The Cognitive Canine Redesign
Sarah Stremming, founder of The Cognitive Canine, is an avid and successful agility competitor, talented instructor, and advocate for behavioral wellness and caring for the whole dog.
When she decided she needed a new logo and website redesign, she turned to Click and Repeat for help.
We began the project by working on her logo. There are a few components I immediately knew I wanted to play with. Because of her business name, there was the visual imagery of a cog, and that of a brain or head — add in that Sarah is well known for her advocacy of taking dogs off leash hiking (decompression walks) and that gave me 3 ideas to play with from the start.
Sarah and I also chatted about incorporating her own dogs into the logo in some way, and so I also pulled images of them to play with.
I presented her with a number of options to choose from, and then we iterated on further from there, until we felt we had something that embodied her brand and her business perfectly.
The final logo is a custom, hand-drawn representation of her border collie Felix. It incorporates the cog icon in the background, and together the two silhouettes create the feel of a sun setting behind forested mountains, giving it that outdoors hiking feel I was trying to include in the logo, even without including either of those images directly.
We created a few different color versions, and I presented her with the final images in several formats (.ai, .png, .jpg) and colors (all black, all white, and then the colored version shown here).
The Old Website
Sarah knew her old site had served her well, but she also knew she was limited by her own technical skills when creating it and was excited to have something she would love moving forward.
In addition to the main site, we wanted to create a platform she could use for her subscription only blog, Puppy Elementary.
Before – Sarah’s old website
After – Sarah’s New website
Sarah and I discussed several different site types, looking at a variety of sites she liked and didn’t like for inspiration. She knew she liked texture, but also wanted something that felt soothing and welcoming when someone arrived on the page. Going off of that, I used WordPress and the Divi theme to create three different homepage designs that she could provide feedback on and we worked from those until we found a final design she was in love with.
Then we migrated over all of her existing blog posts and podcasts, so that she didn’t lose any content, and I worked on creating a password-protected subdomain where her subscriber-only blog posts for Puppy Elementary would live. As part of the process we also integrated Mailchimp and set it up to notify subscribers automatically when new posts were available for each system separately; previously subscribers were notified whenever Sarah posted, even if they hadn’t subscribed to the Puppy Elementary content (and therefore couldn’t actually read it), so this was a must to alleviate user frustration.
Her new website uses a soothing color palette and wood and paper texture backgrounds to create a warm, welcoming feel without compromising on style. We included sections with dark backgrounds and light text intermingled with dark text on light backgrounds; overlays on the images to ensure readability, while large images at the top of every page give visitors an immediate sense of the things Sarah believes in — and represents her concept of behavioral wellness for dogs.
We kept the image previously in her header on her old site in a prominent position on the homepage to create a sense of familiarity for repeat visitors seeing the new design for the first time — it lets them know they are in the right place, and helps orient them on the new site. The site also makes it easier than ever for visitors to find her podcast, and to browse upcoming seminars and events.
Included in the project were training videos for Sarah and her team, so they can update the site moving forward, adding new podcasts, blog posts, and content to the site anytime they need to so it is always current.
“For years I fumbled along designing my own websites for my business. They were clunky, ugly, and a huge pain for me. Enter Melissa. She did the hard parts, she has a keen eye for design, and we were able to match our visions to create a site I love. I can’t recommend her enough!”
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