Especially when you work with a company that has some history, remember there is always a brand behind. Products and services that belong to a specific brand have to recognizable.
Before starting working on look and feel, explore the existing brand:
- ask your customer how strictly should you follow existing brand strategy,
- study brand books and style guides if there are,
- take a look at existing products,
- check brand history though years,
- maybe even consider the company interior.
Such exploration will help you to understand your customer and his brand policy and save some time when you start working on look and feel.
If you see that existing brand language seams to be too outdated, make two proposals: one following existing brand and a refreshed one.
In case there was no defined style guide and you’ve created one from scratch, please bother to document your creation. Here are some thoughts on creating a styleguide for a website by Anna Debenham.