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How to Create a Punny Web Design

If your company’s underlying persona is fun and fresh, you may want to figure out a play on words or pun for your overall web design. People tend to associate a company with the outward appearance it gives. Using humor in your website design and branding efforts can be quite useful.

Laughter in the workplace has several benefits, including relieving stress and encouraging creativity. You can easily share those benefits with your customers by implementing humor into everything you do. Just be careful, because not everyone has the same humor. The last thing you want to do is offend your potential customers. Here are six tips to keep in mind as you design your punny website.

1. Make Yourself Stand Out

Unique humor helps you stand out from the competition. If your product lends itself to humor, figure out how you can implement puns and jokes into your web design and social media marketing. The goal is to attract the attention of your target audience, and 72 percent of people who follow a brand on a social media channel state that they are more likely to buy something from that brand. There is a cacophony of noise on the Internet, so using your humor to stand out is a smart move.

2. Trigger an Emotional Response

Figuring out how to reach your readers on an emotional level isn’t always easy. Emotion-driven website design focuses on making the site visitor feel something. In some cases, humor is the exact emotion to tap into. At least it elicits a response and makes your site memorable to the reader. Studies show emotions help with memory retention. So, if you can gain that emotional response, you stand a better chance of the consumer recalling your brand.

3. Develop Your Own Puns

People like puns because they’re smart and provide an unusual way to look at the world. The goal is for your site visitor to wonder why they didn't see or understand the pun before because it seems almost that obvious. A pun looks at all the different possible meanings of a word or object.

Cliffside Industries uses a pun to describe their product

Look at Cliffside’s website. This company produces handles for kitchen cabinets, and the punny play on words in their tagline draws you right in and has a double meaning.

They state: “There’s nothing we can’t handle.” This pun not only ties itself back to the product, but it also lets the consumer know they provide award-winning handles.

4. Use Puns Properly

When should you use puns in web design? If your brand lends itself in any way to humor, it’s appropriate to use a pun. In Plutchik's Wheel of Emotion, there are different levels of emotion that all tie in together. There are eight basic emotions, with joy falling into the category of puns.

So, any time you want to evoke the emotion of joy, you could potentially use a pun. You can use it in your headings, taglines or even in your text.

Duluth Trading uses humor to advertise shirts

Duluth Trading is known for their funny advertisements. Their target audience is the average person who spends time during the day on a range of activities, as well as outdoor enthusiasts. They aren’t trying to put on any airs. Duluth reminds you of your Uncle Frank, who is a bit politically incorrect and just says what is on his mind. Note their pun about “arms” to advertise their free-swinging chambray shirts. They say it is a “call to arms.”

5. Know When Not to Use Puns

If your brand has a more serious nature, a pun isn't the best choice. For example, if you sell cemetery plots, you wouldn't want to quip that people are "dying to get into" your cemetery. Avoid joking about these things in poor taste. Even though some people would find that funny, many others would not. If it is a sensitive subject, then it is best to stay away from it.

If your pun can be misinterpreted, then it is also best to not use it. You’ll want to run any puns by a wide range of people to be sure they are offensive to anyone. If the response is positive, then it’s probably OK to use.

6. Find the Right Pun

Figuring out a pun isn't always an easy task. One thing you can do is to brainstorm words associated with your brand and the product you sell. Then, think about famous sayings around those words. Duluth Trading's "call to arms" above is an excellent example of this. Next, get a big piece of paper and put a few words in circles. Then, just start brainstorming phrases off those words, writing as fast as you can.

Once you’re finished with your brainstorming session, look at what you’ve written down. Does anything stand out? What could be used as a tagline or headline for your website? Is there any way to draw an illustration for the reader? Have fun with the process.

Standing Out from the Crowd

In a highly saturated marketplace, using humor allows your brand to stand out from your competitors. When done tastefully, puns might not make the person laugh out loud, but they will elicit a smile and an emotional response that will keep your brand in the forefront of their mind. Take the time to think through the best puns to use for your website, then try out a few different ones to see what your site visitors enjoy the most.

Lexie 1

Guest Blog Author: Lexie Lu


Lexie Lu is a freelance UX designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest web design trends and always has some coffee nearby. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.


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