I was asked to put together a Squarespace site for design competition collaboration between Mike Made This and Vega School. The idea behind the competition was to encourage Interior Design students at Vega to submit lighting design ideas that would then be judged by a panel of design experts. The winner would be selected by a process of online voting, and the design had the potential to be manufactured with Mike Made This.
In this post, I'm going to share 10 web design trends for female entrepreneurs, bloggers and creatives to help you evaluate whether the ideas you have for your own site build are current and future-focused, or whether they're overdue for an update. This post will also help you to think more practically about which elements are 'must-haves' for your own site so that you can communicate these ideas more clearly to the web designer you're working with. Thirdly, I hope this post will inspire you to build a beautiful online space that represents the hard work you've put into your project so far.
My site has gone through a few rounds of revision, but recently, inspired by Melyssa Griffin's Pinterest course, I realised it might be a good idea to make my blog titles more 'Pin-worthy'. One thing led to another and having started with redesigning my blog images, next thing I knew I was moving things around, and sprucing aspects of my site up. It definitely turned into a website spring-clean - and you can read more about the details of that over here.
Guy and Lyall, both qualified chefs based out of Cape Town, just love to cook. They found themselves cooking way too much at every meal, and sharing their food with the people they love. Pretty soon, more and more people were placing orders for their rustic, healthy menu and Guyall's Kitchen was born. Guyall's Kitchen has a brand new menu released every Tuesday. They take orders, make the food, freeze portions and then deliver to your door on Friday.
Debbie has been dreaming of launching a blog for years. She's gathered information, researched blog layouts, started numerous Pinterest boards, brainstormed and bullet journaled. She's done a Wordpress course, bought a really great camera and completed an online photography course. But that taking the next step and actually putting herself out there by launching her dream blog had become her sticking point. She was just struggling to start.
Last year around this time, a friend and I took a road trip and ended up passing through the Karoo Midlands. We stayed over with the family of some close friends on their farm outside of Graaff-Reinet. The Karoo is just beautiful. Rob & Fee have been farming in the area for years and made the transition from concentrating purely on sheep farming to game breeding, and Rob now mentors other farmers who want to make a similar transition.
Bernhard and Colleen contacted me after they saw a site I had worked on with The Millers - a couple who’ve taken off with their tandem on a fund-raising adventure across Europe. Bernhard and Colleen have been rethinking their model of work and wanted a website that showcased more of who they are, and what they offer. Often this is the most challenging part of the process - defining who you are, what your services entail, who your target audience is, and how you want that all presented online. There’s a lot of thinking, writing, ideating, rethinking, editing and collaboration involved in the process.
A Masculine, fuss-free site
Dr Tim Pikor contacted me via the contact form on my site, requesting a quote for a masculine, fuss-free site for his orthopaedic surgery based in Parktown, Johannesburg. He sent through his logo and existing design elements, as well as some ideas about what he was looking for in a site, and I got straight into the research.
Michelle Murray of Interiors Etc was one of my earliest clients, who needed a website to showcase her range of interior decor related skills from project management to decor styling, to interior design. Working with a creative client like Michelle was a dream. I realised in the process that there are some definite similarities between interior design and building a website. Both need a plan, a creative vision, a specific look and feel, and the kind of team work where decisions are made promptly and things get done.
John and Rona are probably the most adventurous couple I know. They've cycled around South Africa to raise funds for Hope, they've followed the length of the Danube in summer, and last year they completed a tandem cycle trip from Canada to Mexico. This year, on John's retirement, they decided to head north again with their tent, their tandem and Thembi Teddy for the next chapter of their amazing race.
Recently I've been working with a wonderfully talented graphic designer who is based in the KZN midlands. It is such a pleasure to work with other design-minded folk who speak the same language and value a similar aesthetic. The site requirements were fairly straightforward - a clean, one-page site, with high quality graphics to serve as an online home and digital introduction for a family owned industrial sawmill.
The thing about working within a field you are unfamiliar with is that you don't know how much you don't know until you learn a bit more. Do you know what I mean? "Environmental Consulting, can't be that complicated?" I said, quietly, to myself inside my brain. Well, it is complicated. There are terms, and acronyms, and policies and a lot of fairly technical things I had no idea about. Thats why the most challenging thing about this project has been attempting to understand the field of work of the client, in order to best understand the potential visitors to the site and how they will most likely use it.
Its amazing how quickly you can settle into a rut. I have found this with the way I've been designing sites. You start to like a certain look, and before long everything you're doing looks the same. To try to get myself out of a rut, and to challenge myself creatively, I decided to build a 'conceptual' site - i.e. its not 'live' but its a trial site that gives me some practice in doing things differently.
"I'm a strike-while-the-iron's-hot kind of girl," was Bridget's response to my studio visit enquiry, so we made a date for that Wednesday morning and hopped on the metro to meet her at her Woodstock studio.
Instagram isn't only about putting your images out there for others to see; it can also become a source of great inspiration. The South African design scene is certainly an exciting space to watch at the moment, so when I came across @local_za_design, an Instagram account dedicated to South African design, I thought it would be worth finding out a bit more about the person and the story behind the account.
As part of the World Design Capital 2014, the crowd-funded Muizenberg Festival was held from the 5-12 October 2014. In the spirit of community involvement, I volunteered to guest post for the @MuizenbergFestival Instagram account...