New Brand + Website for Jessica Scott Photography

With every client branding project, I make it my mission to not only create a distinct visual identity for each business but to develop a system for how all of the design elements work together.

Not only does it make for a more polished, professional brand in the long-run, but it makes it much easier to implement a brand into my client's website and collateral items like business cards, social media images, product packaging, etc. 

Jessica Scott's new brand goes down as one of my favorite design projects because of the system we created with her incredible calligraphy logo, strong black and white color palette, and bespoke typography. The overall look and feel is a confident, authentic representation of Jessica and her work. I'm excited to share the design process with you and offer a behind-the-scenes look at how I strategically incorporated each design element into her brand! 


Step 1 // research

I start each design project with a kick-off call with the client. We have an in-depth conversation about their business, their mission, and their goals for rebranding. We talk about their workflow and their website, and discuss what's working and not working currently for them. I also ask them to do a little homework by putting together visual inspiration in a Pinterest board. I'm always interested to see which colors and styles my clients are drawn to and determine if they would be a good fit for attracting their ideal audience. Sometimes it's spot on, other times it needs a few tweaks and adjustments.

Jess's was spot on.

She identified her business as primarily wedding photography, but seen with a lifestyle photographer's eye. Jess has a passion for capturing the essence of a person in her photos, and has begun doing a lot more lifestyle and brand photography. Her work is moody, elegant, and slightly edgy – much like Jess herself. 

We had so much fun coming up with words to describe her brand: Austin mid-century, effortlessly elegant, a blend of masculinity and femininity, artistic, with a music industry undertone (she is married to a handsome bearded musician, after all). 

The second I landed on her Pinterest board, I saw some really great potential. These look was a perfect balance of what Jess was looking for.

I combed through her Pinterest board looking for similarities, saved the strongest images that aligned with her brand description, and filed them away to add to her Brand Elements sheet.

Usually at this point in the process, I create a Mood Board using 10 images from the Pinterest board and include a suggested color palette. Jess and I are close friends, so we skipped that step and moved right into her logo design.


Step 2 // logo concepts

During our kick-off meeting, Jess told me that she was interested in hiring a calligrapher to create a logo for her. I was over the moon when she told me she had in mind Samantha of Wondrous Whimsy – a perfect fit for Jess's look. Samantha brought a gorgeous logo to the table that was just as elegantly edgy and artistic as Jess and her work. 

After the primary logo was finalized, I came up with a secondary logo to give Jess a little more versatility. While the original horizontal format works great for things like website headers, stationery, and cover photos, it doesn't work quite as well inside of a perfect square or circle. This secondary logo is a much better alternative for profile photos and icons. 

 
 

By setting standards for the logo formats and how each one will be used, we already started to develop a "system" that was going to work well for Jess's brand.


Step 4 // Brand Elements

Once we decided on the form and composition of the logos, I came up with a few different color options for them, and added in the color palette, fonts, and additional design elements in Jess's Brand Elements sheet. 

With the color palette, fonts, and custom patterns established, we were ready to move forward implementing the "system" we've created into Jess' collateral pieces.


Step 5 // collateral items

While I try to lay out as much of the brand as I can before I get started on the collateral items, sometimes it's helpful to jump in and add to the system as I go.

Before I got started on Jess's website, I designed her business cards, thank you card, New Year's postcard, wedding pricing guide, and senior pricing guide.




I used simple, clean lines throughout to maintain the effortless elegant look we were going for. We used a serif font in uniquely bold ways to nod towards Jess's classy tomboyishness. Open white space with stark black lettering feels just edgy enough to make an impression. 

Because I wanted the collateral items to feel collected, I didn't use all of Jess's brand colors on each item. Instead, I used that simple color system to stick primarily to black, white, and the soft grey and popped the green as a surprise in her envelope liners. The green and pink brand colors are also well-represented in Jess's work – the green foliage that she often includes and the warm blush of the skin tones in her portraits. All of the items are still cohesive, but they aren't over the top matching. 

I'm a little biased, but I love how these turned out – especially those business cards! We worked with a local letterpress printer to print her secondary logo as a blind emboss. It turned out delicious. 


Step 6 // website

But nothing was quite as fun as seeing all of the colors, fonts, and design elements come together in Jen's new website.

During our kick-off meeting, I asked Jen about the purpose of her website and what she wanted to emphasize most. Before the re-brand, Jess had divided her work into two separate websites – one for weddings and one for senior photography – and she was missing a place for her lifestyle photography. Because many potential clients find her through her website, she wanted to place the most emphasis on her photos so clients would see her variety of work and book her services. 

So that's what I focused on. I came up with a layout that featured Jen's photos front and center and I also categorized them in the top navigation so users would easily be able to access the other pages on her site, view her work, and book a session.

The typographic buttons throughout the site incorporate some of that classy nod to masculinity that's seen in other elements of the brand and the subtle two-tone background establishes the effortlessly elegant style of Jess and her work. I love the way the modern clean lines contrast Jess's stark, stylish logo and the classic, old-world typography. 

And you know what I love even more? This site was designed in Squarespace without a single bit of code. Click here to see it for yourself!


By determining the fonts, colors, logo variations, and patterns, we created a system for Jess and maintained consistency across every aspect of her brand. 

What do you think about this new brand and website for Jessica Scott Photography?

Making the Switch to Squarespace

Change can be scary. What if it's messy? What if it doesn't go as planned? What if no one likes it? However, change is incredibly necessary in order for us to mature – including our businesses.

A common change for my clients is the jump from Wordpress to Squarespace. When reaching out to me to begin a branding project, one of their very first questions is usually, "What happens when I switch my blog to Squarespace?" Considering Wordpress and Squarespace are very different platforms, it makes sense that people are often afraid of what will happen if they make the jump.

Thankfully, Squarespace makes it easy. (Really easy.)

In this blog post, I'll walk you through the simple steps it takes to move your blog to Squarespace from Wordpress. Whether you've just been curious or have wanted to switch but are downright terrified, this post is for you!

So what's going on here?

What you're going to do is a simple export of your Wordpress site, then import that content into your Squarespace site. It will not overwrite any design or style you've created on your Squarespace, and will also not delete any pages you've created in Squarespace. It's going to add the Wordpress pages you had to your Squarespace site, and the content of those pages will be converted into the Squarespace template and style you've chosen.

Before getting started...

  • You'll need to make sure you have WordPress 3.2 or higher to import your content. Don't have 3.2? You can visit Wordpress's FAQ to learn how to update your WordPress site
  • You'll also need to disable any Wordpress plugins (they could interfere with the import).
  • This is a one-time import. Any updates to your WordPress blog after this process will not automatically sync to your Squarespace site.

Wait, so what imports from my WordPress site?

Squarespace will import all of your:

  • Posts and their authors
  • Pages
  • Images
  • Comments (yay!)
  • And Attachments

Squarespace won't import any other content, which includes:

  • Content from plugins (you should have these turned off)
  • And any style or CSS you applied to your WordPress site. (In case you're wondering how to design your Squarespac site, you select a template and then edit it using the Style Editor.)

Step 1 - Go to the Import / Export panel

In the Home Menu, click Settings, click Advanced, and then click Import / Export.

Step 2 - Import WordPress content

Click Import.

In the Import Site window, click WordPress.

You'll want to import your WordPress content using the WordPress Import file.

To get this file, log into your WordPress site. From your Reader page, click My Site.

Click WP Admin to open your dashboard in a new page.

In your dashboard, click Tools and then click Export. Under Export Option, click Export.

Select the WordPress content you want to export and click Download Export File to export the WordPress .xml file to your computer.

In the Advanced tab of the Import from WordPress window, drag your .xml file into the XML Export Upload box. Click Begin Import to import your WordPress content. 

A progress bar will appear so that you can see that your WordPress content is importing. A Success (!) message will appear once the import is complete. This part may take a long time... just warning you. But another thing I love? You can close out of this page and come back to it later and it will still import. Yay, Squarespace!

Step 3 - Enable your imported content

Now that you've imported, you're probably wondering where you imported content went, right? Squarespace sets up your imported content as disabled pages in the Not Linked section. To display your imported WordPress content, enable all of your imported pages. 

In the Pages panel, hover over the page title, and click the Settings icon next to the title to open Page Settings.

  • Side note: With my clients, the only things I usually need to keep from their Wordpress import is their blog content. I go ahead and build all of the other pages they need from scratch in Squarespace, manually copying over any text or details they want to incorporate from their Wordpress site. Once their Wordpress content is imported, I delete everything imported and only keep the blog page. I will set up their new, re-branded sidebar on this imported blog page and make it their official, new-and-improved blog – with all of their past content. 

Check Enabled and then click Save. Now your important content will show up on your Squarespace site!

Step 4 - Move content (optional)

If you want your WordPress pages to show up in your main navigation, drag and drop your pages from the Not Linked section to the Navigation section.

Step 5 - Connecting your domain

The last step is to switch over your domain (www[dot]yourdomainname[dot]com) from your Wordpress site to your new Squarespace site. This varies depending on where you purchased your domain name, but is just as easy to do as the blog import! I'll be covering this information in a later post. 


And that's it – not too bad! Squarespace has made it really easy for bloggers and business owners of all types to make the move to their platform without losing any of the past content they've worked so hard to create. 

Have more questions? Thinking you might want to take the leap and move? Feel free to give me a shout!

Why You Need a Brand

Since getting started in graphic design eight years ago, I've tried my hand at many different avenues of design. In school, I got to try my hand at packaging design, advertising, web design, and many other types of artistry but I was always drawn to brand design. 

There was something special about taking a person's vision and making it come to life through cohesive fonts, colors, graphics, illustrations, and patterns all working together in different ways. It was like a personality test, organization challenge, and puzzle all in one. It was (and still is) totally my jam.

But I never understood just how valuable brand design was until I started That's Pretty Ace three years ago. While blogging, marketing, social media, and quality service have contributed to my business growth, much of it wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn't had a strong, recognizable brand. 

There are so many benefits to putting in the time, energy, and resources to have a streamlined brand. This post will walk you through just a few of those benefits to help you get a better idea of the impact a cohesive, well-designed brand can have on your business.

1. accurate first impressions

Unfortunately, you can't always control when someone will "meet" your business for the first time. Whether it's through social media or seeing your logo in a vendor list, anything that you're putting out is sending a message to your audience – and it may or may not be their first impression. 

In business, first impressions are crucial. They can make or break a sale, encourage or discourage engagement, and build or destroy trust. And that’s why branding your business is a major priority.

Branding is "the art of accurately portraying the right message to a business’s potential clients and customers and making a lasting, positive first impression." A cohesive, well-designed brand communicates an accurate message about your business right from the start. 

2. Professionalism

Everyone loves a good design – whether they know it or not! It's the reason we gravitate towards certain brands or choose to walk into a store (and definitely part of why we choose to come back). You can tell so much about a company just by looking at their logo. 

Even if you’re just starting out, a well-designed brand can make it look as if you’ve been in business for years. A cohesive brand communicates that you're professional, resulting in clients that respect you and take you seriously. It also shows that you pay attention to detail and are serious about your business, which leads me to the next advantage of a streamlined brand...

3. Trust

This might be the most important item on this list! Trust is insanely important to making sales, booking clients, and/or growing a loyal, engaged audience. 

Obviously, there are many ways to build trust between you and your potential clients, but branding is one of the quickest and most effective. 

When a business has put thought and intention into every detail of their business, it doesn't go unnoticed. When people see that your logo, social media accounts, website, business cards, and packaging are cohesive and quality, they assume that what you offer them will be, too. 

4. Recognizability

A strong brand is recognizable even when the logo isn’t in front of you. It’s identifiable by its visual elements (such as logo, colors, fonts, and patterns) and its non-visual elements (the word usage, and tone used). 

You want others to recognize when your images come up on social media or when they see one of your products being used by someone. Each piece of your brand helps your followers identify your business.

5. Memorability

Many of us are visual learners – and even those of us who aren't, visual cues are still incredibly helpful. A cohesive, well-designed brand gives your audience a visual of your business and helps them to store that image in their brain and remember it. 

I could tell you all about Feast & Dwell – how it's run by a great photographer, Jessica Scott, how she chronicles her favorite recipes she's found since going gluten and dairy-free, how her home and food photos are like pure eye candy. And while that’s all true, seeing and experiencing the brand puts a name with a face and makes it that much more memorable.

Once you see a brand, it’s much easier to remember the business behind it, especially if the designer behind the brand has incorporated some elements that set it apart from other brands in the industry. 

And that’s where the next benefit comes in...

6. Differentiation

There are so many businesses within creative fields that it can be hard to tell them apart and differentiate them from each other. 

A strong brand has the ability to set your business apart and differentiate it from everything else that’s already out there. A strong brand takes out the competition factor because people remember you. 

7. Efficiency

On a more practical level, when you’ve thoughtfully considered every element of your brand you suddenly become more efficient.

You don’t have to spend as much time figuring out what a newsletter should look like, because a “design system” has already been created. The fonts, colors, and details have already been thought through and decided upon.

It isn’t difficult to decide on a profile picture for your Facebook page, because a logo variation or photo has already been created that matches well with the rest of your brand. 

A streamlined, cohesive brand saves you time (and stress) in the long run and gets all the hard work out of the way so that you can be more efficient with your time and resources. 

8. Identity

The way you dress, the words you use, your behavior, your habits - all of those things reflect your personal identity. They're things that people remember about you and create an impression for them to recall. In the same way, your brand’s colors, fonts, design, terminology, and tone reflect your business.

Your brand gives your business life! It gives it character and an identity. It gives your audience something to relate to, whether your brand is "casual and friendly" or "modern and sophisticated." 

Branding is far more than just a logo; it’s what your visitors experience. A cohesive, well-designed brand can differentiate your business from competitors, build trust with your audience, and give them the right first impression. It can lead to more sales and bookings, create recognition, and increase engagement. The benefits are infinite.


Although many business owners recognize the importance of a cohesive, high-quality brand, they don’t always know how to create one.

And that’s where That's Pretty Ace comes in.

The Brand and Website Package is a great solution for those who are hoping to start a brand from the ground up, rebrand, or refine their current brand. In 6 weeks, you could walk away with a fresh, updated brand that more accurately represents your vision and what you have to offer your clients. Want more details? See what's included here. I'm looking forward to meeting you!

My Squarespace Design Process

It’s no secret that I love Squarespace. It's easy to customize, easy to use, and easy on the eyes. I often tell my clients that if they can use an iPhone, they can use Squarespace, and I love hearing how much they love it!

Because Squarespace is still relatively new and there aren’t as many business owners using it as there are on Wordpress, I often get questions regarding about the ins and outs of how I design sites using the platform. So today I’m sharing an inside look at my Squarespace client design process from start to finish. 

For those of you who are already designing sites in Squarespace, I hope you’re able to take something away that makes things simpler and more efficient on your end! And for those of you who are considering a Squarespace site design in the future, I hope this post convinces you to take the leap and try it out.


1  |  Create a trial site


Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial to anyone interested in creating a site on their platform, which is helpful from a designer perspective because it allows me to create a website draft without my client having to purchase anything at the outset. I do my best to get their site completed within this 14-day timeframe, but if it goes over we just add the monthly fee to the client invoice. 

So once I’ve designed my client’s brand and collateral items during the first portion of my client design process, I create a new trial site under my own Squarespace account to create a mockup of my client’s new website.

I set it up using my own Squarespace account for a couple reasons. 

First, using my account allows me to access all of my client sites at a glance instead of having to remember each client’s password and login for their individual sites. And second, I like to steer clear of asking for passwords and logins when I can, just to protect my client’s privacy and maintain trust. 

Squarespace allows you to see all of the sites you have access to at a glance, too, and you can access them by clicking on your profile image at the bottom of the main menu. 

When I’m working with clients who already have a Squarespace site, trial sites allow me to experiment with the layout and change up the design without messing up or taking down their current site in the meantime. This is a major win for everyone!

And for the clients who are transferring over to Squarespace from other platforms like Wordpress or Blogger, trial sites allow me to demonstrate what Squarespace is capable of before they make the switch. 


2  |  Customize the design


CHOOSING A TEMPLATE

Once you create a new trial site, you’re asked to choose a template.

This step took me a while when I first started designing sites in Squarespace, but as I’ve become more familiar with the templates I’m able to narrow down the options fairly quickly. I usually have a template in mind from the very start, based on the information my client has provided in our kick-off meeting (or phone call if they're not local). 

Squarespace has different categories for templates (businesses, portfolios, restaurants) which allows you to sort through them, but I never let those suggestions hinder me from using one of the templates (if a template is listed under “restaurants,” I won’t rule it out).  I focus more on the layout and functionality of each template and take a peek at the feature index of each one to see what it’s capable of and determine whether it would be a good fit.

Squarespace also provides examples of other sites who’ve used the platform, which is helpful for seeing the versatility of the template and gaining ideas for how you might be able to use it for your client’s site.

While Squarespace allows you to switch templates at any time, I try to choose a great option from the outset to save time and more importantly, save the design. You’re able to keep all of your content when you switch templates but you aren’t able to save the customizations you’ve previously made to colors, fonts, and spacing. It’s worth doing a little bit of homework and finding a good fit from the start.

MAPPING OUT THE CONTENT

Because many of the Squarespace themes determine the spacing and no coding is required, I don’t sketch website concepts when I’m designing client sites in Squarespace. Instead, I jump right into the design. I view the trial site as an “interactive rough draft” and use it to work through the layout and functionality of the site. 

I do, however, map out a wireframe beforehand - based on the information my client provides in their client homework - to work through how the site will function. I list the pages, determine which ones will be included in the main navigation and which will be unlinked, and come up with calls to action on each one to create a flow for users moving through the site. I often sketch this out during our kick-off meeting for the client to see and for us to work it out together.

IMG_9575.JPG

So once I’ve chosen a template, I get to work setting up the pages and navigation. I delete all of the sample pages included in the original template and add in the content my clients have given me beforehand for each page.

RECEIVING CONTENT FROM CLIENTS

I also ask my clients to create folders either in Google Drive or in Dropbox for the content they want me to include on their website. 

Within the large folder, I have them create subfolders for each individual page and ask them to label the folders accordingly (about, services, contact, etc.). Within each subfolder they can upload images and text files. Not only does this make things easier on my end, but it helps my clients organize the information on their end, too. 

CUSTOMIZING THE TEMPLATE

When I have a framework laid out with the pages and navigation, I add my client’s logo to the site and make adjustments to sizes, fonts, and colors in the Style Editor. 

Squarespace allows users to preview the changes they’re making as they’re making them, which is extremely helpful and saves a lot of time. 

After the site is mapped out and adjustments are made to the Style Editor, I’ll often go back through and add buttons and other graphics (usually from the client's Brand Elements sheet) to customize the site a little more and make it feel less like a standard template.


3  |  Client approval


Once I get to a good stopping place on the design, I give my clients a preview by sending them a link to the trial site. 

Squarespace automatically gives each trial site a unique Squarespace URL, but I prefer to customize the Squarespace domain to make it a little easier to remember. By choosing Settings from the main menu and clicking Domains, I’m able to update the built-in domain to my client’s business name instead.

After I receive feedback from my client, I continue to make revisions and tweaks until they approve the final design. 


4  |  Add client as a site administrator


I add my client as an administrator once they approve the site by clicking Settings > Permissions > Invite Contributor. This gives them full access to their new site.


5  |  Transfer content and reroute domain


Whether the client is making the switch from Wordpress or from a preexisting Squarespace site, I offer to transfer their existing blog posts into Squarespace and reroute their domain for them. I’ve found that it’s often easier to do that on my end to save them the time (and anxiety) of doing it themselves. If they opt to have me help them with the transfer, I ask my clients for their login information for their hosting platform and domain provider and transfer the blog content before rerouting the domain. 

For those interested, Squarespace has some helpful tutorials for transferring content and rerouting domains: 

Connecting a Domain to Your Squarespace Site
Importing and Exporting Content

If they want to create some suspense before the new site officially launches, I offer to create a cover page and set it up as the homepage ahead of time.


5  |  Client tutorial


After the website is all set up and ready to go, I meet with my client over Skype or in person to share my screen and show them around the backend of their new Squarespace site. 

I demonstrate how to update the images and text on each page, add and edit blog posts, connect their social media accounts, view their site metrics, and add items to their shop. And because Squarespace is so user-friendly and intuitive, the final consultation takes me no longer than an hour. 

Once that's finished, I send a final invoice and transfer the site ownership over to them. All that’s left is a celebration on launch day!


Squarespace is a great option for designers who want to provide their clients with an efficient, user-friendly experience and a professional, streamlined website. While my process isn’t the only way to go about creating client sites in the platform, I hope it comes in handy for those of you who consider Squarespace sites in the future.

Brand Growth for Stewarding Life Wellness

About a month ago, a dear client of mine from last year reached out to me. I was so thrilled to hear that the dream they had been working on for so long was finally happening – they were opening up shop! 

Lillie and her husband, Jake, have a passion for helping people "take control of their health through a functional approach to hormone imbalances, weight issues, energy deficits, and digestive disturbances." They had gotten a space in a historic part of town and were looking to update a few things to go with the shop. I got to work right away!

First up, Lillie and Jake needed to add the word "wellness" underneath their logo. This would better explain upfront what they offer to their clients, and is what they were looking to use for their official business name. 

From there, I created an additional sublogo for them to use...

And a handy flyer for them to hand out to guests. 

And lastly, Jake and Lillie needed email signatures and business cards, so we put those together. 

Just look how cute their new place is! Lillie had signage made for their new office and I just love how everything is coming together for them. She has great taste, am I right?

It is always a joy to work with Lillie and Jake, learn about their goals for Stewarding Life Wellness, and build new pieces to compliment it all. I couldn't be happier with the final product!