Jamey Guy is one of our awesome member photographers based in Minneapolis. He and I first started collaborating way back in 2014 on some elaborate promo ideas, but after some discussion and exploration we decided that—first and foremost—his branding and website needed some work.
Your logo is the foundation of your brand and is applied to pretty much everything you put out in the world, so that’s the first thing you need to address before investing substantial funds to market yourself. It might set back your timeline, but in the end it will be worth it.
I’ve worked with photographers in the past that say they just need to get this portfolio or those postcards made right away, and they’ll deal with the logo later. But just think, whenever you get around to finally addressing that logo, everything you’ve already created will be outdated. Your promos will be useless and your print portfolio will be reduced to an expensive coffee table book. Not to mention, you probably could have made a much more significant impression on your clients had you been using a sophisticated logo you’re proud of—one that really represents you and your business—instead of just a placeholder.
When I communicated this to Jamey, he understood the logic behind the sequence and was totally on board. We immediately shifted focus to address his branding and decided to move forward with a logo refinement, followed by a web template customization.
There are tons of photographers out there in need of new logos. Most say they’d rather go with a logo refinement for budgetary reasons when it’s clear they need the wordmark package.
Sure, the logo refinement is less expensive, but that’s because it uses what’s working from your existing logo as the foundation. If your existing logo isn’t working, you don’t need refinement. You need an overhaul. You need the wordmark, and all of the research and exploration that goes along with it. This is an investment which will benefit your business for years to come, so it’s better to pay more for high quality results.
So, why the logo refinement for Jamey? Because Jamey’s existing logo had the right feel, and just needed some love. The fonts he was using were sophisticated but didn’t reduce well—the thins were too thin and “photography” was way too small. Not to mention the grayscale color palette didn’t jive with Jamey’s infectious personality and enthusiasm. Jamey’s logo didn’t need a complete overhaul so we went with the logo refinement.
After exploring a few different directions, we landed on the logo below for Jamey’s brand refresh and decided on an Americana-inspired color palette that spoke to Jamey’s stylistic sensibilities as well as the color trends in his photographs.
From the new logo, I created a primary mark for Jamey to be used in a variety of contexts throughout his brand—his website favicon, business cards, print portfolio, etc.
With Jamey’s new logo nailed down and the final files delivered, we shifted our attention to his website and got ready to kick off the web template customization.
The existing site Jamey had been working with was on liveBooks, and while it had a lot of the portfolio must-haves—large images and mobile browsing capabilities—it needed some work. This site was mobile optimized, meaning that a different version of the site would load specifically for users browsing on phones and tablets. While this isn’t an inherently bad thing, the desktop version was using outdated Flash animations and the mobile interface was stripping out all of his branding and site design leaving a lackluster experience that was discouragingly off-brand.
We encouraged Jamey to choose a new web template, and he decided to go with aPhotoFolio’s Design X template, a template we recommend frequently. This template is also mobile-optimized but—unlike Jamey’s previous site—translates the desktop site for a seamlessly tailored experience on mobile devices. The site scales images smoothly based on the device or browser size, and gives tons of customization options that make for a uniquely memorable site.
With all those customization options it can be tempting to go crazy, but I recommend sticking with a simple layout and letting the photos and logo speak for the brand. A sophisticated brand presentation doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel but focuses on attention and care for all of the details. These details—font choices, hover colors, a well-written bio—work together to feed your brand perception and create a powerful impression for your clients.
This is the approach I took with Jamey’s site, and the simple sophistication really sets the stage to let his photography shine.
Once the new site was almost ready to launch, Jamey went the extra mile to rework his bio with our publicist Kelley King. Jamey’s old bio had a lot of really great material in it but it was a bit too long and needed some streamlining.
Kelley distilled it down to a more concise and potent portrayal of Jamey’s personality. We also encouraged Jamey to use a more recent headshot on his About page, allowing clients to form a more personal connection to him while browsing the site.
You can see my before and after screencast of Jamey’s website below:
After the launch Kelley and I were so thrilled with the results and—as you can tell from this note he sent us—Jamey shared that sentiment.
“Of the plethora of designs I’ve had over the years, this is by far my favorite! I feel like it feels like me. Love it, it looks better than the pictures!”
That’s all for now, but check back soon for more adventures in design!
To see Jamey’s work and his new site in action visit jameyguyphoto.com. If you’re looking to build out your brand, feel free to shoot me an email! You can also check out our consulting page for more information about all of our services.