SWFL Catering & Events

The Client

SWFL Catering & Events is a small business located in Naples, FL. They provide private chef services, event planning, and catering to the surrounding areas.

The Project

During my time in Florida I worked for this business to develop their logo and branding. After, I built and managed content for their web site. This included content updates, copywriting, and photo retouching. I also did general graphic design work. Everything from business cards, to event menus, and other collateral.

What I Did

How it Went

When I was first brought on for SWFL, I already had a working relationship with one of the owners, a local private chef. I had worked on his personal logo and branding. So when it came time to expand the business I was the go-to person for developing the new business identity.

examples of the development of branding and logos over time for this client

On the left side is previous branding I had worked on for the private chef and part owner of SWFL. There was his personal logo and another for a short-lived meal delivery service. I was asked to use those as a basis to create a logo for SWFL. Here are a few of the working versions pictured, with the final in-use logo on the right.

The creation of the logo for the new business came together quickly. I was already familiar with the client and had a good idea for what they wanted. I had a strong starting position with the branding I had developed for him previously. His client base and services were on the higher-end. Thus I wanted to create something that was clean and classy to reflect that.

When it came to building the first version of the web site, the business was just starting out. I didn't have a lot of content to work with at the beginning. Even so, I used an eye-catching photo I had snapped myself of the Naples Pier, a well-known local landmark. Then used the logo I had designed with some nice use of typography to put together version 1.0.

screenshots showing the first version of the business' web site

Version 1.0 of the site didn't have a great deal of content. I decided to focus on making what was there project the high-end feeling that the owners wanted. From the start this site was also built to be responsive.

Without much content, I decided to make what was there as easily accessible as possible. Most other catering web sites were a bit cluttered. They made users hunt more for information, which I and the owner agreed to avoid. These days, a huge amount of web traffic comes from mobile devices. Users have generally been trained by them and their apps to scroll through content. As such, I decided to build the site as a single page. All the information and no clicking required.

The first version of the site design ended up being a success. It's clean and cohesive look put itself above the web sites of local competitors. Several clients mentioned the web site as a significant reason for them contacting SWFL for their events.

This design stuck around for a while, but eventually it needed an update. The business had more it needed to feature: more photos, services, and other content to add. Version 2.0 for the site kept the bones, but added all this with a fresh update.

screenshots of the current version of the web site

Version 2.0 remained a single page, but updated with a new look and content. Additional images for services were featured. I also added was a small photo gallery, call-outs from customer reviews, and sample menus.

The new version of the site turned out really well. The owners had some professional food photography done. I used the new collection of photos to showcase their work. An interactive gallery was integrated while also having some photos peek out from the margins of the site on larger resolutions. This helped highlight more of their product. With the shift to a white background to lighten everything up, it also helped land the main content in the space rather than feeling like a void. Plus it added a touch of whimsy.

Aside from managing the web site and its content, I designed numerous printed materials for SWFL as-needed. This included business cards, event menus, signage, and other collateral.

samples of various graphic design work done for this business

Examples of various printed materials I created for SWFL: business cards, menus, and other signage for events.

My Takeaways

Working part-time for SWFL Catering & Events was a great experience. I was given a large amount of control over the design and branding for the business. This provided the opportunity to make it truly cohesive. Being with a business from the start definitely has its benefits and I used my skills to help it grow.

Working on the web site was very valuable for me. It was one of the first sites that I had created myself that I had built to be responsive. Fortunately, I gained a lot of experience working with responsive sites while employed at The Walt Disney company. I was able to take what I had learned and create something myself from scratch. Making sure it functioned and looked great across platforms using these practices I had learned, was fun and satisfying. I'm proud of the work that I did.

I also appreciated the variety of work I got to do as well. Not only in building and managing the site, but all the extra work that was also needed for events. From crafting an elegant menu for a wedding, to designing everything from food labels, to business cards, leave-behinds, signage, and more. It was a real learning experience. I got to grow myself professionally along with the business I was working for.

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