Soft blues, greens, browns and rose colors invite consumers to the HGTV.com homepage and welcome them into a world of brand new housewares and vaulted ceilings. The background, a gradiated bluish-grey is super calming to anxious homeowners trying to up their retail value and sets off the crisp whites and browns that accent the websites topic sections. The website gives off a CLEAN vibe—everything is neat, tidy, soft, and well-kept. Kind of like the audience that visits the website. Even the fonts are a no-frills, classic addition to the overall feel of the website. Easy to read and simplistic, they compliment the color and design scheme of the website without drawing attention away from the multiple images that HGTV employs to catch their reader’s eye.
The layout design continues to promote the idea of organized improvement and the “ideal house” that HGTV is selling. Headings such as “Kick Back and Relax,” “Rate My Space,” and “Eye Candy—HGTV’s Dream Kitchens” tell audiences that, while promoting home improvements, HGTV is not advocating any real do-it-yourself projects. Most of the improvements they suggest on the website involve a team of designers that work with the very best materials and a major heist to bankroll the whole thing because the majority of middle class homeowners could never afford the type of upgrades that HGTV sells to its audience. Not to mention the implications that the “Rate my Space” section has behind it. Inviting middle/ high end socioeconomic consumers to “rate” the desirability of others’ homes is a commentary on the target audience of HGTV: women. More specifically, housewives.
Each individual decision made by the website creators adds up to one very important message that HGTV is trying to send us: BUY. BUY. BUY. Change your home. Shell out the money—you know those improvements are worth it! Even the HGTV logo at the very top of the home page is in the shape of a price tag, as if it is conditioning us from the get go to be receptive to their ultimate message: Follow our tips and your life will be as fabulous as we advertise ours to be. And, in our society, women are a group that is notoriously receptive to this message. Coupled with the androgynous (bordering on the more feminine) color scheme and eye-catching headlines, HGTV created a can’t-miss spectacle with their website. Mission accomplished.
HGTV’s more masculine counterpart, DIY Network, also seeks to create a website that will effectively reach its target audience: men. More specifically, “manly” men. You know the type: the ones that—bless their hearts—try to be self-sufficient home improvement gods. Try being the operative word. The website itself opens with a cement grey background covered with a few masculinely colored paint swatches—primary blue, olive, and deep browns. A far cry from the softer, more androgynous colors featured on HGTV’s page. DIY Network is for the guys. Advertisements for shows such as “Man Caves,” “Rock Solid,” and “Garage Mahal” leave no doubt in the imagination as to that fact. Even the women that host shows on the network (interestingly enough, there’s only one) fits the masculine ideal of a woman that can handle her “tools.”
Heavy browns, blacks, and reds contrast the stark white that makes up the majority of the background for the website. The fonts are reminiscent of the HGTV network page, and similarities abound between the two websites. There is, again, no question that this website layout was targeted to one very specific audience, just as HGTV aimed theirs. DIY allows men to feel like they may, with the proper instruction, be able to do some of the household repairs themselves before they have to put down the hammer, admit defeat, and look on some of the websites resources leading them to reputable (and expensive) outside vendors, but it is still aimed towards high middle class audiences that have the resources to be able to bring someone in to do a job.