It’s no secret. One of my biggest irks with most wedding photographer (heck most photographer) sites is the primary use of Flash.
So when an opportunity comes my way to work with another wedding photographer and do away with another Flash based website, I’m happy to step up to the task.
I’m thrilled to announce our redesign of Washington, DC wedding photographerJay Premack's website.
(Note: This announcement is a few weeks late due to my travels east to “house hunt” for my new gig immediately after Jay’s site was released into the wild.)
Onward to the redesign!
The Full Kit-n-Kaboodle: Logo, Identity, Branding, Website Redesign
Setting the Mood
We picked Jay's brain over and over and then some to learn about his secret sauce; his messaging; his audience; successes and failures. We wanted to know what he buys; his style; what he gets compliments for...
Some other questions we had to answer: what are the most important qualities to communicate? What do brides (and their families) want from a wedding photographer? What information do they seek?
When you build a city, you plan and planning requires tons of research.
Out with the Old, In with the New
Identity: Brand Refresh
It's always tempting to get a brand new (fill-in-the-blank), isn't it? At first, we thought we might need to start from scratch but soon realized Jay's logo just needed some refinement.
Jay's initials ("j" and "p") were originally illustrated as a lovely organic shape so we refined it a bit by softening the edges to also create a softer "ribbon".
The typography needed some freshening up so we opted to pair the initials ribbon with URW Imperial Bold. Our goal was to give a more warm, fashionable and elegant appearance to Jay's new logo.
For color, we moved away from the red and grey combination to a soft azure blue to brighten things up. Words that came to mind: trust, magic, destination and luxury.
Jay Premack Note card, Address label, Business Cards and Coordinating Envelope Design
Jay Premack DVD package design
Website Redesign: Go Deep
Jay's website before was a combination of a flash template portfolio site and a blog using ExpressionEngine.
Jay Premack's new website is larger and designed to be a more “business” with a “portfolio” website; not the typical photographer portfolio showcase website.
A Few of the Geeky Nitty Gritties
To maximize the juice for his online brand and presence, here are just a few of our solutions and recommendations:
Marketing smart copy and more of it! Words and pictures baby. It can’t get any better than that. Some pictures are worth a thousand words but most are not.
Ditch two domains: Jay’s blog was originally at jaypremack.net and his portfolio site at jaypremack.com. We recommended migrating and integrating his brand into one domain.
Simplify workflow/management. By moving the portfolio site to ExpressionEngine with the blog, he can manage both through one admin panel rather than two.
Expand the site to make it deeper. This helps for a number of reasons, some of which include:
- Search engines index more pages because people who find your website don't always come through the front door (your home page).
- Each page has its own unique url, page titles, descriptions. Remember: People are lazy. They don’t want to hunt for information though massive drop down menus.
Add more “social proof”: We included a Testimonials page with photos to help connect potential clients with results.
Increase links within the website: Incoming links from high ranking websites is always a good thing. Increasing links within your site also helps with SEO.
Greater visitor control with galleries and easier navigation: Brides love pictures and if they are looking for a wedding photographer, galleries are oh-so-important. Making it easy for them to view (including their parents) says something about your brand, too.
Easier content management: Fortunately upgrading to EE 2.0 was relatively easy. The ability to create, edit, re-order was simplified and there is greater control of meta tags for each page.
Nuts & Bolts
- CMS: ExpressionEngine
- Typography: Arial and Georgia
- Integration with ShootQ
- EE add-ons: Matrix, Channel Images, Wygwam, Sitemap Module, Low Reorder
- Newsletter integration: Mailchimp
- Recipe: An elegant mixture of CSS(3), HTML, jquery plugin with some custom tweaks.
Remarkable Team, Remarkable Results
Creating and building Jay’s new “city” is another great example of the magic of great collaboration. Jay Premack’s new website was truly a team effort that took several months to complete including an exhaustive search for a replacement team member (whew).
So I would like to thank the following players:
- Jay Premack: A wonderful client is never to be taken for granted. Thank you Jay for placing your trust in us to tweak your logo, create a new brand look and continuing with us to redesign your web presence. Your respect and faith in us helped managing the bumps much easier to navigate and solve. Your attention to detail and probing questions helped with the polish.
- Rachel Yoakum: My (former - sniff) designer extraordinaire. Rachel is a budding art director with stellar illustration chops and conceptual skills. Thank you Rachel for bringing levity to every project and your excellent work. (Note: Rachel is looking for a new gig in Portland. Check out her portfolio: Raychill)
- Lindsay Berger: Copywriter. Marketing goddess. Lindsay and I have worked together before so it was real fun to have her on board for Jay's website. I cannot emphasize enough how important copy is to a website. Excellent copy isn't just about filling space. Great copy is great design. Thank you Lindsay for helping to take the design to the next level. Visit Inkwell Marketing.
- Alex Kendrick: Outstanding ExpressionEngine Developer and partner-in-crime. Any web designer or business owner would be lucky to work with Alex on an ExpressionEngine web build. He is exceptionally organized; detail-oriented with a thorough understanding of the nuances of building a web presence. It helps that Alex is also design-savvy with an emphasis on usability (gold star!). Alex, mille grazie.
Our application, interpretation? Let us know!
Visit Jay Premack Photography.