I’m a stickler for organization and simplicity and the categories of this blog were really starting to bug me. Some of the categories were no longer relevant because they didn’t fit my future plans for the blog. In the midst of housecleaning it became apparent that instead of just having separate categories, it would be more effective to have separate websites for my graphic design and photography work. Splitting the content would result in the websites being more focused so visitors could have greater control over the content they read. In addition, I could gather clearer insights through Google Analytics and improve search engine optimization.
I spent some time considering names for the new website but “Schweet” stuck in my mind. However, I thought that schweet on its own would be too generic so the name would need two parts. I thought about my favorite photography subjects (food, travel, cars, and architecture/interiors) and upon realizing that they’re all lifestyle items decided the second word would be “Life”.
Once planning was completed (business plan, marketing plan, brand strategy, and social media strategy) the design and development work began. The project was divided into three phases: logo design, website design, and social media profile development.
I felt that the name “Schweet Life” was interesting and would readily lend itself to being a wordmark. I began the logo design phase by sketching the way I saw the feeling of the word in my mind (hopefully that makes sense). I thought it should be classy but not pretentious and interesting but not jarring. I got the feel of the “S” correct early in the process but had to play around with the other letters and the layout for while.
I finally settled on a hand-drawn “S”, a toned down capital “L” in Lavanderia Sturdy, and lower case Century Gothic for the other letters. The lower case dot of the Century Gothic “i” looked very out of place so I used an argyle-style diamond shape composed of two crossed “I’s” that I had created while exploring another concept. I chose a color palette of blues and neutral tans that could be used for different applications.
I ended up preferring the simplicity of the black and white versions of the logo so the colored versions were scrapped.
The Schweet Life website borrows a lot of its elements from the NNMPortfolio website. However, to improve the user experience the search bar was integrated into the header, a simplified sidebar appears on the right, and a more prominent newsletter signup box appears on all pages.
The vast majority of the NNMPortfolio traffic is from desktop users so I originally planned to design a regular custom WordPress template. However, given that its expected that mobile use will increase I decided to kill two birds with one stone by building a responsive website that would automatically adjust to different devices in the event that there is an increase in mobile traffic. There are a few image scaling issues that still need to be fixed but you can experience the website’s responsiveness by visiting the Schweet Life website from your smartphone, tablet, and/or desktop computer.
Social Media Profiles
Its almost a requirement that you have some form of presence on social networks so I knew that I would also need to setup social media profiles. I created customized Twitter and Facebook profile pages which feature photos from my photography portfolio. I’m still debating whether or not I actually need a LinkedIn Company Page or Google Plus Brand Page.
*Update & Disclosure: I recently attended Microsoft and Google webinars and received coupons to advertise on their networks. I understand the basics of Google Adwords but am not by any definition a search engine marketing (SEM) expert.*
In addition to experimenting with text ads for adCenter and Adwords, I decided to create a few image ads for the Google Display Network. I designed the ads to be very simple and largely image based as I am beginning with a campaign where Google will choose the placements so the ads need to be able to fit into the design of a variety of websites.