Today’s post was a long time coming.
You’ve probably noticed my new blog design, which went live in April (!!). I’ve been a little off my game since I’m only just getting to this now, but let’s dish.
First a little background info on me. I can be a little indecisive, and by a “little indecisive” I mean it can take me up to 20 minutes to pick out an ice cream cone flavor (ok, maybe not that long…but close). It’s not that I don’t know what I like or what I want (because in reality, I know exactly what I like and want), it’s that I’m compelled to weigh the pros and cons…in all areas of my life. (Yes, I know that’s annoying to bystanders, but if people let me be myself and take me as I am, quirks and all, I promise I reward the people in my life with the most loyal friendship they ever know.)
Which is why I feel incredibly blessed to have found Julie of Deluxe Designs. She’s one of those people who is incredibly gifted at every aspect of what they do, and is always willing to learn and grow and do what has to be done to take their skill set to the next level. More than being talented though, Julie is patient and genuinely cared about the vision I had for my site.
I had a pretty specific custom look in mind that I wanted for my blog, and it all started with this picture I took of a plate of figs…
I love everything about that picture. The rich colors, the textures, the inviting look of the cut, ripe fig. The fact that figs are one of my favorite fruits. And also, I love that I shot this photo right in the kitchen when my husband and I lived in Kuwait (an area of the world where we most likely won’t live again), and had access to some of the best figs I’ve ever had in my life. It’s a meaningful, nostalgic photo for me in a lot of ways. I thought why not use it as inspiration for a whole new blog design?
Julie nailed the look I wanted for my new logo almost on her first try (I love that font!). The two main colors of my site’s new look – purple and gold – were pulled right out of my photo of the figs. Julie hand-drew the figs that are to the left of the post titles because I wanted to incorporate them as a design feature throughout. I also love the look of a colorsplash/watermark, so Julie incorporated it into the “read more” button and into the widget titles in the sidebar.
Here were the things I mentioned to Julie that were important to me in developing my new site:
- Site Design:
- A simple look overall, but still functional and user-friendly
- Something easy on the eyes, but with little custom touches throughout
- A recipe page that’s easier to navigate
- A little facelift for my logo
Once we settled on the basic design elements, we moved on to more fun things like setting up the actual layout. Here are a few sample layouts that Julie sent me…
Option 4 (This one was the winner!)
Julie took care of everything down to the smallest detail; I was awestruck at how she was willing to make sure everything was exactly as it should be. For a perfectionist like me, this was exactly what I was looking for.
Julie was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about what she does:
- What inspired you to get into web design?
I have always been a “creative” at heart. I had my own (no longer existing) blog and had it designed. I loved going through the process with the designer and decided that I could do my own updates. After a short time, I found that my readers were asking me to design their sites. I ended up shutting down my blog, went down the path of web design and never looked back. I love that I have a skill I can share with others.
- What is your creative process and how do you typically approach a project?
My approach is tailored to the project and individual. Although I keep my process streamlined, I feel if you are paying for a custom design, then I should provide you with a custom process. For both logos and custom web designs, I first have my clients fill out a creative brief. The brief provides me with a comprehensive understanding of what the design goals are. It also provides me with my clients’ expectation(s). Some clients know precisely what they want while others are only interested in a new design and are open to my creative interpretation; I give both types of clients equal attention. Many provide me with a Pinterest board for inspiration. Once I have a grasp of the expectations and desires, I sketch out a rough design on paper. I scribble notes (it’s not so pretty) so I can also visualize what I will digitize.
The logo is an in-depth process that focuses not just on the header but the branding of your website as a whole. It focuses on color and typography and is based on your aesthetic preferences. Many people who obtain a logo from me go on to submit it to use for Trademarking or other similar purposes.
I provide at least one draft of a logo – but typically several – to the client so s/he can get a feel for my interpretation of our correspondences. Through client feedback and continued correspondence, edits are made until the client loves it.
The web design process is also specific to the project. Through the creative brief, I can get a good feel for what the client is going for. I love when I am able to go out of my comfort zone and am challenged to do something that I have not done before. I generally create a checklist of needs and desires and first make sure the functionality of the design is there. Then, I work on the aesthetics. Depending on the needs of the client, this process can take a few weeks or a few months. It honestly varies quite a bit.
- What services do you provide?
My services include logo and branding development, custom WordPress development and customizing of existing Genesis WordPress themes. My portfolio is the best indicator of how I design. My specialties include creating hand-drawn and watercolor designs and working with foodie bloggers although I will design in other styles and happily work with other bloggers and creative small business owners. I love what I do and am always open to new projects.
- Is there a favorite type of website or blog (such as a mommy blog, recipe site, etc.) that you enjoy designing most?
I have had several waves of niches over the years but currently, food and recipe blogs are definitely a favorite to design. They have some of the best content and photography which really brings my designs to life. After all, the content should be the most memorable part of the blog.
- Can you show us some of your favorite sites that you’ve designed?
I have so many favorites! In no particular order: Chelsea’s Messy Apron, Eating Bird Food, and Joyful Details are just a few of my favorites. I have worked with hundreds of clients in various capacities so it is truly difficult to pick an all-time favorite. I certainly include An Edible Mosaic among the designs I love!
If you’re on the market for a new blog or website design, I can’t recommend Deluxe Designs highly enough. Julie has a knack for seeing your vision through to completion.
One thing to note from Julie: Unfortunately, it isn’t possible for me to commit to every request that comes in due to scheduling and working at home with being a mom as my first priority. I do not commit to every request so I can be fair and focus completely on the clients that I am able to work with.
Check out Deluxe Designs here: