Retro Website for Michigan HVAC Co.

Design

Project Goals

The client’s current site didn’t reflect their new trucks and it felt outdated. They wanted a design to match their honest, old-fashioned, small town values. Primarily, the site’s purpose was lead generation. Both a form submission or a phone-call count as a lead. The audience was homeowners and B2B customers.

My design goals:

Challenges

The only asset was an image of a brand new truck wrap. Because of a mishap with a prior agency, they didn’t even have a logo file. This was unnerving because, at my agency, we’re usually greeted with 10-100 image assets.  Fortunately, we soon realized the truck was chock full of design elements, which became the foundation of the design.

I had 3 days to produce the design. As Jared Spool says, “Design is a team sport.” The Content team added in a flavor of retro words, and the Dev team matched the animations to the site feel.

Process and Strategy

Style Guide

I filled in the guide with the client’s preferences and my general strategy. It helped to have a clear vision and strong existing brand theme: Retro.

Next, I found fonts and colors that fit the bill. I was research. I scrutinized the competition’s answer for a mid-century look and feel. After creating a messy moodboard, sunbursts, textures, and shapes fell into place.

Design Time

I tend to start on the header, then bounce to the section calling the loudest, unifying them later. I used bold branding everywhere to help people feel that it’s not a generic site. It’s authentic to the truck locals may see driving around town.

Brainstorming retro solutions

Alternative hero image

How many sunbursts are too many?

Off to the Client

I presented the homepage and subpage designs for critique to the Design Team. With a great suggestions, like making the truck stand out by changing the hero sunburst to teal not red, it was off to the client! Round 2 had tiny changes and the design moved on to be developed.

Results

Because this was a new client, we didn’t have the benefit of previous site analytics. At the writing time of this it has been 8 months since launch and the conversion rate is an acceptable 17%.

What did I learn?

The biggest takeaway from this project was a new understanding of the value of a brand. Sure, I only had one visual reference to design an entire site with, but I knew the story I had to tell. The client wanted to take people back to a time when business was more personal. When the shop-keep knew you were good for it when money was tight. The story was more vital than the logo file.

To see more designs for contractors, check out this gallery of design snippets.

 

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