As the Principal Designer at Faculty—a boutique web design and development agency—I was responsible for creating a full-scale redesign of Swell.com, the website of an ecommerce platform startup. The work included evolving the existing brand, reworking and expanding the information architecture and content strategy for the site, and building out a new visual language and design system for Swell's digital marketing presence.
A huge portion of the work on this project was rooted in strategy as well as visual design. Swell is a complex platform (to me, someone new to the headless ecommerce space), and their marketing needed to appeal to both developers building ecommerce websites and business owners looking to take their online presence to the next level.
Finding ways to communicate clearly to two audiences involved extensive work with a range of stakeholders, from the CEO of the company to engineering leadership. There was a fair amount of up front research just to understand the business goals, differentiating factors, and the landscape of ecommerce platforms in general. In the end dozens of pages of documentation were written to help define Swell's brand, competitive advantages, personality, and tone. From there, we restructured the site's information architecture and created a new content strategy as the foundation of the redesign.
Before our work together, Swell had a somewhat limited set of brand assets— their typography was generic, they had few illustrations, and a limited color palette. Our first step was to understand their competitive landscape and what set them apart, and then to define how their brand personality could stand out in the space. We took inspiration from their existing colors, fonts, and general visual style, and evolved it to be more engaging and scalable.
One of the most challenging aspects of this project was the need to appeal to two distinctive audiences—business owners looking for the right ecommerce platform for their storefront, and developers looking for the best platform to build upon. To understand the needs of both of these audiences, I spent time interviewing and soliciting feedback from stakeholders on both sides.
Once we identified the features and concerns specific to developers, we created a section of the website that addressed these subjects directly. This included a support site for the API, as well as a developer landing page in the marketing site. The page had code examples, showed the API, and had developer-specific testimonials to support how engineering-frinedly this product was.
Another vital audience to consider in this launch was Enterprise clients, so I created an Enterprise-specific page as well, which focused on the scalability, reliability, and enterprise-class features included in the platform. Components included a comparison table, a dynamic graphic related to platform uptime, and a way for potential Enterprise clients to get in touch.
The Swell marketing site encompassed more than simple marketing—it included a help site, about pages, pricing, features, case studies, guides, and more. And because the site is growing all the time, I needed to ensure the system created for the site was solid enough to easily scale, with enough variables to work across different types of pages. As a brand overhaul, this project was one of the more challenging and rewarding of my career.
Credits: Project management was done by Chris Merritt and Doug Wilson, with front-end development by the brilliant Henry Desroches.
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