2010 Agency Website Redesign
As an agency, sometimes the toughest client is actually yourself. When you are constantly evolving and growing the dynamics, culture, the very brand of the agency, it can change very rapidly – both consciously or unconsciously. It’s important to make time to reflect on the state of a brand and adjust when necessary.
Our own re-evaluation began when we moved to our new office which is a great, open space where we could collaborate more efficiently. It was quite a change from our darker, divided space over the sushi place. It felt right the moment we moved in:
Current office, 1529 Market Street
This got us thinking about what our next office move would be, how big our company would grow to be and what that would mean for our brand. In the past few years we have admittedly grown faster than our brand so it was important to take a look at our values as a company and make sure they were still valid and relevant. That's how our website redesign started.
Practical Brand Guidelines
Brand guidelines are a great tool if you are trying to extend a culture beyond just the people who made it happen in the first place. In our case, new hires were less in touch with the company’s spirit so it was important to clarify these ideas everyone here was on the same page. Even for those familiar with the brand, actually putting it in writing is a sure-fire way to make sure we’re all speaking the same language. In doing this process though, we realized our current brand wasn’t fitting quite right.
Elevated Third brand guidelines, 2010
The Redesign Process
After completing the brand guidelines we used them to critique our current website and it was clear there were some inconsistencies. We were trying to say a lot but getting a bit lost within the design itself. Also, analyzing analytics data and hundreds of captured videos of people using our site also gave us some ideas on how to improve the functionality.
Even our logo had become limiting and dated, portraying us as a production house instead of the true interactive agency we had become over the years. In comparison, you get a clunky feeling from the older version:
Elevated Third logo, 2007-2009
So, once we re-examined our core beliefs and had a good idea of who we were and where we wanted to go, it was just a matter of revising the creative we had to reflect this new direction. Even in the simple changes made to the logo you can see the difference. Boldness and precision are more emphasized. Unsure grays have been replaced with confident black and a more subtle, straightforward tagline lets people know exactly who we are, since our abilities had become too diverse to simply list out.
Elevated Third logo, 2010
When we eventually had time to revisit the site, it was clear a simpler but more robust solution was needed. We were doing a lot of great work that was not making it up to the site, so that was definitely a priority. Other factors including mobile viewing, integrating the Drupal CMS with a company blog, and a custom module to allow tailored content based on keyword searches were all part of the new design.
Regarding aesthetics, our focus has always been on clarity, innovation, and results. Looking around the office, which we drew a lot of inspiration from, we could see clean lines, open space, and interesting angles. These elements were used as accents in the new design, but not as decoration, but rather cues indicating high priority information and clear actions.
The end product of this redesign is a site that feels much more like “us,” but more importantly, the information is easier to find, clearer in tone and the backend is much more robust so we can keep tweaking, updating and improving based on analytics. Overall we’re happy with the end product and hope our users are, too!