Our Branding, Part III: The Web!
Our branding process has taken on a life of its own.
Just like a project with a client, we’ve been incredibly thorough about what makes the cut in our new brand system. As we’re wrapping up and rolling out the new identity, the website has by far required the most thought and attention.
It’s a design challenge that has to balance everything from our user’s goals, to our new visual identity, to the needs of our web development team.
Luckily, we have great minds like Benji Haselhurst, our web designer, to help us navigate through all those different interests.
Our new website is currently in “beta.” That means it’s still in a testing mode, and you’re going to find some glitches and bugs. If you do, let us know with a quick email! You’re part of our family, and we would love your help in finding any opportunities for improvement.
In the meantime, we interviewed Benji on his thought process and how he worked with his team to design the experience you’re enjoying now. Feel free to take a look at his thoughts below. If you have some time, we would love to know how you think we did.
What was your role in the brand process and your main challenge?
I was indirectly involved in the branding process with Zack taking the lead and Patrick overseeing the process. I helped build the website as an extension for the new brand. Overall, the brand system is a more accurate and honest reflection of the Parisleaf of today. It did away with the unnecessary, and it was more direct about who we are. It is simultaneously active and passive, and it was designed to let our work speak for itself when it needed to.
As we started the web design process, my job was to stay out of the way of the work. I oversaw the implementation of our brand onto our web presence. We knew it needed to be clean and minimal, yet it had to be distinct in the way it presented the brand, allowing our values and voice to speak through the copy. I wanted to stay behind the scenes and let the core identity, our “Parisleafiness,” lead the project.
What was the overarching goal during the design?
My goal was to let the Parisleaf values speak. I think we successfully connected with all of them, but I was particularly struck by how we connected with kindness, authenticity, responsibility, and our passion.
We designed an inviting and kind digital space. It’s visually warm, and it provides a place for that warmth to translate seamlessly into the copy. It’s reflective of the types of sites I like to design: minimal with a core set of values taking center stage. We focused on the heart and soul of our team and built a lightweight and functional architecture, avoiding unnecessary filler. This structure protects and enables a kind and empathetic experience for the user.
The site is something that’s authentic to us. It’s a look under the hood of who we are and how we work. We created a platform with an updated blog, photographs of the process and the work, and something that strongly reflects our studio aesthetically through the colors and narrative.
We built this site so it will grow and evolve with us, allowing for quick updates and a flexible platform for future development. The site will accommodate our expansion and growth as our digital presence evolves with Parisleaf. The logomark itself is an evolution. The site and the brand is built as a set of guideposts to measure that growth.
I wanted the website to not only showcase our work, but the human hand and craft that is instrumental to our process.
-Benji Haselhurst, Lead Web Designer
We also needed to communicate our craft and display our passion for it.I wanted the website to not only showcase our work, but the human hand and craft that is instrumental to our process. We designed the site to incorporate a full width canvas and vibrant bright images, allowing for immersive and contextual experiences. This creates the opportunity for narrative and storytelling. We have so many stories to tell, and we needed a way to not only tell it but to display it.
What were the big obstacles during the process?
The biggest obstacle was trying to design around the work, which needed nothing more than a stage. One of the first times I experienced this was when we presented the original first impression of the homepage to the team for feedback. We had to go through a number of revisions to balance our client work with our voice and tone.
Throughout the entire process, my mind was brought to our yellow chairs upstairs. I worked in them. I spent time sitting in them. It was where one of our primary brand colors came from. There’s a utility in those chairs, and I took a lot of my cues from them as a metaphor for the website.
Each chair is designed to make sure the subject is comfortable in a simple, minimal, highly functional platform. It doesn’t need fanfare or crave acknowledgement. It merely exists to loft its subject and let it speak from a place of comfort and empowerment. As we were designing out the site, we kept going back to the chairs. What could I take away without sacrificing that utilitarian purpose?
What are you excited about moving forward?
One of my favorite aspects of the site is that it lends itself to our re-examination. It is flexibly built, allowing our team to continue molding and refining our digital presence.
I’m particularly excited to continue exploring the blog. It seems like a really nimble way to tell a variety of stories and will make for a rewarding reading experience.
For me, the potential for growth at Parisleaf is immense. Our studio is a nurturing, welcoming, and empowering environment.
When I was interviewing at Parisleaf, I felt immediately understood. I could sense this innovative tingle. I thought, “This is somewhere I could have a lot of creative thoughts.”
Part of it was the personal level and human interaction. I was interviewing with Jamie Caloras, the interaction designer on the team, and he would ask these oddball questions. He’d ask a lot of questions about interaction designers, peppered with very specific and personal cultural references, almost like he had read my autobiography before I came in. At one point he asked, “How do you feel about hamburgers?”. I went on for a few minutes until I realized he wasn’t talking about the food.
We are all still growing and evolving. I was afraid a hierarchical mindset would permeate here, would overtake my own, but I haven’t experienced that. I was afraid I would get stuck in a mold, but I’m happy to say I’ve grown miles. Individual thought is both encouraged and welcomed, and there’s always room for new ideas.
I’ve also seen Parisleaf grow and expand and push limits of their own. There’s a potential to skyrocket here, both individually and as a team. I know this website is just the beginning.
Originally published at beta.parisleaf.com.