Prestidigitation Tile

The Client

Prestidigitation Tile is a professional tiling contractor located in the Columbia Gorge area. I worked with the owner of this small business to build them a web site, develop the company's branding, and enhance their online presence.

The Project

Before this project, the business had been operating without a web site and with a minimal online presence. To help drive new business and grow the company, I was commissioned to design a company logo and build a web site to provide information to customers and get the company's message out there.

What I really enjoyed about this project was getting to work with the client on everything from start to finish. Many small business owners aren't sure where to begin when it comes to establishing their online content. A key part of any job like this is to help guide them. Learning about them and their business, what their goals are, and asking the right questions to get them thinking.

What I Did

How it Went

The first thing I started on with the client was designing a logo for the company. This would help set the tone and design direction for the rest of the project. I had our first design meeting with them to learn more about their business. I needed to get some ideas put together as a jumping-off point. Sometimes with clients this has to happens completely from scratch. In this instance, the client came with some initial ideas that we decided to run with.

early concepts and visual tests for the company logo design

Some of our first concepts and ideas for the logo. The sketch in the top-left was done by the client. They wanted to integrate tiles as a graphical element with the logo inside a circle. Below that is an initial rough concept. I created this prior to the first meeting after seeing the name of the company. Since the company name is long, my first idea was to design a more horizontally-oriented graphic, which would be more effective. Coincidentally, we had both arrived at the idea to use tiles as graphical elements in the design.

Fortunately, these first rounds of design meetings went very smoothly. We quickly agreed on a design direction for the logo and developed these early concepts into more complete designs.

early logo design variations

We started off exploring ideas with the owner's original concept. As I began to integrate color, I chose earthy tones directly from some photos of one of the owner's favorite tiles. They had been using them as a background image for their business cards. We both were also fans of the herringbone tile pattern. That was an early element that stayed consistent throughout the design process while we tested different variations.

It was a solid start for the design, but was somewhat lacking in visual interest. At this point we decided to change gears a bit. We revisited my first rough mockup of the more horizontally-oriented design concept. That was then combined with what we had developed thus far.

images of further logo development

Once we decided to diverge from the circular design, we felt we were on the right track. I used the herringbone tile pattern to create a "live edge" around the company name. This was much more impactful. From there we again tested multiple variations. including a number of color tests. Although none resonated with the owner as much as the initial earth tones so those stayed.

Many other variations later, we arrived at our finalized logo design for Prestidigitation Tile. The client was very happy with the result. I was pleased that we had arrived at a completed design that had combined ideas and elements from both us. It was a great collaboration.

finalized logo design

The finalized logo design.

With the completed logo design, I began work on the web site build that would follow the design and branding. At this point I worked with the client to determine what content they wanted to present on their web site. These first steps involved discussing what information and messaging they wanted to convey to customers. I also did research into the sites of other tilers, contractors, and competitors. From there I worked on a sitemap and initial wireframes, which lead into high-fidelity mockups.

sitemap, early wireframes, and original mockup of the homepage

Sitemap, early wireframes, and high-fidelity mockup of the site's homepage.

The main goal of the site was to be clear and concise. We wanted customers to learn more about the company, but not overload them with unnecessary information that would create noise over what was important to the client.

The site content was divided into three main sections. The homepage used multiple points to drive users to the content we wanted them to see. I also integrated project photos from the client throughout the site. This would showcase their work in multiple places aside from the photo gallery.

screenshots of the homepage showing responsive design

Final build of the homepage. I wrote the site code myself and designed it to be responsive from the ground up.

screenshots of one of the sub sections of the web site

One of the sub-sections of the web site.

The final build of the web site came together very well. I enjoy getting into a site build, writing the code, and overcoming challenges as they arise. With the ubiquity of smartphones, building a web site to be responsive is essential. I made sure this would be the case right from the beginning. For me, it is very satisfying to create something that is not only a strong design, but functional as well. The client was extremely happy with the finished product. Something which is always one of the main goals of any design project.

My Takeaways

This was a positive experience for me for many reasons. Working directly with a client to help them achieve their goals and grow a small business is great. Like any skill, design takes practice, and this continued to help me hone my craft.

I got to flex my creative muscles in a variety of different ways as I worked on this project from start to finish. Starting with the initial concepting and research through the design process, I developed a cohesive design. I used my eye for detail while soliciting and including feedback from the client throughout. I also wrote all the copy for the web site. Giving me a chance to put my writing skills to work. I sifted through the client's many project photos to find the best to enhance and edit. This helped bring everything together in the end.

After the site build, I continued to work with the client on their web presence. Outside of putting the web site out on the internet for them. I offered suggestions and tips. This included their Google business page listing and social media channels. This meant a bit extra graphic design work for these platforms. I'm happy to say that after this project and consulting, the client has seen an uptick in business. It's currently keeping them quite busy. Great design can bring great success.

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