It’s an unfortunate fact of life that creatives working for a business of any size will sometimes find themselves constrained by requirements which inevitably hamper their designs. Usually this is no more onerous than having to work within existing style guidelines, but occasionally it also includes particular ways of working which ties one hand behind your back. So it was after dnata acquired the company I worked for and wanted a transactional travel website.
Like most multi-nationals, dnata did indeed have a corporate style guide, and even a team to enforce it, but that was no hindrance. The problem was that a decision had been made to create a clone of the Travel Republic site and use LESS and an army of variables to change the font and colours used for Dnata Travel. I cautioned against this, not least because it was not what dnata wanted, but was overruled. With hindsight it was conceded I was right to do so, but at the time I was left to square the circle.
Despite these unnecessary and wrong-headed constraints, compounded by the fact that this also meant the HTML couldn’t be amended to aid the design process, I worked diligently to create a user interface which met dnata’s style guidelines. Important brand devices were incorporated and used for inspiration to provide a unique header and main navigation menu. Oversized font sizes were calmed and buttons and links made obvious and intuitive.
The end result was sufficiently ‘on brand’ that the Corporate Compliance unit approved it without amendment and work soon began to produce a right-to-left version in Arabic.