What Is the “Look and Feel” of a Website? And Why It’s Important

*Updated April 2022*

“Look and Feel” is a phrase designers hear all the time from peers and clients alike. Although it sounds very broad, this phrase holds a specific meaning for our work.

So, what do we really mean when we say it?

And how do you successfully accomplish an appropriate “look and feel” for your B2B website design?

We break it down in this blog:

What Is the “Look and Feel” of a Website?

The “look” is defined by the following components of your website:

Color palette selection, color combination, and consistent application are key components of every brand. For a new B2B website design, time needs to be spent researching the competitive landscape and selecting a versatile yet unique color palette to help establish a new brand look. If your company is undertaking a website redesign, but already has an established brand color scheme, achieving a new look with color is still possible. A design using a designated color palette can be made to look light or dark, vibrant or muted, saturated or pastel, all depending on how each color is utilized.

Think of your website redesign as an opportunity to revamp your color usage. Designers can carry forward your strongest most familiar brand color(s) while also finding different ways to apply or combine secondary colors for a more elevated look.

The use of patterns, graphics, icons, and/or photography all help establish a unique “look”. Are the patterns organic or geometric? Are the photos straightforward or stylized? Are the icons abstract or representational? There is a wide variety of aesthetics that can be achieved through deliberate image choices and combinations.

Font selection has a subtle but important impact on the look of a website. Beyond just serif and sans serif, font specifications should include weights, sizing, and hierarchy. Just like with color application, a single font can look very different depending on how it is utilized. Are headlines set in heavyweight or a more delicate lightweight? Should certain text be consistently ALL CAPS? Should additional character spacing be added? Successful B2B brands make specific font styling decisions and apply them consistently across their web and marketing materials.

A webpage layout basically refers to the overall composition. This is achieved through the deliberate organization of each element on the page. Is the layout…clear and simple or too busy? Is the structure centered, left-aligned or mixed? Are elements evenly balanced or intentionally asymmetrical? How designers arrange content and imagery on a page affects the overall look, but also has implications for ease of user experience and ultimately conversions.

The “feel” is determined by these characteristics of your website:

Looking at the overall website colors, images, fonts, and layout automatically inspires a reaction or feeling. Ask yourself what is my first impression of this website… Serious? Approachable? Sophisticated? Playful?

For a successful B2B website design, the feeling should appeal to target audiences and fit into the company’s marketing goals. For example, an overly playful or visually complex website design would not be as appropriate or effective for a law firm. A more serious and sophisticated-looking design however would help instill a feeling of trust and confidence in potential clients.

The speed at which pages and images load on a website is important. If speeds are too slow for page load or a carousel is set too fast for comfortable reading, site visitors feel frustrated. When adding animation for any content or graphics, careful consideration of the type of motion and pacing makes all the difference. For example, using a smooth slide-in for an image would result in a very different feel than using a quick popup and bounce effect for that same image.

Dynamic web components like buttons, dropdown menus, forms, galleries, and interactive graphics add to the overall mood. For example, a button hover effect could be as subtle as a slight color change or more edgy with bright color contrasts, motion, added elements, or shape changes. It’s important to note that flashy and complex interactions aren’t necessarily better for conversions. If too many things are going on at once, a site visitor is more likely to get confused or distracted. When used strategically and balanced with a simpler layout, more complex animations can certainly add value.

Why Is the Look and Feel of a Website Important?

Your website’s overall look and feel is important because it instantly conveys an attitude to your clients before they even start reading any content. It can also be described as the website’s “personality.” Your website’s personality should match the attitude of your business and your business objectives.

Although there is some leeway across industries, site visitors can get confused or turned off by a website that looks or feels too far outside of their expectations for that business sector.

Before you begin a website redesign, check your goals against industry standards. Take a look at your competitors’ websites and those of companies in your space. A consulting or SaaS website would benefit from a fresh, clean, and well-organized design. A website for a band or fashion designer however has much more freedom to play with unexpected and radical colors, textures, animations, and image choices.

How to Use “Look and Feel” to Enhance Your Web Design

Look and feel can be described using adjectives just like you would describe a friend or business associate. By using accurate adjectives, you can assist the team at your chosen web design company in their layout and design choices before they present their work to you.

Here are some examples of the types of adjectives you might use to describe your website:

  • Friendly
  • Formal
  • Approachable
  • Professional
  • Experienced
  • Upscale
  • Exclusive
  • Cutting edge
  • Scholarly
  • High-tech
  • Tranquil
  • Powerful
  • Graceful

On the other hand, websites with poorly considered overall design and usability schemes can inadvertently fall into less flattering categories, such as:

  • Boring
  • Loud
  • Uptight
  • Stodgy
  • Outdated
  • Tacky
  • Cute
  • Cluttered
  • Confusing
  • Childish

Instead of focusing on just positive adjectives, you can help your web design team triangulate your expectations by providing them with a description scale such as, “The website should look fun and exciting but not childish” or “Our website should be professional but never stodgy or old-fashioned.”

When working with a web design company, take some time to clearly define your business objectives and key adjectives regarding the look and feel of your website to ensure that everyone is on the same page before web design work begins.

Looking to update the look and feel of your B2B website design? Contact us today to discuss your website project.


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