Brooks Brother’s Visual Rhetoric

brooksbrosWhat they do

Brooks Brothers is a clothing company that specifically sells preppy and semi-formal to formal attire. As one of the first clothing companies to exist in the United States, the company highly values the tradition of their brand. Since they are selling clothes, the company’s website does not use words to sell their product. When someone comes to the website, they are going to be visually stimulated, not linguistically. With this in mind, it is important for the website to follow strict and deliberate designs so that the customers can receive the optimal visual experience. Without presenting the appropriate website design, the brand could lose its strong following and possibly express a message that the company does not want to communicate to its customers. Here is a look at their website.

Simple But Elegant

As stated before, Brooks Brothers has a strong sense of tradition in its brand. The ideal american suit can be broadly described as “simple but elegant”, and so can most appropriate formal attire. The website is on a white canvas and clearly does not try to take away the attention from the product they are presenting. In the videos, John McWade stresses the importance of having a focal point. The Brooks Brother’s website aims to satisfy this goal by keeping the background of the website very plain. Although plain, the website still receives character from the product they are selling, the suits, the ties, the shoes, etc. This use of the white canvas also plays into the section of the video on “Put White to Work”. John makes it clear that white is a color that can be utilized to any designers benefit, even the most experienced. Brooks Brothers adds a professional touch to their website by letting the white color express simplicity with an obvious touch of elegance.

Photo Use

Another important aspect that John discussing in his video is how to properly use pictures. Since the website I am analyzing is clearly centered around the photos of the clothes, it is important to pay attention to them. John says that it is extremely important to never jeopardize the resolution of the picture for size. On this website, there is a large photo right at the top center of the page of three attractive people walking in the city. The photo is clearly large to catch the attention of the customer and it’s resolution quality is perfect. This means that the company used a picture at its true size and did not try to adjust the size to the website, but rather use the correct photo for the correct amount of space.

The Story is Important

The Brooks Brothers brand is one that has more history than a majority of american clothing brands. Established in 1818, the company is proud of where it has come from and wants to keep that proud feeling. The design of the website is a really good way to express their values and make it clear to the customer what their mission as a clothing company is. John speaks about knowing the story of what you are designing and that is what I see as applicable here. By staying true to the values of the company: tradition, simplicity, professionalism, etc. the story of the company is communicated and can be used to ensure a consistent and real website. This creates a conflict between valuing tradition and spending time keeping up with our high-tech world. On one hand, Brooks Brothers has been able to sell their brand by claiming the fact that they are historical. On the other hand, the company realizes the advantages to having an online and modern website. This conflict is hard to satisfy, however, John’s tips to design actually have relevant advice. It is clear that the design of the Brooks Brothers website makes it easier for people to shop on it, and it is hard to notice without stopping and looking a the details presenting in the video.


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