I was hired as the first in-house designer for the company. Previously, the company hired outside staffing websites like 99designs for the logo, app work, and any marketing collateral work. Within two weeks, I recognized the need for a comprehensive rebrand.
After the completion of the in-house rebrand, I tackled the need for a new website. To ensure that developer time was kept open for product improvement, I took on the design, coding, and CMS integration of the site.
The First WebsiteThe first marketing website was started without a marketing director. The website focused more on providing a modern, professional looking site than on the content itself. While this was not ideal in terms of marketing, it provided a solid stepping-stone to better understand how far the brand that I had just created could stretch.
This made the goals for this project pretty straightforward: incorporate the brand in a compelling way, direct users to the few pieces of important content that existed, and incorporate a CMS to make it easy for the marketing coordinator to edit the site.
Wireframes and SketchesThis project was one of my favorites, as it was exciting to see how I could pull and stretch the modular brand that I had just created. There's something incredibly satisfying about the edge-case designs during sketching -- it really allows you to see what's possible without any outside constraints. While I knew this was a b2b marketing site and couldn't be too funky, I enjoyed sketching and presenting boundary-pushing designs.
In the end, the design that was more closely related to normal B2B landing sites was chosen -- a marketing director was hired early on in the process and made the call to stick to some useful industry conventions.
The Second Website:6-8 months after the completion of the website, the company brought in a new marketing director who had a stronger emphasis on content. We decided to redo the marketing website to truly provide a platform for the sales team to increase sales.
We stuck with some of the design patterns that were implemented with the first website while also adding in more visual interest. This version of the site followed a semi-unorthodox method, in that designing was done completely in-browser without comps. This allowed for a faster design process; the company wanted a content-focused marketing site to be up quickly.
Design Details:We really dove into more design assets with this website -- illustrations and icons were important for adding more personality to the marketing site. This was a challenge for me; not only was I design and coding the site, I was also focusing on illustration details - something that isn't a strong point of mine. It required plenty of iteration and feedback, a true collaborative effort between me and the now 3-person marketing team. Over 60 icons were designed.
What I Learned:Designing right in the browser, as opposed to using comps, requires even more communication than you think. It's important to make sure the project is scoped correctly, and that requests are fully understand, to ensure that there isn't time wasted in coding. There were a couple scoping issues with this project, which reinforced the importance of properly scoping a project and having meaningful discussions when that scope is challenged or pushed.