Democratizing Graphic Design with Johanna Morley

“For us, Piktochart has meant that we can actually compete on a level that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. In the past, you had to have a big budget… It has almost democratized graphic design so that anyone can do it.”

To kick off our #throwbackthursday series or User Stories, here’s an inspiring story of our PiktoSuperMom — Johanna Morley. We had the great pleasure of meeting her in Sydney a few years ago, and we’re proud to feature her in our Piktochart video user story below!

A few years ago, Johanna Morley was sitting in a hotel room with her six-month-old baby, bored out of her mind, while her husband was working in the mines. Most people would’ve turned on the TV, put on Netflix, and started watching the final season of Breaking Bad. But Johanna isn’t most people: ‘For some strange reason I taught myself how to code. It all started from there.’

When she says ‘all’, she is referring to Aussie Mum Network, one of Australia’s largest websites for moms. On the site, you can find information about weddings, cooking, gardening, photography, horoscopes, profiles, decluttering your life, beauty, parenting, and much more. Johanna describes it as “a place for where moms can find anything they are after”.

Why did Aussie Mum start?

Johanna started in public service in 1999, in a call center, and worked her way up to a management position. She was happy, but she was constantly feeling frustration in her role: “I wanted to do all those things, but I had to wait for so many people to sign off. Nothing moves fast, and everything is frustrating. This is what I like with Aussie Mum. I can go and make the decision myself.”

Back then, Johanna would’ve said that she started Aussie Mum Network to get it to a point where it is very well known (and to make money in the process), but now she’s realized it’s more about the actual journey: “I’m loving what I’m doing.”

What a typical day looks like at Aussie Mum Network

Johanna lives in Blue Mountains, and although they have a virtual office in Sydney, she usually works from her dining table. Her day-to-day is never the same: she might go to a screening, do a bridal shoot, research recipes that are easy to make on a budget for the cooking section, write horoscopes, or plan out gardening tips. Most of her day is spent creating unique and valuable content, but she also needs to answer emails and get back to people who have inquiries, following bloggers and establishing relationships.

“It can be really easy to get caught in the day-to-day stuff like responding to emails, answering phone calls, and creating recipes,” said Johanna. Sometimes, she wishes she’d was better at the actual business side of it — business strategy, establishing goals so they don’t lose sight of things, financial planning, and things like that.

How Aussie Mum uses Piktochart

“I’m creative in certain ways, but it’s limited. I’m great at photography, and I love brides, so that intersected perfectly. But graphic design? No idea. That is something we used to struggle with in the beginning,” said Johanna. That’s how Aussie Mum bumped into Piktochart.

At first, they started out knowing that they really needed content to be more visual. Now, they use Piktochart for just about anything, including their website redesign: “On our new website, we’ll use it even more because we know we need more visuals. It [Piktochart] actually helped us design our website.”

“Our biggest issue as a business is acquisition and getting people onto our website, as it’s a ridiculously crowded market. We have a lot of competitors in our field and everyone is competing with headlines to get people into their site, even Buzzfeed.”

Competing with Buzzfeed can’t be easy, so Johanna’s team started focusing on their core demographic: moms in Australia aged 25 to 49.

“Out of the challenge of competing with bigger websites and creating headlines and visual material for our core audience, we surprisingly started growing into other demographics.

“It all started because of horoscopes. I’ve been doing it for family and friends since I was 12, but I never knew they were so popular in India. At one point, we got over 1 million hits in one week and entered India’s top 28,000 sites. That started a chain reaction that got us into the top 100,000 sites in the UK and brought us a huge influx of visitors.”

Piktochart played a role in the ‘horoscope viral effect’. The initial logo of the Horoscope Series was created by a graphic designer. Aussie Mum Network started with monthly releases, but they quickly realized that they needed daily, weekly, and yearly forecasts as well.

‘We thought, “Oh, we need to go back,” but that would’ve cost us thousands of dollars. That’s when we realized we could use Piktochart. It saved us a lot of money.’

Apart from horoscopes, Aussie Mum Network uses Piktochart for all design related tasks. A great example is the design of their social media updates and tips:

“We take a graphic, put it into Piktochart, and put a tip on top of it. Shares went up a lot more. For instance, our most shared post was The Origins of Drinking Tea, a simple infographic telling the story of tea.

“We used a combination” we took the base of a template and added some content, and then used Piktochart elements and built around that content. People loved it.”

Aussie Mum Network is really excited about Piktochart: “It makes my life easier, and it makes it much easier for our team. [Piktochart gives us] so many things an organization like ours really needs to be competitive that we can’t afford’.

Johanna came into the media game with no experience, and while her competitors have graphic designers and resources, Aussie Mum Network is on a tight budget.

“That’s why, for us, Piktochart has meant that we can actually compete on a level that we wouldn’t be able to do before.” In the past, businesses that wanted to have great media campaigns needed to have a big budget or know someone who could help them. “It has democratized graphic design so that anyone can do it. We couldn’t have grown or succeeded without having something like Piktochart’.


For more user stories, along with infographic design and marketing tips, check out our blog at http://piktochart.com/blog.


Originally published at piktochart.com on May 7, 2015.

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