Always Learning! SharePoint Branding 101

A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to teach myself how to apply a custom ‘brand’ or interface design to SharePoint 2010. I was enticed into this pursuit for a number of reasons, including:

  • The fact I find myself more often than not working with SharePoint…
  • … and increasingly inhibited by SharePoint 2010’s out of the box charcoal grey minimalism
  • Client need
  • Prior career history that includes website design and, back in the day, happy times spent creating HTML from scratch in Notepad
  • A tendency to nerdish enthusiasm for poking around inside the applications I work with

And less obviously, but appositely:

  • Awareness that user adoption and engagement can be enhanced by thoughtful, compelling interface design
  • Recognising that a deeper understanding of interface design informs and improves my Information Architecture skills and practice
  • An abiding love of graphic design, typography and all things aesthetic and, therefore, the pleasure I get from working with graphic designers and realizing their vision in SharePoint
  • An early interest in and minor talent for fine art (sadly lost overboard in the ocean of time, though I do still paint & draw sometimes. Occasionally. Seldom. Once in a blue moon.)  Now ready to find an outlet in pixel perfection
  • A day job often largely devoted to strategic thinking, writing and analytical work, meaning hands-on build and design effort from time to time is the change that’s as good as a rest

Professional SharePoint 2010 Branding and User Interface DesignSo, I’m now slowly working my way through this excellent reference Professional SharePoint 2010 Branding and User Interface Design in my spare time. Having a great time with it – the book is clearly structured and has various easy-to-follow practical exercises that encourage you to apply and thereby cement your learnings.  It also includes access to downloadable resources. Great value – I would highly recommend it to anyone embarking on the SharePoint branding journey.

I haven’t made it to Advanced Branding yet, but assuming that information is as thorough as that in the Introductory and Basic Branding sections, the book will serve you well from end to end. Well done Randy Drisgill, John Ross, et al.

If you are embarking on this journey, or interested in the topic generally, I hope you will also find the following, my principal online references, helpful:

My SharePoint Branding Go-To Heroes:

  1. Eric Swenson: (I love the way Eric blogs – so clear and so comprehensive – who knew SharePoint CSS classes could be so interesting)
  2. Randy Drisgill:
  3. Heather Waterman:


At last, Heather Solomon’s CSS Chart for SharePoint 2010 is available:  (Everyone who’s anyone in the world of SharePoint 2007 branding has always lived by her old version:

Found this great branding blogger:

Online Branding Resources & Tools:

Other General SharePoint Branding Help & How To Links


Inspiration is very personal, so take the following or leave it. Or provide your own via a comment if you like.

While I don’t claim or want to be a web designer, I do find having a ‘design sensibility’ is important when communicating with designers. It’s also useful when conducting a 4-way translation between client, web designer, developer and SharePoint and navigating a path that will work for all parties.

It’s for those reasons (and personal enjoyment) that I trawl the following, as necessary…

Inspiration – SharePoint:

Inspiration & Resources – General:

Stock Photography, Illustrations and Icons:

Typography & Fonts:

Visual Design:

User Experience, Information Design, Etc.

(Original Author: Lynn Warneke)

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