Case Study: Conceiving And Designing A Brand

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This is a site that I designed for a child therapist who wished to start an independent practice in her home town. 

I'm particularly pleased with the branding that I created for her (and her site). The client originally wanted to tie her brand to her location, i.e., “White Plains Therapy.” I persuaded her that her brand should be herself, as opposed to the location of her office, as her potential clients would most be concerned with who they are trusting their child with. (The location, conversely, only has relevance for discoverability in the search engines, which can be achieved easily separately from branding.)

I started the design with a color scheme based on the bright primary colors typically associated with children’s toys and building blocks, to tie the color scheme to children. To simultaneously tie the colors to the therapist, I reduced them to yellow, which conveys optimism, and blue, which conveys trust, and muted both colors to look calm and professional. 

Similarly, I deliberately chose a simple font that is vaguely suggestive of children’s handwriting, but with regular, precise shapes and soft, smooth angles to simultaneously suggest the skill and gentleness required of a child therapist.

For the opening screen, I chose a stock image that conveys trust and support between a powerful adult and a vulnerable child. I then wrote the text for that screen and the following screen that makes this implicit idea conveyed in the photo explicit and establishes the trustworthiness of this particular therapist. (All other text was provided by the client.) I then persuaded my client that she should hire a photographer to take pictures of her interacting with happy children (for which she used her daughter) to personalize the message and further establish her trustworthiness. In a structural sense, I also used each of these photos to tie together the home page, where they are first introduced, to the separate interior pages where they are each linked to and also featured, which adds visual continuity to the site’s structure and navigation. Each page is then concluded with a simple, clear, and personalized call-to-action.

So far as the design itself, the biggest technical challenge was to try to get the type on the opening screen to move consistently, at all screen sizes, to either side of the image of the handshake, for which I developed a flexible underlying grid. Other than that my general design goals were simplicity, integration, and clarity: there is nothing on the site that detracts from her personal and professional brand and its essential message.