These days it seems that a vast array of online businesses are constantly emerging out of the ether, and it’s really no surprise that new ones are being launched every day all around the world. The current online industry has a huge impact on the world and how we interact with each other, and when you add globalization into the mix you have a huge market that demands a novel and much needed service or product offering to succeed.
Looking back, the emergence of user based applications in the early 2000′s, dubbed in late 2004 as ‘Web 2.0’, represented a major shift in how the Internet was used, both for businesses and individuals. Suddenly, online power shifted into the hands of the user, opening the door to a group of (very) smart entrepreneurs who could build the tools to facilitate this new user experience and power.
Whilst some Web 2.0 brands are now household names with thousands fo staff (Facebook, Ebay etc), most are still lean companies with only a few employees (in comparison to their global reach), mainly through incredibly clever marketing, strong brand identity, and delivering the value that they promise to their users.
Web 2.0 – Representing a market
Here at 99designs we decided to crunch some numbers and see what we could find around Web 2.0 industry branding; and one interesting discovery found was that Web 2.0 branding is enormously popular with our designers with the average amount of design submissions being far higher than the average contest.
Lets look at Cars.net: A lean start up looking to focus on the online trade of used cars (typical Web 2.0). They recently ran a design contest and selected the ‘Web 2.0’ style option for their logo… and in turn received an astounding 1,547 designs from close to 500 designers.
Likewise WattzOn, a website enabling the general public to minimise their energy bills, received just shy of 3,000 designs from 583 designers. Considering that the contest budgets were fairly standard, this response and interest from the design community is certainly interesting. After seeing more and more similar stories of this, we sat down to work out why this style of company draws so much attention from our designers.
The first is the nature of the businesses. Web 2.0 companies – more so than other industries – have the potential to become household names almost overnight thanks to their potential for staggering growth. The designer that wins a Web 2.0 contest may have a very real opportunity to see their work exposed on a global level – a very strong endorsement for a designer to spend time entering a particular contest.
Secondly, the nature of logo designs for Web 2.0 companies are simple, crisp and usually word-based. If you consider the Web2.0 companies that you regularly use, you will notice that few have logos that consist of more than the company name and perhaps a simple image allowing for the brand to be easily recognised. Simplicity usually means more direction from the contest holder and a much higher chance of success – two things that are imperative when running a successful design contest.
“What does that mean for me?”
With the pending emergence of the next generation of Web 3.0 technology – computers providing users original content – its likely that web branding will continue the trend of simplistic designs. Contest holders that are looking to create the next Facebook will need to really nail their branding, and gain themselves a simple but effective logo to convey their image.
It appears to be quite the juxtaposition: Increasingly complex software successfully sold with simplistic branding, but it seems to work. Its almost as if the simple nature of the design humanises the chaos behind the scenes, making it feel approachable and friendly to the user.
Simplistic design for the online industry is an important branding lesson online entrepreneurs need to spend time getting their head around, once they do it may mean that their business can become as big as Amazon or Facebook much faster.