My wife's ex-husband …
The thing is, he’s in the pallet business. He has a small company in Connecticut that builds shipping pallets. You need one special pallet? He’ll build it. You need 10,000 pallets? He'll build them. Glamorous it ain’t.
And his customers are, for the most part, the purchasing departments of manufacturing companies. Have you ever spent time in a purchasing department of a manufacturing company? I have. Bunch of gray, steel desks with gray, steely, old guys sitting behind them. A wowie-zowie Flash site is not going to impress them. They are looking for price and delivery, not pretty pictures.
So I had to hit just the right balance. The site had to look industrial, maybe a little corny even. I tried to evoke the look of a 1960s-era industrial brochure, and I think I did that pretty well.
Peter tells me that the site brings inquiries regularly and that he has quit advertising in the Yellow Pages as a result. He has saved more than the cost of the site just from that alone. I designed a modest AdWords campaign that is targeted to his exact geographic specifications (it does not pay to ship pallets long distances, obviously); and he’s happy.
My quandary is that even though the site represents a successful design project from a business standpoint, it really is not the sort of thing designers like to put in a portfolio, because it is just as ugly as I intended it to be.