I was recently looking at the CFI-Transnational website. I noticed a recent slight redesign, which prompted me to consider the site in a bit more detail. I hope and expect that this is a temporary look. There are so many problems. Generally speaking, these problems mirror those with the CFI’s magazines that we discussed earlier.
(1) The word "transnational" just sounds hokey. I understand the intention, but it’s like something from a bad sf novel. Why not just CFI-International? That would be much cleaner and less pretentious. We have to be concerned about not sounding like the cults we so carefully investigate.
(2) What’s with the italicized fonts underneath the globe? Are the words supposed to be appearing from behind the earth? It’s too reminiscent of something from Star Wars or 2001.
(3) There are altogether too many fonts on the page. To take one example of many, the "Camp Inquiry" font may be nice for kids, but putting it on the front page looks like Goofy just wandered into science class. One of the basics of branding and labeling is to keep the fonts to a minimum, and stick to one "look" per page, otherwise it tires the eye. The Camp Inquiry "look" can be on its own page.
(4) The page design is terribly busy and cluttered. There is a Camp Inquiry box, a Student Leadership banner, and other boxes and banners. Much as I like the "CFI Forums" button, it has to be brought in under a single design style, not as one of a bunch of different banners and buttons.
(5) The color scheme is frightening. Red white and blue is bad enough for the CFI button (really, it is VERY bad), but then with the different yellows (Camp Inquiry, Student Leadership Conference, CSICOP/CSH/CSMMH/CSER box) and white background ... none of this jells.
To take some websites that do this sort of thing very well:
(1) Point of Inquiry. Wow! Someone really got it right! PoI has a clean, simple look. The PoI logo and font is simple and elegant. Spare style, no clutter. A+.
(2) Check out: The Rockefeller Foundation. The MacArthur Foundation. Here are two worldwide (not to say "transnational") foundations of great size, scope and power. Their front page "looks", on the other hand, are simple, elegant, worldly. Few colors; few, well organized boxes.
(3) A TV show site: PBS’s Nova. Again, cool, simple, elegant, unpretentious. Great "science-y" feel.
(4) A museum site: Metropolitan Museum. Yes, it’s a museum, but with a worldwide focus and a huge amount of information on the site. Extremely well designed, simple, with few colors per page, few fonts.
(5) An educational and research foundation: The Brookings Institution. The site is a little busy, but relatively clear and direct.
In general, I think the CFI should be thinking of The New Yorker for the internet, or Ancient Greece and the Enlightenment for a new age. Branding is largely visual and it needs to get across the feel of being reliable, scientific, classic, direct, transparent.
As it stands, the CFI’s [i:1d2a723b10]look[/i:1d2a723b10] clashes with its [i:1d2a723b10]mission[/i:1d2a723b10].
The [b:1d2a723b10]mission[/b:1d2a723b10] is: [i:1d2a723b10]transparency, simplicity, reliability, directness, elegance[/i:1d2a723b10].
The [b:1d2a723b10]look[/b:1d2a723b10] says: [i:1d2a723b10]hokey, unreliable, all-over-the-place, busy, obscure, childish[/i:1d2a723b10].
Anyone have any disagreements, agreements, discussions on this issue?