Design Story: Subversive Illustrations for the Socially Conscious

by | Jul 13, 2016 | Inspiration

Joni Taylor is an illustrator and artist who blends quirky art with socially conscious commentary.

Joni‘s been a client of mine for years, and also happens to be my mother! So when she approached me about redesigning her website I was stoked.

Since we created her previous site, Joni had not only completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts but has started a Master’s program. Her style had grown and evolved and it was time to bring her website up to date, showcasing her latest work and starting to build a following of loyal fans.

The Process

I was already familiar with Joni’s art, so our initial discovery call focused on her goals and what she dreamed the future would look like for her business.

To inform our vision we took a deep dive into her current set-up: her business model, target market, and messaging, the media that she and her Most Valued Clients consume, and the all-important bottom line: where she made her income.

From there I created a guiding document that distilled our findings and a mood board to set the tone for the project. Like Joni, her Most Valued Clients are smart, community-minded, and compelled to action through imagery. It was really important to Joni that as rebel thinkers and outsiders to mainstream narratives, her people felt connected straight away to her website and perceived it as a space where they belong. We built a digital strategy that would meet her goals both internally with Joni’s business model, and through connecting more deeply with her target market.

Next we moved into the design phase.

I created a colour palette and, as Joni is an illustrator, she created all the graphics and the logo for her site. Then I chose a font to compliment her illustrations. This was a truly collaborative process! We worked closely in person and with feedback sessions via email and Skype to achieve the amazing results on the finished site.

Colour palette for Joni Taylor | JamieLeigh

Once we finalized the visual identity, I created a 13-page Brand Guidelines document to help everyone who represents and/or works with Joni Taylor to understand her brand and business. It also helps to inform all future design decisions!

Then we put the new identity to work hashing out the website specifics, sitemap, and design. Joni and I discussed the design mock-ups and how they would meet her business goals; from there I went to work developing her website.

The Results

I’m super proud of the responsive animations we built into Joni’s website–it feels like we brought her illustrations to life.

Responsive website by Jamie Leigh


I also added some quirky surprises into Joni’s site to amuse her customers. For example, there are several hidden “Easter Eggs” throughout the site—intentional secret links that give visitors access to a special gift from her store. (Can you find them?)

The 404 page is another element that mirrors Joni’s humour and branding. Instead of getting a boring “Oops, that page doesn’t exist” message, we created a helpful page that should make folks giggle.

Socially conscious web design | Jamie Leigh

Having mobile elements that were fun and exciting was also a huge goal and the outcome is something I’m really proud of. Joni’s site will amaze you no matter what device you view it on!

Mobile menu navigation design | Jamie Leigh

Finally, the online store is a major component of Joni’s new website. Perfectly integrated and impeccably on-brand, Joni’s shop allows her to sell all her art, from whip-smart ‘zines to fine-art originals. Folks can purchase her art internationally with shipping costs, discount codes, inventory, and more all managed and calculated automatically.

YAY for systems that work FOR you!

In Her Words

“Jamie helped me feel confident about the validity of my work and brand; she also encouraged me to think about long term planning regarding my business. While working with her on my website I learned that it’s never too late to develop strong, emergent ideas!” – Joni Taylor,

Services: Branding, Strategy, Website Design and Development

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