The client’s current site didn’t reflect their new trucks and it felt outdated.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:
- Establish trust by featuring brand promises, following design principles, and avoiding a generic feel.
- Encourage interaction to the lead generating sections.
- Integrate the client’s preferences (black & white photos, a retro feel, 3 big buttons up top).
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 feel.
Process and Strategy
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 then researched how the competition designed for a mid-century look and feel. After creating a messy moodboard, sunbursts, textures, and shapes fell into place.
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.
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.
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 acceptible 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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