at the Premium Services section of your site. I know it costs money, but some times you need to invest to gain weight and build your community from there. You will gain power, with a straight forward and easy URL name, without the .ning attached, no offense to Ning, it's just way to hard to explain people about dots and dits, it has to be simple and straight like You can redirect your Ning domain name to you own URL, you just need the premium service at Ning and a webhost service of your own choice.

There is alot of posibilities these days to gain income at uniq community sites, but the base has to be in place as first thing. A solid visual identity is in my oppinion one of the most important things, in these WEB 2 days. Use some time on it and use it strategic to gain more members.

If you need some inspiration on branding a solid identity, you don't have to go any further than at your bookmarks. Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, YouTube... you know them, but have look at the streamline in all of these great communities visual expression forms.

I personally recommend Vimeo, in which says it all visually. Straight forward, simple and yet strong.

Thats all from me today, i made this article to inspire other network owners, hope it might be usefull to some people.

My Creators Page: Morten Aabo
Follow My Group: Visual Identity Group here at Ning Creators
I've constructed this visual tutorial to illustrate the basics og colour rules. Have a look and make your choice...

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  • Great tips! I love for producing color combinations too!
    • The site is nothing less than awesome and very helpfull to anybody working on visuals.

      Thanks for sharing Laura.
  • Great post Morten
    • Thank you Andrew, just wanted to reach out and share my thoughts on this issue.

      It's actually just some small thoughts on how to approach the world, put the message down straight and create a comfortable community site. For some people it might be a huge task, not everyone is a graphical prodigy with the rights style, i know that it takes alot of work, but I can see it working for alot of the very large community sites.

      In general these basic rules can be used for any website, it's all about thoughts on layout and identity speaking to potential members, as well as the one already on board.

      It's important not to stuff peoples throats with mass marketing, but a clean identity says: "Hey, we are here, and we ain't going no where!" It's a bit about trust as well, if you hit a non balanced website, using no identity at all, i believe that some people will leave, feeling unsafe to sign up.

      Think about bank webpages? - You expect some system, order and clean look, to represent your safety and money value. You don't wan't to se 5 animated .gif images, an blinkin' Under-Construction sign and 16 different colours, mixed with minor critical bugs. You expect security and trust, therefore you expect this clean and systematic identity to mirror that look back at you, sayin: "We got the situation under more than control, feel safe to join with your email".

      Visual Identity, gotta love it. :0)
  • Add-On / Selected Guideline Example:



    The reason for a visual identity is not to limit the creative process or design scope, but in writing terms, make a coherent sentence.

    The main goal is to produce visibility and "recognizability" in public for both the software product and the OpenSource community Therefore it is necessary that people get a positive feeling about the visual identity style by being confronted with it's graphical elements as often as reasonably possible.

    A good visual identity style has to reflect a professional environment and to leave the focus not on the style itself, but on the product behind it and shows what the product has to offer.

    There are two types of design environments in the Art Community, promotional graphics which allow more freedom in design and in-product graphics which need to be highly in-sync with the visual identity.

    As long as this page doesn't contain more content from inside the Art Project, it just links to Visual Design, created by Stella Schulze, the designer of the icons.

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