Guilardi.com is built on the Customizr Pro WordPress theme featuring custom photography and beautiful typography.
When I first started dabbling in website design, Dreamweaver was Macromedia, Flash was cool, and blogging wasn’t yet a word. Each page had to be created by hand and cascading style sheets were built piece by piece.
This website began as a corner of the internet where I could host the long-form journal emails I’d been writing for friends and family about life as a counselor at Concordia Language Villages. Fast-forward 20 years and anyone who can operate a web browser and a Shutterstock account can build a professional-looking website with a credit card and a few clicks.
Okay, it’s not quite that simple, although that is what many of the all-in-one-platforms would have you believe. These days, any and every business, no matter how small, has to have an online presence. And for many, especially businesses that don’t have a brick and mortar space, the website is the brand. The website has to be visually appealing, user-friendly, persuasive, and optimized for organic search.
I was photographing the home of realtor and architect Benjamin Guilardi for my long-time client European Cabinets & Design Studios (more about that project here) when Benjamin and I got to talking about website design. His website guilardi.com was created with purpose-built software for real estate agents, but like his beautiful new kitchen, he wanted a website that would stand out from the crowd.
Benjamin didn’t have a logo for his business, so we started there. I roughed up a handful of text-based designs according to his desire for a “modern and sophisticated” logo. Next, I updated and reorganized the text of his original website to be more compelling, easier to follow, and include a handful of keywords determined to be important to his business and therefore to search engines. The website was ultimately designed on a WordPress platform, adapting the Customizr Pro theme to meet his needs.
In the nearly two decades since I’ve started working with website design, I’ve become adept at designing, manipulating, and managing websites, especially those built on a WordPress or Squarespace platform. I love how, like print design, web design exists at the intersection of photography, typography, and written content—with the added challenge of optimizing for organic search.
I always say that the best way to keep work fresh is to make sure you have a healthy mix of topics and mediums coming down the pipeline. Building websites and managing online content creates an excellent opportunity to explore new modes of storytelling.