When designing custom themes for clients we ask clients what the key design themes of their intranet are. Quite often the answer is a combination of two contrasting themes eg. “We would like our intranet to have a corporate look, but also feel fun and engaging”. What does this actually mean, and how do you achieve such a thing?

Designing “corporate but fun” intranets requires a clever balancing act. It’s very easy to go over the top one way or the other and ruin the design altogether. Below are some of the things we think about when we design for both:

  1. Keep the page background white.
    Keeping the background neutral is important because it doesn’t allow the page background colour to limit the use of imagery or colour elsewhere.For fixed width designs we do sometimes use a background image to frame a white content area. In this case it’s important to ensure the background image is not too de-saturated or dark.
  2. Keep the colour palette simple and the fonts used to a minimum.
    A 2-3 colour palette is usually more than enough for an intranet. The more colours you use in your design the more confused the theme of your intranet will be.Intranet’s unlike websites contain multiple blocks of content using the same colours, therefore they require fewer colours. We quite often use background colours and fonts to distinguish between or highlight certain blocks of content.
  3. Limit the amount of bold colour blocks.
    Too much bold colour in a design usually indicates a less corporate theme.  When used sparingly bold colour blocks can be quite effective in highlighting important areas or functions.
  4. Use imagery of people.
    Imagery of people on an intranet gives the intranet a personal and approachable feel. People introduce warm colours to the design. If the client has imagery of their own staff we encourage using it in the design.
  5. Avoid using monochrome or de-saturated imagery.
    The fewer colours an image has, the less effective it is in presenting a warm friendly feel. Having said that, excessively colourful imagery can have the opposite effect. The best policy is to use imagery of real things (people, scenery) with more natural colour palettes.

Source: IntranetDashboard

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