Friday, May 05, 2006

My wife's ex-husband …

… is a nice guy, and he needed a Web site for his business about the same time I was starting my own independent business. So I quoted a price and he gave me the job.

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.


Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

And now, Dick, I'm dying to see that site. Please, please give us the URL.

Dick Margulis said...

Hi Katharine. Thanks for your note. I was not trying to be coy; I linked the site to the words "small company" in the post, but here it is in plain text:

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Oops! Missed that link. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hello Dick. The drop shadows (top banner) seem just a bit modern for the look you were going for. That's okay, but you may want to fix it so the drop shadows aren't cut off leaving the straight edge.

Dick Margulis said...

Thanks, Tom. I see what you're saying about the cutoff. I've learned more about Photoshop since I did that one. On the other hand, the client hasn't said Boo! about it. So I'm thinking it ain't broke, but I'll fix it anyway if I get a round tuit.