I didn't catch on to BJJ Weekly until over a year into my training, but I loved its look from the start. The simple red, black and white. The unfussy logo that was little more than the site's name in a serifed font. The dude's back with the patch. The epic commercials. Loved it all. It was noble and clean, two words people don't necessarily associate with this gentle, grounded art. So when they announced they were going to change the site a couple of months back, I was intrigued as to what they'd come up with. When I saw the previews though, I was hurt. Like personally hurt.
What's with the orange? Why the blue background on the site? What's all this shiny? All the bumpy? So much...energy and brightness. Sad though I was, I think it was a good call. Two things had happened...brand redesign and website redesign. Each has its own impact.
Brand redesign happens for a number of reasons...new competitors, unwanted/unclear association with a brand, reflecting new strategic direction, even things just getting stale. We've seen it with everything from Google to Coke to the Denver Broncos to the Missile Defense agency. If I had to guess (and this is a complete guess, haven't talked to anybody over at BJJ Weekly), I'd put my money on a growing field of BJJ sites and newsletters hitting the web playing a part in the decision. It's important to keep yourself "fresh" in the eyes of your readers and, well, people have a tendency to get used to even the most beautiful and impactful things. I don't remember much from my online interior decoration classes, but I DO remember quite a bit of color theory, and if you ever want to project energy and electricity, bright orange is your friend. Add it to simple black and white and you get subtle verve. Paint a room with it and...well, you border on the exhausting and overwhelming, but all in all it's a dynamic and useful color.
Website redesign...this one's a must. Its should always be in synch with the company's master brand (or else potential customers may get lost), but it also has to keep readers interested, and is also necessary to stay in compliance with current browser updates and SEO trends. It's been estimated as a need for any business that wants to stay relevant, anywhere from every 12 to 36 months depending on site complexity, which puts BJJ Weekly right on schedule.
So yeah, I think the new site will do them good, I think their readers will love it and thankfully, I can watch the commercials with tracks fit for a Lord of the Rings prequel on YouTube when I get nostalgic.