Maison James was originally built with a template and according to Holly needed a face lift. She wanted the redesign to be more reflective of her eclectic design sensibilities; be approachable, fresh, upscale and easy to navigate for the user. Holly also wanted to be able to continue to update her website on her own, so we integrated Maison James.com with my favorite framework and CMS, ExpressionEngine.
Maison James was an extremely fun site to design. I loved working with such bold colors! And, working with Holly on just the right icons for the main navigation (hover over them and you’ll see) was a bit like hanging out with a girlfriend, trying on hats.
Maison James Design & Development Details
In the portfolio section, I customized the jquery lightbox feature with custom buttons, loading icon and a hot pink background to complement the rest of the site.
For typography, Holly wanted to get away from using the standard cross-browser fonts and wondered if a script could be used. Because script typefaces do not work well at smaller sizes on the screen, I felt the best place to use a script typeface was for the headlines. This meant that the script font would need to be used for the H1 and/or H2 HTML tags which are important for search engine bots.
While we could have used the image replacement technique to display a non-standard typeface and also maximize the SEO benefits of HTML text as H1 or H2, we decided to have some fun with CSS3 compatibility using @font-face. Because using @font-face requires a special license from type foundries, I settled on a free font called BlackJack by Typadelic via Font Squirrel.
What happens if a browser that doesn’t support @font-face calls up her site? We made sure to specify a default font stack to kick in and display.
Maison James’s New Blog
In Holly’s original RFP, she wasn’t sure whether or not she needed or wanted a blog so we talked about what it would involve and what the possible pros and cons of having a blog would be.
In the end, Holly decided a blog would be a great way to share the products she loves, things and places that inspire her and various other bits of information she thinks her current and potential clients would respond to. It is definitely a great way for her to build a relationship with the community at large and increase her visibility which I hope will lead to more projects.
Support a new design blogger by visiting her Interior Design Inspiration blog and send her a comment to say welcome!