From eco-friendly posters to frames, cards, notebooks and totebags – Michelle Carlslund is an independent illustrator from Copenhagen, Denmark. With her items being sold in over 200 design stores around the world, Michelle also sells her items through her own online store.
So, what’s the problem?
Despite Michelle Carlslund Illustration being one brand, Michelle was managing two websites – one for her online store, and another for her portfolio website. These were under two different domains and each had to be paid for and managed separately. This meant more money had to be spent to keep the sites running, and more time invested in managing both websites. We wanted to bring Michelle’s store and portfolio together under one domain and give a unified presence and smooth experience to her online visitors.
Where we began
We worked closely with Michelle to uncover some of the pain points she was experiencing with having to manage the two websites. From there we established a foundation for the project including what the goals and needs were and any specific requirements. After establishing a Proposal and outlining the scope of the project, we began on the Creative Process.
Research and Inspiration
Michelle already had an existing brand, so it was important to come up with a visual style that represented her brand personality. Together with Michelle we created a Pinterest board and both added pieces of inspiration for the new site. From this we ended up with a moodboard of elements that we felt would fit appropriately with Michelle’s visual brand and started exploring colours and typography to pair it with. Michelle’s illustrations are known to be childish, fun and evoke play – it was really important that these emotions also came through in the website.
Wireframing and Site Map
With all of the requirements known – it was time to start wireframing and brainstorming the architecture of the site. Michelle’s existing site had a lot of pages so it’s important that the navigation be clear, intuitive and easy to follow.
Wireframing always begins with rough, paper sketches. This allows us to easily move things around and explore freely. Once we’ve decided on some basic structure, we move to digitising the wireframes.
We explored a few different layouts to find the one that would not only best communicate the information, but be easy to follow and engaging for the visitor.
With the site map and architecture developed, we moved into visual design. We spent a while exploring a few different colour palettes as colour plays an important and fun role in Michelle’s brand. Along with this we also began to play with a few fun and playful typefaces before settling on Jaapokki and Averta.
It was important for the design to be non conventional. We incorporate overlapping elements, patterned backgrounds, rough edges and misalignment into the design to keep in theme with the playfulness of the brand.
Michelle already had a strong collection of photographs of her work. We made sure that the visual design contributed the photographs nicely and helped maintain the aesthetic.
Technical Process & Considerations
Given the desire to unify the flow between between Michelle’s portfolio site and Shopify store, where she sells many of her works, we needed to find a flexible CMS. Michelle also needed a way to reach both Danish and English visitors, so a content management system with the ability to easily enter multiple translations was a must.
We selected Craft CMS for this project for its flexibility, beautiful interface and ease of entering content in multiple languages. It is the ideal fit as it lends itself to easily being expanded later, and doesn’t come with cumbersome other features that aren’t necessary out of the box.
The project also required development of a Shopify theme to match the site we developed for Craft, which was installed at the same time we launched. To avoid needing to build a major Shopify integration, the two sites appear similar but are independent, however the visitor should not be able to discern the difference.
Michelle’s final site is fully responsive and works across a range of mobile devices, detects the user’s language and is SEO-friendly.
We used a modern development workflow to speed up this project, using a combination of Gitlab, SCSS for cleaner styles and Gulp for validating and compiling source code, which leads to significant performance improvements.
We had a lot of fun working on this project. If you’re looking for a new online store or website, get in touch.
Owner of Michelle Carlslund
Femke and Owen are both very pleasant to work with and it really seems that they are passionate in what they do. Their approach is very professional. I am now very very happy with the beautiful and functional result of my new website.