Articles about all aspects of graphic and web design.

Client Spotlight: On N Up Coaching Website | Header graphic | Jenn Wells Design

The Client: On N Up Coaching

If I had to do an elevator pitch for Paul, I would say, “Running a business, working with a team, and finding a new job are all drastically different segments of professional life. But they have one thing in common: transition. Business owners, coworkers, and job seekers all need to be able to adapt to change. If they want to make the most of their lives, they need to take it a step further and optimize change. Paul helps professional people to do just that – adapt to and optimize times of transition in their lives.”

In other words, Paul is a business coach. And he needed his coaching website to reflect the reassurance and encouragement his clients seek from him.

Initial Concepts: Website Redesign

I’m already kicking myself for not taking a screenshot of Paul’s previous site. Since I didn’t I’ll have to describe it and hope you get the picture. Aesthetically, the old site wasn’t bad, but it had some issues with mobile responsiveness and the navigation was unclear. A big part of Paul’s social strategy involves blogging and his blog posts weren’t emphasized, nor were they easy to access. Stylistically, I decided to stick with the color and style since they matched Pauls’ logo and the company feel he wanted, but we decided to modernize it a bit and really overhaul the user experience.

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ETOS Consultant Branding | Design process for a business consultant logo and website | Jenn Wells Design

The Client: ETOS Consulting

I met Olivier, the founder of ETOS Consulting, at a networking event a little while back. (See? Networking does pay off!) This relationship has been amazing for me, because without even intending to, Olivier has given me ideas for better structuring and organizing my business from day 1.

Also from the beginning, Olivier was very clear and consistent about what he wanted: a clean, modern design for his consulting brand. Professional but unique enough to be eye-catching. Quite frequently professionalism is associated with the tried-and-true, so we had to toe a fine line between creative and traditional.

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Setting Goals for Your Brand | How do you measure your brand's effectiveness? Learn how to set goals and create metrics for your brand | Jenn Wells Design

 

Happy New Year, everyone!  Naturally, my first post of 2018 is a goals post, but I’ll be covering something that too few people discuss.  How to set goals for, and assess the effectiveness of, your brand.

As a graphic designer, I know exactly how hard it can be to set concrete goals for something as intangible as your brand. After all, ask 100 different people what branding is and you’ll have 100 different answers. Well… maybe 95 different answers and 5 people will say “your logo.” But we do all want an effective brand, don’t we?

So What IS Your Brand?

Here’s my quick and dirty summary: a brand starts with its target market. You think about who you want to appeal to, what they need, and what they like. Then you think about what differentiates you from the competition. What special personality quirks can you bring to your brand? Only then, after deciding how you want your business/organization to “feel” to your target market, do you start talking color swatches and fonts.

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When You Don't Need a Website | Most businesses need a website. Learn about the exceptions here! | Jenn Wells Design

I wrote before about why you need a website. But… honesty compels me to write this follow up and confess. There are a few, very, very occasional situations in which I would NOT recommend someone create a website. Gasp!

Diving right in.

You Don’t Need a Website If…

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Bike DE: Event Branding | Design process for a nonprofit event flyer, t-shirt, and cycling jersey | Jenn Wells Design

The Client: Bike DE

One thing I love about working with Bike Delaware is that it takes me out of my comfort zone. I’ve worked with Drew twice now, and we usually begin our jersey designs by taking a look at the work done in previous years. We analyze what he liked, what he didn’t, and how this year’s version should be different.

The thing that strikes me every time is how urban and artistic the previous designs have been, which is not my usual style.  To compensate, I make the craziest, most graffiti-like design I can and then it’s a nice, minimalist version of what Bike DE usually does.

This year, Drew was looking for a cycling jersey design, as well as a poster and a t-shirt.  These pieces were all part of the same promotional campaign for the Amish Country Bike Tour.

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What Should You Put On Your Website | How to decide which pages your website needs and what content to write on each | Jenn Wells Design

Your website is being built, everything is going smoothly, the design is beautiful but… What on earth should you put on it?

It can be overwhelming to stare at a blank page (or screen) and try to dredge content from the recesses of your brain. For yeeeears, my website had just 5 pages and most of them were practically blank. But in the past year, I’ve been really working on building and refining my business and now I’m up to 9, not including the blog. What’s more important, those pages have information on them that is useful for my readers and helps to guide them through my service list and consultation process. Plus my SEO is much better!

Yup, content = search engine optimization. But it has to be meaningful, which is why we’re going to talk about what makes sense for your site content.

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Going to Bat for the Oxford Comma | The real reason we need the Oxford Comma | Jenn Wells Design

MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian. There are a lot of best practices and formatting guides out there. They don’t necessarily agree with each other and it’s not always clear which is best in which situations. Often it comes down to personal preference, as it does for the hotly debated punctuation mark I’ll be discussing today.

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Why You Need a Website | Websites are fast becoming a requirement. You need a website to build community, credibility, advertise, and provide information to your clients | Jenn Wells Design

This is a difficult post to write because it seems so intuitive to me. But I realize not everyone thinks or uses technology or even runs a business the same way. So let’s talk about the value of websites.

1. Websites Give You Credibility

I hate that this is my number one reason but it really is. It’s not compelling, it’s not a promise of guaranteed clients, or even guaranteed interaction from potential customers. But you still need to look like a legitimate business. And, these days, that involves a website and at least one social media page – preferably Facebook.

Speaking as a customer and not a designer, the first thing I do when I hear a business recommendation from a friend is to look it up online. If they don’t have a website, oftentimes I won’t go there. This is both because I’m looking for one central place to find the answers to my questions (location, hours, services, etc) and because not having a website makes it feel like that business doesn’t know what its doing.

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Font Psychology: Reading Between the Lines | How fonts can influence us subconsciously | Jenn Wells Design

Confession: I’m not a huge typography nerd. A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with some friends about the fonts used in an ultra hipster café we brunched in. I was happily going on about the quirkiness of fat-face fonts when they started naming their favorite sans serif fonts and I realized I was in over my head.

I can’t tell the difference between Helvetica and Ariel. If you put them side by side on the page, sure, I’ll see that there’s a difference.

Font comparison showing the difference between Helvetica and Arial

Oh wait. I was wrong! To me they both just look like general, nondescript font that isn’t going to piss anyone off too badly or draw an excessive amount of attention. Perfect for body copy where you want the focus on the meaning rather than the appearance.

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Doula Logo Design Process | Full logo design process for Aurora Estella Doula Services from concepts to final logo | Jenn Wells Design

The Client

Rachel came to me wanting to brand her new doula business entirely from scratch. We discussed her mission statement and target market – to make doula services available to everyone, including younger moms-to-be and those with a lower income. And then we talked visuals – what fonts and colors she likes, hates, or thinks would best represent her business, and what kind of feel she wanted the business to have. We decided to aim for something a little warmer and more comfortable to reinforce her goal of accessibility.

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