Client: Brent Lilly Construction
Project: Front-end website design
Brent Lilly is a local builder based in Lynchburg, Virginia. I worked together with the great folks over at Innovative Faith Resources and Sharptop Software (formerly Carrot Creates) to design a website to showcase Brent’s business. I was responsible for the front-end design of the site.
When I talked with Brent, he already had a pretty good idea of what he was looking for. A lot of Brent’s competitors had slick websites that gave a very corporate feel. They operated their businesses the same way, subcontracting based on the bottom line and presenting clients with a shiny veneer but not a lot of substance.
Brent distinguished himself in his market by running his business with a personal touch. He knew well and had great relationships with each of the contractors he worked with, and he made sure that everything his crew did was good enough he could personally sign his name to it.
Brent wanted his website to reflect this. It had to be true to who he was as a builder and a local, small city business owner.
Brent and I decided to start with a simple motif: construction blueprints. The container elements of the site would be all about the tools of the trade. This would subtly highlight Brent’s skill as a builder, intimately involved in his work. We wanted to communicate to his clients that, when they talked with Brent, they were talking with a craftsman, not some corporate account manager with no real knowledge of the actual work.Beyond that, a big design concern was to highlight the work itself. The design needed to support lots of photos to demonstrate Brent’s versatility and commitment to quality. People needed to know enough about Brent to work with him, and they needed to know enough about the properties to consider buying.
Brent had a couple of different types of properties he wanted to display. On the one hand, there were new properties that Brent was completing and hoping to sell. On the other hand, there were finished properties that Brent had already sold, but that he wanted to show as a portfolio of work.
I wanted to provide his website visitors with a clear way to differentiate between the two. I also wanted to draw attention specifically to the properties that were as yet unsold. Those needed to be visually prominent, since they were the most direct potential for income for Brent’s business. At the same time, I didn’t want the manner in which they were highlighted to add visual clutter to the site or make navigating his portfolio more confusing.
In the end, I addressed this challenge by adding a diagonal “Available” ribbon on the upper right hand corner of each portfolio property that needed to be sold. To preserve consistency, I designed the ribbon in the same color as the main call to action on the homepage. That way, when website visitors saw either the ribbons or the call to action, it would be a subtle clue that this was an opportunity to interact with Brent.
Once the design was finished and approved, I handed the project over to the developers at Sharptop, who brought it to life. I especially love the way that the developers set the header background to remain static while the rest of the site scrolls. It’s a little touch I hadn’t thought about, but it adds a ton of dynamism to the site.
As a final finishing touch, I added “Welcome Home” text to the header image in an architectural font. It’s a little detail, but I feel like it adds something. Brent creates wonderful spaces for people to inhabit, and with his expertise and values on the job, he can help his clients make the move from looking for a house to living in a home.