Steve and Nina are the owner and manager (respectively) of the Wild Bird Emporium, an independent store in northern New Jersey that sells supplies and gifts. They had never had a web presence before and wanted a place where people could find contact and location information, as well as possibly shop for some specialty items online.
Don’t use green! The default color for all things nature. I just couldn’t do it. I was excited to capture the quirky, outdoorsy spirit of their customers.
“Do whatever you think is best.” Seriously. This can be a blessing or a curse, but Nina and Steve were really open to any ideas and didn’t have any existing branding. The main goal of the site was to deliver the most basic information to people looking to visit or call the store, with a secondary goal of pointing them to their online shop.
I initially looked at things like scientific field notes, catalogues, and diagrams of different species. This kind of imagery was a little too scientific for their main audience, people who just like to feed and watch wildlife in their backyards. They’re generally not hardcore birdwatchers. But there were gorgeous etchings and woodcut illustrations that accompanied these field notes, and those had a quaint feel.
I wanted to hit the nature feel in a more organic way, not with cliche green colors and leaves. I compiled things with soft beige and brown colors, and focused on textures like burlap.
Steve and Nina wanted incorporate a design that their daughter, a jewelry maker, had made. This ended up turning into their logo.
The design came together quickly, and Nina and Steve approved, giving helpful feedback. We adjusted some aspects to cater to a large elderly customer base, making sure text and headlines were large and prominent.
I also set them up with a BigCartel account online, so they can upload and manage their products and online store easily.
I admire the hard work Steve and Nina put into running their store. They even set up a special mini homemade photo studio in their home so they can take beautiful light-controlled images of the products they’re selling online.
They smartly converted articles they were sending out in newsletters into blog posts that live on their website, drawing customers back to their site repeatedly.
Overall, I think the design nails the aesthetic of their wildlife-appreciating customers in an original way, without resorting to the stereotypes and cliches of nature imagery and colors.