creative and effective websites

brand identity | site design | SEO

Initial Design Brief

Whether it's a completely fresh design or a re-vamp of a tired site, whether we use a grid-based design or adapt an original layout (horizontal, single-page) or theme to suit your content, there are a few important steps to go through first to make sure you (and we) are happy with the final result:

  1. Define the objective of your site and the audience you're trying to reach.
  2. Decide what would suit your site best: a blog style like Wordpress, a CMS system or a simple and easy-to-maintain static site.
  3. Then we get to the style: colours, fonts, images and layout that reflect the site's purpose and personality

The challenge for the Impractical Clothes website below was to take a static HTML site that had grown too large and unwieldy and make it more focused and dynamic, keeping the original aesthetic and quirkiness but streamlining the navigation and content to make it easier for visitors to find what they wanted.

Impractical Clothes screenshot

Impractical Clothes

Re-vamp of an e-commerce website for expanding local fashion designer to bring it up to CSS2 standards. The aim was to attract customers to new ranges using visually appealing graphics and a custom-designed style-switching script to enable shoppers to try different fabrics on the designs. Using more focused relevant copy and keyword placing in tags, with an initial AdWords budget of only £30, the site is now in the top 3 organic Google results for several search terms; quite a result in a competitive market. There's more info on the re-design process, or have a look at the site.

The Technical Stuff

Every website will have its own special requirements, but as a general rule we follow a process something like this:

  1. Using the colours and images decided on we do a mock-up of the site for you to approve.
  2. We hand-code the site in CSS and XHTML and make it all more functional and dynamic with PHP and JavaScript.
  3. For smaller sites we can include a simple admin page that will let you update or change text yourself, using Notepad or a similar program.
  4. We design to web standards whenever possible, as it helps accessibility and visibility, and the small green tick at the bottom of the browser makes us happy; but if it's to your site's advantage we've no problem breaking the rules; bring on the widgets....
  5. Form validation, anti-spam, tracking statistics, Google gadgets and kitchen sinks are carefully added as required. We can also give you advice on software and add-ons that let you monitor or update your site directly from your browser.
  6. All the copy is proofread and edited if necessary to give your site that professional edge, with keywords and links in the right places.
  7. With some magic fairy dust the code is compressed and squished until the site is as lean and fast-loading as possible.
  8. A small cherry is placed carefully on the top: voilà! Le Site.

Below is a website that we designed from scratch for a local landscape gardener that would present a portfolio of his work in a compact display format that was still easy to update and expand.

Ian Hunter Garden Design & Build

A showcase website for the work of a local garden designer. The brief was to design a site that that was easy to navigate and would show all the relevant images without unnecessary clicking and scrolling around, while remaining accessible and easy to use. A combination of CSS rollover techniques with clickable links for accessibility/re-sizing was employed within a colourful and elegant design. See more information and screenshots or check out the website.

Ian Hunter Garden Design & Build screenshot