Yay the site redesign is finally fully live!
From designing and creating every little graphic to developing entire new sections and new products, I've been spending the better part of the last two months working on this.
Read on for more details and, of course, backstory/process ;) Here's a quick TL;DR summary:
Almost every element on this page has been updated. I'm especially happy with the little scenes that pop up around the site :) They're a little peek into another universe.
I've always wanted this site to be a story + illustration world. When I finally found the time to do a refresh I thought a lot about how to make it feel more like a "world" people can enter and enjoy rather than just an online shop.
Process. I've always been interested in website design and I spent a little over a year working as a project lead at a digital design agency. There I learned the pipeline of designing a website from scratch. At a high level, there's the organizing of content, wireframing structure, determining the user interface and experience, the visual language design, coding, content entry, and a lot of simultaneous testing/editing.
Let's build a little world
Sketch Structure. For this site I approached it less formally but still with this general structure in mind. I personally like sketching out the structure just on paper, and then start piecing it together visually in Photoshop while building it on the platform.
(I found a really efficient system for designing a full page in Photoshop and using the AMAZING photoshop feature Generate --> Image Assets to quickly export the individual graphics and plug them into the site. If you want me to put together a tutorial on this, let me know in the comments! You can read about the feature here on Adobe's site.)
Sketch design for Meet the Characters page
Visual Language. For me, there's a lot of overlap in designing the structure as well as the visual language. You'll see that some things stayed very true to the original sketch, while other ideas evolved as I actually tested it on the site. It's sad when I spend a lot of time on a graphic I don't end up using, but it's necessary for me to go through that process and usually I can find some other way to repurpose it :)
Sketch designs for section badges
I wanted there to be a cohesive style that would be flexible for whatever future content I post, so I went with a simpler graphic approach. It was pretty organic in development; I made the hero banner pretty early on, was happy with it, and evolved everything around that. I would sometimes find I was leaning to heavily in one direction (e.g. dark space illustration), so would find ways to balance it out (e.g. using brighter colors, more white space, or photography).
Same world, different light.
How I Built This. For those who are curious, I build my site by myself using the Parallax theme made by Out of the Sandbox. It's very flexible and updated pretty frequently with great support. I really recommend the OOTS themes, especially if you know your way around a CMS and have some basic HTML knowledge. I figured out a bunch of ways to customize it and make it work with my illustrations :)
Alongside designing the website, I was working on a few new prints and products. It was nicely symbiotic since I used one style to inform the other.
I hadn't updated the products on this page for a while, and I know it wasn't reflecting my latest work. I am happy to have a set of new prints that really capture what I envision for this future world.
I'll be developing more as I go, but I want to keep it pretty curated to a manageable set rather than endless choice. I go into more detail on the actual new items in a separate post here :)
This is the new heart of this site, and I'm really excited to see where it goes.
I've had a few stories on my mind for a while, but hadn't felt ready to put them out there. As I mentioned in my In My World blog post, I finally got the push to start taking it seriously. Meaningful visual storytelling is what I'm truly passionate about. Whether people love it or don't care about it, I just have to do it. (But I hope you like it :x)
Cover for the first story series, Let's Go Explore
I'm starting with a simple story that embodies an important message of self-discovery for me. You can learn more about it at the Stories page, and I'll also have a separate post on it soon.
I also am flushing out the useful content on this site, as I do really enjoying sharing knowledge and experiences. I've organized the Learn section, added some new content, and created a separate Learn blog :)
Stories with a side of helpful content :)
Why I'm Doing This
Aren't Websites Kind Of... You Know... Old News?
I know websites are becoming, in a way, more and more irrelevant in terms of how people use the internet. People have limited time, there's absolute information overload, and it's generally easier to consume bite-sized content from aggregate sites such as YouTube and social media. People don't really go to individual websites on a recurring basis. I'm the same way!
That said, when I first started mimochai, I really had this vision of what I wanted the site to be (though it took time for my abilities to catch up :)). When I decided to focus on the site, I promised myself not to add meaningless clutter to people's lives and not waste people's time. I'll always keep that in mind in what I do.
I'm happy with how this phase turned out and excited to move on to the next phase—storytelling!
Stay Tuned :)
I know I say this all the time, but I am truly grateful for the support and kind messages I've received throughout my journey in illustration. To me, I'm at once building this world for you but also we're building it together. I'm being cheesy, but really, thank you.