At SYNTAX, we’re the kind of people who’d make fun of companies and government departments who don’t update their websites. If you hire us, we’d lecture you for hours about the importance of “staffing your website” with people who can communicate on the web and keep your website fresh and updated. We’d also point out that a stale website reflects badly on your brand.

How ironic/pathetic that SYNTAX is GUILTY of all the above-mentioned deadly sins!

Our website, until a few days ago, has been un-updtated for almost five years. On the home page you’d see a press release about how we redesigned the Jordan Times, almost half a decade ago. You’d read a nice quote about our work and services from Mr Raed Bilbeisi, who, back in the days, used to be the CEO of Jordan’s IT association INTAJ (yes, he has since moved on). You’d also see the really old website we designed for HM Queen Rania which we designed right at the turn of last century.

So how did we, the so called “branding experts” and “web wizards”, end up in this situation? Maybe telling the story would be beneficial to us, as a company, and to others as well.

In a few words, it’s a combination of the “complacency of success” and the “CEO got bored with doing it” phenomena.

In the early days of SYNTAX, when we where just three or four people, sitting in a small office (in a building full of doctor’s clinics near Amman’s newly built Sheraton Hotel), We had a website which was pretty much regularly updated. I used to write press releases myself, send them all over the world and upload them to the site. In the old days, we also used to send some really cool cards (as in real paper cards) on New Year’s to our customers and friends.

Somehow, the founders of the company also found time to do design work, meet with clients, collect the money and even take out the trash.

Then, bit by bit, success or let’s call it “relative success” started creeping in. The company started to grow, projects got more complicated. We, as designers, got joined by project coordinators. We got a receptionist and so on.

It’s probably one of the typical thing that happens to small businesses (the other, even more typical thing that happens to small businesses is that they go bankrupt). Well, we didn’t get bankrupt but we got busier with client’s brand strategies, websites, logos, brochures, magazines, etc. The founders of the company and our team were always busy with doing client’s work, which kept coming in. But in the meantime we started to forget about our own brand, our own marketing materials and our own website.

Only years later did I fully understand that companies started and run by “technical people” (ie people who practice a certain craft like design, programming or writing) almost always forget to work on their OWN business. If SYNTAX had a “business type” heading it (as opposed to a bunch of people with a design background), he or she would have probably insisted that we take our own marketing efforts seriously.

The first victim was the annual greeting card.

We managed to create a new website, maybe around 2002 or 2003. And we redesigned our stationary too. But apart from adding some press releases, the site remained pretty static. Then the press releases fell by the wayside as well.

Looking at our site, someone who doesn’t know us (or know of us) might have gotten the impression that we went but after 2004, while in reality we grew to a company of about 25 people, working on a pretty dizzying range of projects across the region.

So, that’s the “complacency of success”.

Then, there’s “the CEO got bored with doing it” thing.

As the co-owner of SYNTAX and its de facto chief strategist and designer, there were things that I was more excited about doing 11 years ago than I am today. Redesigning the company’s website is still an interesting challenge, and, in fact, I am very involved in designing SYNTAX’s new website. But life, clients and team members just keep throwing you more urgent or more interesting challenges. Almost every year, I initiated some effort to get the site redesigned and our marketing collateral refreshed and redone. But nothing ever materialized. Something was always more important.

You might be wondering why I am sharing this story here.

Well. It is my long-winded way of saying that we have finally managed to scrap the old website (or more accurately, hide it form view) and replace it with what we’re calling a “lousy one page website”. I got so sick of our old website one afternoon last week that I just couldn’t take it anymore. So until we finish or new website later this year (hopefully :) , we just posted this one page update about what’s keeping us busy these days.

But more importantly, as a small business owner in Jordan, I think it is important that we start sharing our stories. When I started my own business, I never really had a real mentor who would give me management and marketing advice (although I had a number of great teachers, design role-models and people who opened the first doors for me, to whom I will always be grateful). A lot of creative and technical people start their own companies, find some success, but then forget that they need to keep working on their own business, on their own brands and their own operational systems.

An aging website did not kill us. But it is a symptom of the more serious issues I mentioned, that we at SYNTAX need to confront and tackle strategically and not just tactically.

In closing, we proudly present our lousy one page site :-)

SYNTAX one page site



15 responses to “SYNTAX scraps its website, replacing it with one lousy web page”

  1. Haitham Issam Avatar
    Haitham Issam

    Amazing story and an amazing website; I really did think why didn’t you update it for so long! Congrats Ahmed!

  2. Noura Avatar

    Nice. Made me contemplate sending you guys a box of chocolates!

  3. Mohammad Avatar

    Dunno, maybe it’s because it’s the first time I see the old website, but i prefer it to this new one page thing still. It’s simple, and works, and nobody can tell that it’s outdated that easily.

    On the other side, the new one page website reminds me very much of my current bedroom/living room. It’s brilliant in that it’s compact yet fits everything I need (for you guys, what you need to say). But it’s annoying because it’s cluttered. As far as my room goes, I haven’t found a way to rearrange everything to remove the cluttered feel to it, I hope you guys are much more successful in that endeavour.

  4. Khaled Avatar

    I love it!

  5. Yousef Avatar

    my first comment EVER
    very practical solution :D and not lousy at all …

    nicely done …

    Keep up the nice work …

    Yousef ( A graphic designer :D )

  6. Humeid Avatar

    Just came back from the office to find these comment waiting for me. Thanks everyone.

    Haitham.. well now you know. Glad you like it.

    Noura.. wow. people actually scroll down and read stuff. We would’t mind a box of chocolate :-)

    Mohammed.. Best of luck with the room. It’s a good thing we kept the old site too :-)

    Khaled: thanks!

    Yousef: first comment ever? where have you been all these years. Thanks for the compliments from a fellow graphic designer.

  7. Muhammad Avatar

    One of my life-time wishes was to work for SYNTAX, as a Graphic Designer, been in Amman for almost 5 years, I always describe you guys as “apart from competition”, I always say these guys just GET IT! I remember one time I got one of my ex bosses all mad, telling him how of an awesome job the guys at SYNTAX are doing (maybe I got fired a while after because of that? Hehe..).

    I really like the “lousy one page site”, and I like the new/redesigned logo, I’m just not sure about using the same font for logo/brand and everything else.

    Can’t wait to see the actual “not lousy” upcoming website.

  8. Humeid Avatar


    Thank you for all the compliments. I hope we can live up to your description.

    You have a good point about the brand using the same font we use for the text. Others have noted this too.

    Stay tuned..

  9. Khaled Sedki Avatar
    Khaled Sedki

    About time! Great website Ahmad! Love the communication on the website and the telling of the story!

    Syntax is an experiment in itself worthy not only of being marketed as a branding consultancy but rather of being presented as a uniquely built model- and communicating this model, bubble manifesto, methodology, creative approach etc..
    Publish a Syntax Insider Edition! lol

    Personally, I’m proud Syntax has generously gave Interruptions both time and dedication even throughout this whole mess allowing us to redesign and also restructure Interruptions.

    Thanks Ahmad! Keep it up! Best!

  10. Mohd Khawaja Avatar
    Mohd Khawaja

    Seems like you’ve done it in “hacker-attack” approach! where you work on it from A-Z as one shot and post it online :)

    to be honest, I think you’ve made the 1-page site is an innovative way of presenting your company! really, I was able to learn about you without an additional click! Since we as human beings tend to keep scrolling till the end of the page but avoid to navigate deep inside the website. Think about it! nah?

    Anyways, I look forward to see your new website soon -hopefully not after another decade! ;)

  11. Issmat Avatar

    Brilliant stuff and great way to get people who haven’t visited your site in a while to give it a looksy to see just how lousy it is, but end up getting a dose of all the great projects you’ve been involved in recently.

    Congrats on the continued success! I know I’ll be coming to you for any branding or interactive projects we launch in the middle east.

  12. The Observer Avatar
    The Observer

    You guys ROCK! Keep up the good work :)

  13. Moey Avatar


  14. amjad Avatar

    looks really good.

    it’s time you updated btw

  15. amjad Avatar

    im really in love with this simple one-page website
    simplicity is awesome.