Before I was crucified by the audience, I quickly said it still does, but perhaps not as much.
Why? I threw out the concept last week, asking, “when so much of a brand’s content is consumed via RSS, Facebook, Twitter…does design matter?”
Sure you can design a good looking blog, but if a large percentage of the readers use an RSS reader, does the design matter? Also, what is going to keep you coming back to a corporate blog? It’s the content, not the design.
Many organizations are realizing the interactions they have with customers on sites like Twitter and Facebook are very rewarding, however you have very limited design flexibility on those sites. In the case of Twitter you can tweak some of the page settings, but your primary brand-design element is a 48 x 48 pixel avatar. We recently dealt with a client that had a logo that didn’t shrink well, that is when it was 48 x 48 you couldn’t really tell what it was. It sounds funny, but things like that are now a design consideration. I remember a while back when a brand was always worried about how a color logo would transition to black & white for print purposes, now it’s shrinkage
In a post over on the Mplanet blog I touch on some of these same subjects. However one point I made was that perhaps in this new world of distributed content that small branding you can supply (even if it’s 48 x 48) might help you stand out in the crowd. Those that are customers or evangelists can look for that ‘official’ seal.
As I said at the Design Summit, I don’t have the easy answer. But, it’s an interesting issue that I think that every organization that engages in social media will have to deal with.