Consistent Branding on your Website

How a UI kit allows you to plan a design’s structure properly and methodically.

By Cat HowPosted in Ideas

Want to make a beautiful website that doesn't go over budget and has strong, consistent branding throughout? You'll need a UI kit. At their most basic, a UI (User Interface) kit is a comprehensive resource set that allow us to plan a design’s structure properly and methodically.

Everyone has heard of UX (User Experience) but UI is everything designed into a device which a person may interact with - so things like websites on a desktop computer, for example. UI Kits are files (we develop a sort of menu sheet) with an index of useful components, or User Interface elements, which can then be easily applied to user interface design.

The kits we develop have a number of colour options, patterns, brushes and components such as buttons, check boxes, progress bars, avatars and line styles. Quite often - and this is the great part about developing a UI kit ahead of diving straight into interface design - they include components that we sometimes don’t think about using, until we see them. Conversely, they are also a way of making sure that we do design things that we need, ahead of time.

UI kits allow us to solve common problems - like navigation styles, rollovers, breadcrumbs, CTAs or notification boxes - and the better our kit, the easier it is to drop elements into a subsequent design. A bit like slotting pieces into the framework of a jigsaw. That is almost the easy bit.

Using UI kits gives us a more realistic sense of how long a project will take, therefore saving our client’s time… and money. As the building blocks of the design are already there, all we need to do is take the elements from our UI kit; structure and arrange them according to our wireframe and then customise those design elements to fit a client’s brand. So a UI kit provides a great logical progression of thoughts, into process… which ultimately leads to better design.

Of course the time needed to create the design elements for a UI kit in the first place is often unpredictable and a sliding scale depending on the complexity of a project. But, by giving us a realistic sense of what a design project will involve, and how long it might take to implement, we’ve found a UI kit can help with project cost estimates. This ultimately saves our client’s money as we can be far more accurate with our scope, and us the extra design and resource time in the instance of a project ever running over budget. So everyone is happy.

The UI kits we’ve designed for clients - such as for specialist recruitment consultants Quanti (see images) - have proved immensely valuable for them. With the kit we developed for the Quanti website, the team now have all the elements they need to implement changes to their site in the future.

So my advice would be this. A premium UI kit might seem costly up front, but if you’re going to use it as the foundation for every design project in the future, then it goes without saying that it is an extremely worthwhile investment.

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