It’s that time of year again. The halls are being decked, the presents are stacking under the tree, and for many organisations it’s a great time of year for promotions, sales, and special events. Christmas has been used this way for decades and really there are only a limited number of ways you can express the same idea. We all know the visual motifs associated with Christmas: a man in a red suit, fir trees, presents, and guaranteed snow regardless of the climate of your location. As a branding exercise this presents a dilemma – how do you preserve your individual brand identity while still tapping into a festival that comes with a massive brand of it’s own?
The obvious choices here are jolly old red and green, but these can seem garish if they don’t match well with your company’s key colours. Using more subdued versions of these tones can give a more mature and elegant look. And if even that is too jarring, switching to a ‘winter’ theme rather than a Christmas one gives you a palette of cool and sensible blues, silvers and whites. These more neutral colours are the epitome of festive understatement, and can be made to fit more restrained and elegant colour schemes.
Less is more
Before you rush to sprinkle your entire website in glitter, it’s worth considering if your brand actually needs to recognise the holiday. Some brands don’t have much of a stake in seasonal trade. For them, mentioning Christmas at all will be more of a polite sidenote than a key part of their marketing campaign. If that’s the case then one or two tastefully placed snowflakes or sprigs of festive foliage added to your page header may be more than enough.
That said, if it suits your brand and your business, go all out on your Christmas decorating. Just keep it tasteful. Remember that Christmas shopping is infamous for being rather … overstimulating. Cluttering up your webpage too much will only make it disorientating for visitors and, most importantly, hard for them to navigate. A festive promotional campaign will do you and your clients no good if they can’t work out how to get to the checkout page! So keep it clean, clear, and preserve your white space, the goal here is to support the brand identity you already have, not drown it in reindeer. The rules of good design still apply at Christmas.
Have a Christmas message
Splurging Christmas-related imagery all over your website in the hope of attracting custom is a bit like shooting a scatter-gun. Eventually you’re bound to hit something, but not with any accuracy or intent. It’s better to be specific and follow an idea that relates to what you do. Pick just one track to follow and do it well. For example:
Christmas is a time for showing people your appreciation using gifts – we sell gifts!
Christmas is a time for family – here are some ways we can help you make that happen.
Christmas is about having a good time – here’s a dumb cracker joke and a funny picture of our founder in a Santa hat.
A witty visual pun is often appreciated, especially when it has something to do with the function of the company (although that three-way convergence of humour is tricky to pull off). But, again, if it fits with your brand image, feel free to be a bit funny. Just make sure that whatever you choose to do, it sits well with your existing visual style.