This post has been a long time coming. Grab a drink and get cozy — it’s story time.
For the first two years, this space got a redesign every three months or so — I just couldn’t help myself. After all, this was my design playground, and I was still discovering my brand and style.
I eventually settled into my style and began to understand the purpose of this site and the unique qualities of my brand. My story continued to develop through more writing, more work, and more experiences, but the core design stayed pretty much the same.
Last October, I started to feel the familiar itch to update my site. But the more I looked at it, the more lost I felt. My logo didn’t inspire me anymore, and I felt like something was missing, but I couldn’t identify how to fix it.
I’ve done a little bit of everything when it comes to design. My first job out of college had me working in publication design, and eventually branding and marketing collateral. My next job was all print work. So when I started my business, I continued doing a little bit of everything.
I quickly realized that web design was my thing. It plays to both the creative and logical sides of my brain — I get to make things pretty, then I get to nerd out on code.
Last fall, I realized I needed to get more specific: My true talent is putting together the puzzle pieces — not painting the picture. I’m not the artist who loves creating something from nothing. I’m a problem-solver. You tell me what parts of your website are making you unhappy, or where you’re feeling that disconnect between what you’re communicating online and what you want to be, and I help you get from Point A to Point B.
And that was the problem I was facing with my own site: Puzzle pieces were missing, and it was time for a new picture. I wanted a brand identity that was more than just type and pretty colors — I wanted a system of elements I could mix and match to create magic. I wanted it to feel the same, but be better. And I knew I couldn’t do it myself.
So that left me with the scary — and exciting — conclusion that it was time to hire out my branding. My search started and ended with Braid Creative. I knew their style aligned with my own — but had that extra special touch. I also had previous experience with how they think and work through their e-courses and a live workshop I attended a few years ago.
Let me stop here for a minute and explain a couple of things. First, many people assume that branding is part of web design. It’s not. There are people who offer one big package that includes both. There are people who, like Braid, only offer branding, or, like me, only offer web design. It’s important to understand your needs and budget before searching for a designer. My clients either come to me with an existing brand platform that I use the pieces to put together a web design, or they have basic branding needs and are happy with simple typography and color scheme.
Second, it’s so important to find someone whose style aligns with your own. If you’re making a big investment in your site, that should be your number one priority — even if you have to wait a bit longer to work with the right person.
Back to the story. So I reached out to Braid in October, simply curious if they even offered design only — I wasn’t sure I needed the full package (their branding services include design and messaging). But as I waited for our Skype interest session, I realized that after two and a half years in business, it was probably time for some outside perspective on my brand messaging to help me find the threads I couldn’t see myself and tie everything together in a cohesive way.
We chatted, it was a fit for us both, and I got on the calendar for January. And then I got to experience the design process from the other side.
Another tip from me to you: If you’re considering a redesign, start reaching out to designers now. The designer you want may already be booked out. As a designer myself, I was prepared for this, but just understand now that you may be waiting longer than you think.
Let’s talk a little about anticipation and preparation. I now understand just how hard it can be to wait to begin work on your design — but I also eventually found it quite freeing. Suddenly I could mark half of my tasks off of my to-do list because they would either be taken care of during the rebrand, or I couldn’t do anything with the task until afterwards. Instead, I focused on making sure my homework was done in time for the project, keeping my ahead of client work, and doing other business tasks that I had been putting off in favor of working on my site.
Use the time before your project begins to your advantage. You’ll likely be most excited when you book your project and as your start date gets closer. Use that excitement to move your business forward in other ways. If you’re redesigning your website, work on writing your copy. Make sure you’ve done everything your designer asks so they aren’t waiting for you to begin. Create an opt-in freebie, a new product, or a new service to launch with your rebrand. Or just make sure you stay ahead of client work so you’re ready to devote time to your rebrand when it rolls around.
Once the process began, it was fast — and a true example of what can happen when you choose the right business to work with. It’s hard to place trust in someone else when it comes to your business — your baby — but you just have to go with your gut and trust the process.
I’m so happy with the results and so excited to share them with you today — I hope you love my new site as much as I do!