Case Study: capitalone.com

If you have done many design case studies, with me or by yourself, I think you will begin to see how truly simple this CapitalOne website is. Every element of this layout is very common ever since Bootstrap became so popular. The layout is just one big column of full-width panels. The main panel is a big photograph with a call-to-action button. The secondary panel is one of those 3-column summaries with icons that we see everywhere.

The color scheme is monochromatic. It’s a light blue color toned slightly with green. The color is what ties together the different panels. The call-to-action button, the corporate logo, and even the little icons for “Meet Capital One Banking” include this blue color or a nearby shade.

This is a site that a beginning web developer could throw together in a day using Bootstrap. Bootstrap has made it so that practically every corporate website looks almost exactly like this. One way of looking at that is that the barrier to entry is pretty low. A small business can easily create a similar web page for itself without needing to hire a fancy and expensive design team. A teenager who does web on the side could do this for $50. On the other hand, it’s pretty dull. In my opinion, companies that can afford more interesting flourishes of design should pay for them. Why does Capital One’s website look exactly like a thousand other web sites I’ve seen?

Before moving on, let’s note the use of blue here. It’s not just that blue was an arbitrary choice smartly used to tie the page together. Studies have shown that the color blue evokes a sense of safety and trust, so banks and such often use this color in their corporate identities.

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