1st edition — by Patrick McNeil — Apr. 25, 2007
The Design Element
Most of these sites for the political category are political candidates, but there are a few mixed in on other topics. Politics never really seems to be a fun topic, well, for me any way. But for many this is a very meaningful one. In fact, in some small way these web sites determine the fate of our country so in fact their design is rather significant.
The first thing I want to comment on is the rather obvious color selections. We are talking about some major red white and blue action here. I suppose this is an obvious choice, and if I were to design one of these I would consider the same combo. These colors have the obvious association with patriotism and national pride. I don't mind designing into what makes sense for a topic, but this one perhaps deserves the chance to go another route. Consider the fact that each of these candidates is in fact building a brand, and nearly all of them have gone with the same color pallet. So in terms of making your brand stand out, using the same colors as everyone else is not such a grand idea. Ah but I can hear you right now "don't the meanings behind red white and blue make it necessary." Well of course these politicians want to be viewed as patriotic, but isn't saying so about as obvious as saying a Ferrari is fast? Of course they are patriotic! We all get that, so lets move on to a meaning that varies from that.
The irony of this is that I had intended to use John McCain's web site as an example, but he has since changed it to more of a blue design with red highlights. The earlier one you can see in the cached screenshot uses a classic black and white pallet combined with a modern shiny feel. Did it feel any less American? Certainly not. Did it stand out among the crowd? You bet. Now his site blends in more. I wonder if he had pressure to change it? Or if someone thought they had done it wrong after looking at the competition.
I think my real point is that this idea of straying from the obvious is a lesson to learn and something to remember when building any brand. This is especially true if your starting from nothing!
Genopal (Color pallet creation software)
COLOURlovers (Excellent color pallet collections)
Kuler - pallet builder from Adobe /
best tool I have found for easily creating beautiful color pallets)
Great color browsing resource (Named colors, by hue, etc)
Blender (On MeyerWeb)
Color In Motion
Color Schemer Online v2
Color Schemer Gallery