Case-Study: Branding and Website Design for Susan James

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One of the many lovely advantages of taking Marie Forleo's B-School was that it put me in contact with so many other amazing women (and men!) who were busy turning their dreams into fantastic businesses. One such person contacted me in the hopes of redesigning her website, which was more like a landing page, into a more inviting and dynamic website. 

Susan, author and end-of-life counselor, wanted a brand and website that was more open and inviting to those who sought her out on the internet. She wanted to create a more spacious, powerful, and transformative site that also weaved her own personal story throughout. (Ah, was it just me, or did the clouds just part to make everything a bit more lovely?)

Needless to say, I was delighted to take on the challenge of creating a beautiful brand and website for Susan. In the end, we decided on a Branding and Web Design bundle and I was ready to get to work!

Branding for Susan James

First things first - creative research! We both gathered some photos that we had in mind that we were thinking would evoke Susan's brand best. Grace à Unsplash (hands down my favorite free stock photo search engine!), here are a few of the photos that I used as inspiration for the brand.

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Next up, I wanted to choose a color palette that encompassed a few of these soft, watery colors with a splash of exuberance (as we can see with the soft oranges and greens). After testing a few colors out, here is the final color palette that I ended up using to guide the brand creation of Susan's website:


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Next up - my favorite part of the branding process: the mood board! To create Susan's beautiful mood board, I incorporated elements from the stock photos I found via Unsplash, as well as some of the colors from the color palette. 

I loved how the brand already evoked a feeling of total calm and serenity. I felt that it was extremely important considering Susan's sensitive work - often working with individuals who may be facing obvious fears and stresses at the end of their lives, as well as their loved ones. 

Along with the tranquil nature of the images and colors, Susan and I also wanted to include an optimistic exuberance in it all for a powerful combination. 



Susan's logo was a wonderful process of discovery! After sending a couple of ideas over, Susan let me know that she was looking for something soft (something on the 'watery' side), so that allowed me to narrow down my ideas, and after a few more rounds of revision, here's what we came up with:

With the mood board and color palette worked out for the branding, it was time to begin contemplating the overall design of the website. Below were a few of Susan's goals for her website:

  • To offer content speaking to end-of-life work and the same mindful outlook that applies to life at all stages

  • To encompass an overall feeling of joy, peace, hope, confidence, transcendence

  • To be spacious, inspiring, modern, and easy to navigate

  • To present herself in a vulnerable, honest way

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Et voilà! The finished product! Susan worked with a wonderful photographer to get these beautiful photographs, and that's definitely one of the reasons that this design is so stunning and clear! 

If you (or someone you know) are interested in learning more about Susan's work, you can find her right over here!


Stay cool, stay creative - 

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