Role: Design Lead and Creative Strategy

Project Type: Website Design, Strategy, Email Marketing

Updating Suka’s website was a crucial part of our new business initiatives in 2018. Prior to our redesign, our old site was not a useful sales tool. It did not effectively communicate the services we offer or the strategic and creative perspective we bring to our projects. Our old site was clunky, uninspiring, and aesthetically outdated. We needed a site that represented the creative agency that we wanted to be, not the one that we were.

 

We saw this redesign as an opportunity to rebuild everything on our site from the ground up, from the site architecture and user experience to our copywriting and photography. Primarily, we wanted the new site to give potential clients a deeper insight into our work, our process, and our value. Since our launch in August 2018, our monthly page views and time on site has doubled YOY. We have also seen an increase in organic sales leads.

Click here to see the site.

homepage and mobile navigation

portfolio and contact form

blog and project page

Knowing that potential clients would be evaluating us primarily based on our work, we wanted to showcase our projects in a way that was both sophisticated and inspiring. As part of the redesign, I worked with a copywriter to craft more comprehensive write-ups for each piece in our portfolio. These new write-ups demonstrate the value we bring by outlining our client's goals and explaining how our process and our work helped achieve them. I also came up with a new photographic style and art directed our photoshoots so that the site's visuals not only give a good overview of the project but also highlight important details in the design and execution.

project page

Visual Design

Stylistically, our old site felt drab and heavy. Our color palette was not very sophisticated and felt cliché and overused. It came from an era defined by "early digital adoption," not from a world of prolific digital interaction that has come to define our lives today. Our aesthetic no longer communicated a forward-thinking, creatively cutting edge perspective.

original color palette

The only precious element from our old style was our brand orange. Suka had built up a lot of brand equity in its two and a half decades of work, and our orange was something that frequently stuck in the heads of our clients. I had a certain amount of freedom to adjust and modernize our palette, but I could not completely abandon our primary brand color.

With this in mind, I wanted to create a style that would let our brand color be the star. I paired a modernized version of our orange with a dark and light grey as those were neutral secondary colors. This combination not only allowed our orange to truly exist as our brand ambassador, it also would not compete when showcasing our client work. For our two initial options, I added in an accent color that would help round out the palette, giving one a much bolder presentation while the other felt more classic and timeless.

initial visual style directions

Ultimately, the truth lay somewhere in between, resulting in a minimal look-and-feel that is sophisticated and subdued.

final visual style

User Experience

In order to ensure that our new site was a success, we had to understand the needs and motivations of our users. We already knew that our primary users would be prospective clients looking for a creative agency. However, our site had to be more than a sales tool. We saw an opportunity for our site to be a platform to share our creative philosophy, to recruit new talent, and to make broader connections within the industry.

With this broader ambition, we set up informal interviews with individuals that represented the types of users we wanted to attract: prospective and current clients; prospective talent and strategic partners; and industry professionals. I analyzed their responses and distilled out their goals, how they evaluate creative agencies, and the relevant pieces of content they would be looking for. These personas helped guide the new information architecture and user experience.

Although I discovered that most of our users are on a desktop or laptop when searching for agencies, I wanted to create a fully responsive site that looked stunning on everything from a 24-inch monitor to a 4.5-inch phone. Building a content heavy and media-rich experience that worked across devices required careful consideration for how we could maximize our screen real estate.

 

My design approach also aligned with larger strategic marketing goals. We were already building out plans to increase our email marketing efforts, likely driving more mobile users to our site in the future. A mobile-friendly design also fed into our SEO strategy, future-proofing us for Google's eventual transition to mobile-first indexing.

project request form wireframes

project request form wireframes

For a deeper look at the wireframes, click on the images below.

DesktopWireLink.jpg
MobileWireLink.jpg

Marketing

With the launch of our site, we now had a platform that could be used in conjunction with email marketing to raise our profile as an agency. I wrote and designed a series of emails that served to explain a bit about our creative philosophy, give insights in our personality, and ultimately drive visitors to our new site. Following each email, we received very positive responses from some of our former clients and partners, allowing us to re-engage with them.

Click on the images below to read the full emails.