Branding in SharePoint:
SharePoint branding means carving out a corporate identity for an organization by changing the look and feel of their website such that it conforms to the brand. In simpler terms, it means creating an ever-lasting impression on a user’s mind such that he will be able to associate the design with a company’s brand. In order to accomplish this process, one needs to change the fonts, logo, colors and the themes, style sheets of the ‘out of the box’ templates provided by SharePoint.
There were a lot of pain points associated with branding in SharePoint 2010, like inability to use editors for editing the HTML and CSS pages, lack of responsive design for different devices and the likes, but SharePoint has addressed those issues satisfactorily in its newest version.
Design Manager and Dreamweaver – The Game-Changers:
For people who are web developers first and SharePoint experts later, this is indeed good news! SharePoint 2013 has added two important features to improve the branding experience and usability – design manager, to consolidate the entire branding process; and support for Dreamweaver, to enable the web designers to edit the HTML in their editor-of-choice.
The Design Manager feature is the core of the efforts by the SharePoint team to address the pain points of branding. This feature allows a designer to create and edit the Master Pages using an editor of their choice and then upload them to SharePoint. In a way, this is like a central hub for all the design and branding endeavors. Afterwards, a designer can also add snippets to the master page of his site.
Most of the web designers out there are really comfortable with Adobe Dreamweaver. Hence, SharePoint 2013 branding has now added support for this tool. A designer can design and edit the HTML pages using Dreamweaver or any other editing tool like Notepad and then upload it to SharePoint. Moreover, he doesn’t even have to worry about syncing with the page. SharePoint automatically caters to it by keeping track of the changes done to the master page using the particular editing tool.
Other equally important additions to the branding experience are –
End of the monopoly of SharePoint Designer –
Initially, only SharePoint Designer had to be used to edit and create HTML pages, but now with the newest version, it is possible to use any editor for creating the layout and Master pages. This has provided a lot of flexibility to the editing techniques
Device channels –
Keeping in view the trends of responsive web design, SharePoint has added the feature of Device Channels to its latest version. Using these device channels a designer can create distinct Master Pages for different devices like PCs, tablets and mobile devices