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Case Study

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May Fine Woodworking

In April of 2017, I received a call from Eric May. Eric is an amazing custom cabinetmaker, and his business, May Fine Woodworking, was in need of a new website. His site from 2012 through Wix.com was no longer adequate. I told him that I would be glad to help. I didn’t know it at the time, but this project turned into a complete redesign of the visual brand identity for May Fine Woodworking.

Business Needs & Goals for the Website

I met with Eric to learn more about his business and to find out exactly what the needs were for his website. I learned that most of his business came through word of mouth, and that has been surprisingly effective for him. He told me that he prides himself on telling the truth, doing quality work, and being on time. Such a striking combination of qualities is not to be taken for granted. Highlighting my client's values and showcasing his beautiful handmade products became my goal for his website.

screenshot of the OLD mayfinewoodworking.com home page
The old MFW website was in dire need of an update.

Photography

We identified May Fine Woodworking's target audience as interior designers, realtors, homeowners, and also builders. They would want to see “pictures, lots of pictures,” as Eric put it. Unfortunately, he was not happy with the quality of his current photos. They had been taken with an old camera phone in less than ideal lighting almost immediately after the jobs were finished. This meant that the shelves, cabinets, and the rooms in which the photos were taken were empty. Much like a home needs to be staged for showing by a realtor, pictures of finished woodwork have more appeal when set in the context of a home with real household objects. Eric asked whether I knew any photographers, and as a matter of fact I did. Me!

Another of my Mr. May's admirable characteristics is that he keeps in touch with most of his clients, many of whom live in this area. We arranged to meet with a few of them, so I could take photographs for the website. In addition, Eric showed me his garage which he had converted into a really cool wood workshop. I decided that pictures of my client working in the shop would make excellent background images and banners for his new, renovated website.

May Fine Woodworking home page
My goal was to showcase Eric's values and his beautiful handmade products.

Organizing the Website

Instead of having one page for testimonials and another page with pictures of the cabinetry, we decided to have separate pages for each project. This way the pages can be labeled with the homeowners’ names, and their testimonials can be displayed along with the pictures of the items of woodwork in each home. The endorsements are effective and seem believable because they are displayed alongside of pictures of the work to which they are referring. I organized the Project pages together in a dropdown menu that appears when site visitors hover over or tap on “Projects” in the main navigation. This architecture allows for new projects to be added to the website by simply creating a new project page and adding it to the drop down menu.

May Fine Woodworking Ashley Kitchen page
Pictures and the corresponding testimonials are showcased together as projects.

Logo Design

May Fine Woodworking's old logo fit well with the old site, but since we were updating the look of their web presence, it was time to update the logo as well. I was happy to tackle the design of a logo along with constructing the website and doing the photography. The new design is reminiscent of the old, but with a much more contemporary and balanced look. The improvements include the use of brighter shades of green and gold, a much fuller and more lively maple tree emblem, and an updated choice of fonts. Together these changes make for a much-improved visual presence.

may fine woodworking old vs. new logo
A new emblem, brighter colors, and updated font choices make for a much more inviting logo design.

By using the same green and gold hues and the same font families throughout the website and in the logo design, I was able to bring a sense of unity to the brand identity of May Fine Woodworking. This coordination was accomplished by accessing Squarespace’s built-in Typekit integration. The font families used are Sofia and Freight.

Switching Platforms

During my initial meeting with my client, I suggested that he switch his site from Wix.com to Squarespace, and he was more than happy to do so. With Squarespace’s fantastic browser-based site building tools, I was able efficiently to put together a very professional looking website with a contemporary responsive design. Adding additional projects and content and making changes to the site in the future will also be streamlined thanks to the Squarespace platform. Another benefit is the ability to transfer ownership quickly once the design is approved and payment is received.

may fine woodworking on mobile
The responsive design and looks great on mobile devices too.

My thanks go out to Eric for bringing me this wonderful opportunity to create both a showcase for his amazing handcrafted cabinets and a visual identity for his brand.

Click or tap here to visit the website and view Eric's work.