the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

On designing a site outside your comfort zone.

Bee ButlerComment

As you can see from yesterday's post, I finally completed the site that I've spent a year working on for my sweet friend, Katelyn, at Pretty X Twisted. When the project started out, we finished a site in a few weeks time, and it was beautiful. I loved it. Katelyn like it, but it just wasn't HER.

The design was simplistic and focused on a lot of shadow and light, with small pops of color from the pieces Katelyn created. This is VERY MUCH my style, albeit with different fonts. I have a font addiction, and using generic fonts makes my brain itch. I sent Katelyn the final site, and she lovingly said that she like it, and it was pretty. I could tell, though, that it just didn't fit, and I am not the kind of person who says, "I finished the site. If you want to start over, it's gonna cost you". I am not the kind of person who believes that her work is the end-all be-all of perfection and glory. Sometimes, my work sucks. Other times, I think it's great, but my client (or client/best friend) doesn't feel it, and in that moment, the hippie/karmic believer/genuine desire to do the right thing by people I care about kicks in. I was making this site for her, to showcase her talent and help her monetize a business that had so much potential I could barely wrap my head around it. She is that good. I wanted her site to be THAT GOOD. 

And so, we started over.

I made a ton of mock ups, a lot of which she never even saw, because I kept catching myself using MY design style instead of hers. Katelyn has a vision of what she wants, and that makes her the most ideal client on earth. She came to me with some suggestions, and was almost hesitant to criticize or even bring up things she didn't like, but she found her voice as I pushed her towards taking the reins, and yesterday, pre-launch, she sent me detailed instructions on little things she wanted altered. Completely sure of herself, using her vision and her style and her intent for this website and her business. I was so absurdly proud of her, and I knocked out every single thing she asked without a second thought.

Katelyn had a big advantage in that she came to me with a logo already designed. I didn't have to do squat in that department, and it was fantastic. Look at this. Seriously, I am blown away by it, still. 

Katelyn came to me with this awesome business card and logo design by one of her friends, and I was ALL ABOUT IT. This kind of thing is one of the toughest parts of my job, so having it done already was fantastic. It also gave me the chance to play with the logo, incorporate it in different space, and utilize it in banners and the Welcome page, because she had the original PDF files of the artwork, and I could convert it to whatever image form I needed. PNG, by the way, is the way to go on SquareSpace. 

From there, at our "starting over" point, I asked Katelyn to show me what she was looking for. And man, did she deliver. 

 (This is every designer's dream. She literally drew it out, and that is EXACTLY how it looks now)

(This is every designer's dream. She literally drew it out, and that is EXACTLY how it looks now)

 SHE LITERALLY FOUND THE FONT SHE WANTED. DOING MY JOB FOR ME.

SHE LITERALLY FOUND THE FONT SHE WANTED. DOING MY JOB FOR ME.

 Loving that she's embracing her personality and pushing to incorporate it in the site. We did it, too.

Loving that she's embracing her personality and pushing to incorporate it in the site. We did it, too.

 This is a perfect example of taking charge of your site design. She knew what she wanted and she asked for it. We did do away with that cover page, and it looks infinitely better without it.

This is a perfect example of taking charge of your site design. She knew what she wanted and she asked for it. We did do away with that cover page, and it looks infinitely better without it.

 I freaking love her for this. She sent me actual shots of the site on her computer and pointed out exactly what she wanted to change.

I freaking love her for this. She sent me actual shots of the site on her computer and pointed out exactly what she wanted to change.

 This is why working with her was a dream. 

This is why working with her was a dream. 

Can I just take a moment to say that anyone having a site built should take notes from this girl? She took a little time finding her voice and speaking up, but once she got it, she ran with it, and the final site is so much more HER because of it.

Katelyn is someone I hope to keep designing for for the rest my life. This site has become my baby, and I'm sure we will continue to tweak, rebrand, and expand it whenever an idea strikes. I don't mind that, because it has been such a learning experience and such a beautiful way to further my business and hers.

 

I am now booking clients over on my business site, Caged Bird Media, and you can look at my portfolio over at Caged Bird Portfolio.

Caged Bird Media is currently undergoing construction, so feel free to email me at abbybeebutler@gmail.com to get started, or comment on the blog!

 

Thank you to Katelyn for giving me the opportunity to work on such an amazing project. 
I can't wait to keep going, and I'm excited about all the new ventures coming up!

 

Always ready to work,