Web Design Case: Mala the Brand

Mala the Brand homepage. Green festive set with fruits in a bowl, twinkling candles, red wine, and candy canes. Text left bottom corner reads "our festive flames are here!".

I often visit Mala the Brand even though I have to admit, I’ve never even bought anything off the site. I find I’m drawn to the website because I feel it is well-designed and it is a source for inspiration. What initially stands out about the site is that text is structured in “semantically structured chunks”, which Erin Kissane (2013) explains is a critical element of an engaging site. This structure of text allows it to be reassembled, reworked, and made more dynamic.

 I also find that their homepage and Blog page have successfully captured “structure on narrative forms”, drawing my attention to feature blog posts (Kissane, 2013, para. 5). Mala has created a theme and narrative through their blog posts with their “Muse” series where local small business-owners are highlighted. This aligns with the websites’ themes and allows the audience to connect beyond just a generic webpage.

Mala has an in-depth accessibility feature that not allows users with specific impairments to alter the site, users can also adjust site content, colour, and orientation for ease of use. Mala has great attention to detail and designed text layout creatively. For instance, squiggle designs are often used to separate text rather than textboxes. Travis Gertz (2015) explains that this approach actually reinforces the content’s message. In other words, Mala quite literally thinks outside the (text)box! Their text content becomes part of the design through their font, size, and colour decisions.

The design is also very unique in my opinion because it reflects Mala’s brand and vision. What I mean by this is I can easily gather what the brand narrative is through layout, images, small text blurbs, emojis, and information architecture. The initial reason I was drawn to the site was that a while ago, a blog and marketing position at Mala the Brand was posted as a co-op opportunity. After reviewing their other positions, something was clear: there is a lot of collaboration. Gertz (2015) stresses the importance of editors, writers, and designers coming together to help with strategy, graphics, and content. Different interpretations and styles help avoid “digital design homogeneity” (Gertze, 2015, para. 5), which is evident in this website.

Finally, I particularly admire the site’s imagery and visual elements. I appreciate the interactivity of images when hovered over. I like the use of “:)” which I argue is a more authentic approach to human connection (Gertz, 2015). Their theme is clear through their vintage-looking sets for their candle photoshoots and their cozy colour-scheme. 

I’d only suggest that the blog posts have slightly more design elements rather than large text blocks. I feel more design intentions have gone into pages rather than the blog posts. While the content is good, it loses substance and meaning gets lost when the page lacks design elements.

All in all, Mala the Brand is a website I look to for design inspiration!

Blog post reel for Mala the Brand. The most recent post is featured at the top of the page with a photo of a smiling man accompanied by a text blurb on the left of the image. A reel of other blog posts line the bottom of the page.

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