Another kind of update: the subtle website redesign

Not every reboot comes with noise, bells and whistles. In fact, for many of our clients, a low-key update is a far more desirable approach. I’ve noticed recently that we’ve been asked by quite a few clients to take a top down look at their website, but to see the changes and re-structure they’re after as an incremental, not radical, step. The art of the subtle website redesign also tends to come with less pressure on the team, client-side, as it’s seen as ‘improvements’ rather than a redesign, even if the end result is in effect a fairly comprehensive set of changes. We’ve just completed such a brief for international financial services business Investcorp-Tages, who needed to expand their website – and we were keen it was done in a stylish way that improved the site throughout.

Our history with the firm began in mid-2020 midway through the formation of the business, which was a carve-out merger of two business functions. It was the early days of the pandemic and we were asked to work to a tight deadline, entirely remotely, having never met anyone at either firm. It was a remarkably successful endeavour: we drew up the logo, then devised and built the website on time.

Around six months later, the dust having settled, we significantly expanded the project to be a far fuller business website, which used the design elements we originally contrived. That was the last major change – until now.

The new subtle website redesign for Investcorp-Tages

An example of our regulatory requirement work for the firm

1. Brand extension, the easy way

There can be many reasons for a subtle website redesign, but in almost every case it primarily involves increasing the visibility of a firm’s set of services. This was certainly true of Investcorp-Tages who required a greater emphasis on their internally managed strategies and key partnerships.

The design of the new site adds a series of new graphic elements to the mix, and thus is essentially a brand extension exercise. The overall look uses a new concept of blending video with a series of strips which repeat throughout the site. It’s a smart improvement on the straightforward design we created four years ago, yet sits well with everything else the firm does. We have moved everything forward but within the world of their brand, business marketplace and clientele.

Our choice and edit of video is once more based on the cities the firm is based in: this choice itself is more continuity from the first site than a radical shift, yet the movement adds dynamism by default, inevitably drawing the eye towards the screen. We’ve gone on to use video throughout the site, often applying simple loops which in each case are overlaid with our new brand stripe motif.

subtle website redesign
subtle website redesign

The new fund and investment pages - examples of a subtle website redesign for Investcorp-Tages

2. Pagination expansion means reputation enhancement

A significant part of this project was agreeing with Investcorp-Tages how to set out their enhanced, expanded set of services in the clearest possible way. The art of designing navigation is something I rarely dwell on in my design reviews of our work, but it’s really important. This particular project is a good example of why thinking about structure and the journey of a website user is so important before a project begins. In this instance, pages were of four types, then under two of these sat a further set of pages. Writing this out sounds complicated, the reality needed to be the exact opposite.

In fact we’d invented a set of geometric logos for each of the page types in the previous round of work but had never really used them for navigation. We realised that there was huge potential for these (almost) sub-brands to be used in a more dynamic and interesting way, an idea Investcorp-Tages immediately liked. We took a holistic design approach, a completely rethought navigation system was then created which has ended up looking seriously impressive.

The presentation of these services within this subtle website redesign is primarily on the homepage and then in a dropdown and on each of the service pages in a secondary navigation. The overall effect is of presenting the business and its overall service offering in a clear list format throughout. Even if these pages aren’t relevant to a specific user, it can’t help but burnish the reputation of the firm, a very pleasing result for us and Investcorp-Tages.

Awards and press releases pages

3. Be drastic, launch softly

One of the inevitabilities of working with a financial services business on a marketing project is the aherence of regulatory oversight. This takes time. This project was intended as something we’d turn around swiftly but the finished product has taken rather longer as nearly every facet of the business was touched by the reworking of the pages and their content. Once one department got wind of a redesign, another wanted to be involved. Rather than see this as overtly prolonged, the end result is of a comprehensive rethink that everyone has embraced.

While I have been framing this project as a case study in pure, subtle website redesign, the finished result is far from full, containing a number of really interesting outcomes. Most significantly, the overall structure of the business offering is far clearer, no small matter for a growing global business. Thereafter the list of improvements continue with the changes we’ve made in style and technology, giving the business a modern fresh look with a new design motif and application of video.

The overall end result is best described as an iron fist in a velvet glove. Began as a simple update, we’ve ended up creating a significant head to toe reboot that involved a lot of redesign. Yet I am convinced that existing clients would see an improvement but probably not be able to tell the precise difference. Very much the intention.

If you’ve got to start somewhere, why not consider a subtle website redesign?

Working in the financial management industry, modern, distinctive branding is vital. We know that in with ever-more discerning clientele, having a brand and web presence that evolves over time is inevitable and needs handling with confidence. We also understand the attraction of applying this vision incrementally. Why not get in touch to discuss a range of different approaches?

Whether you’re in the UK or work across Europe, we can work on designs from the creative to the corporate, depending on your brief and budget.

Call us on 020 7351 4083 or email us direct.