Retro Design for Michigan HVAC Co.

Role: Designer

Project Goals

Their current site didn’t reflect their new trucks and felt outdated. They wanted a design to match their honest, old-fashioned values. Ultimately, the goal was to get leads. A lead could be a form submission or a phone-call. 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 usually I’m greeted with 10-100 image assets, but 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 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: Retro.

Next, I found fonts and colors that fit the bill. Then, I researched retro, mid-century styles of signs competitors following the same lead. Sunbursts, textures, and shapes fell into place.

Design Time

I tend to start on the header. Then I bounce to whatever section is calling me 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 they may see driving around town.

Brainstorming “retro” solutions

Alternative hero image

How many sunbursts are too many?

Critique and Send

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.

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 felt more personal and the shop-keep knew you were good for it when money was tight. With a good story, it was my job to tell it wisely. The story was more vital than the logo file.

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