Variations on standard look and feel

I realize that the title of today’s blog is an oxymoron. How can we have variations if we have a standard? However, even within the confines of strict standards and guidelines, we can still provide the ability for a unit, project, department, etc. to have an identity. Now, this is not something I’d encourage, but it is nonetheless an option if you are managing the site of a company driven by a”silo mentality.” At my last employer, we had to deal with individuals who wanted to remain creative in designing their own sites. Even after I came up with standards, there was a lot pressure to let departments create their own identity. My compromise at the time was to let them have control (somewhat) over the local banner, a graphic that appears below the top banner. This was clearly useful in making my standard templates more acceptable. If designed right, these local banners can actually add a nice touch.