Design Work · Helpful Things

Client Work: Veronica Varos, Swashed and Folded

Redesigning the website and branding of Pittsburgh-based Wedding and Portrait Photographer Veronica Varos

Veronica first got in touch last year, and it was clear from the first couple of emails how much enthusiasm and creativity she was going to bring to the process. We started off with the usual Pinterest pinning spree which soon gave rise to a very distinct design direction, tending towards watercolour washes, strong typographic flourishes and a fondness for ‘found’ textures. This was balanced by a preference for clean and uncluttered layouts, which gave a clear initial design direction. Veronica also put together a highly detailed and very helpful wish-list, both of features and design preferences. As a result the first draft design needed very few tweaks before taking final shape…

The homepage features a slideshow pulled automatically from the ‘featured image’ of each featured blog post, held in place by some ageing sticky tape. A similar effect is used on the gallery pages, with the slideshow’s navigation scribbled on a couple of bits of paper tape to add to the vintage detailing.

To stop things slipping too far into scrapbooking territory the static site-links at the bottom of each page were given a contemporary ‘circles-and-typography’ overhaul, with each link effectively getting its own logo.

Finally, the blog posts themselves got an unconventional treatment, avoiding the more obvious layout options in favour of a magazine-inspired two-column shape. The essential information stays put on the left as you scroll down the page, meaning visitors always know exactly what they’re looking at.

This was then capped off at the bottom with a trio of calls to action, scribbled on paper tape to keep a visual link back to other parts of the site.

Thanks to Veronica for being great fun to work with on this commission. If you’d like to see more of her work head on over to her site at


Website: WordPress custom theme development

Fonts: Carolyna Pro Black, Mensch Thin, Brandon Grotesque, Sorts Mill Goudy

Design Work · Helpful Things

Good enough to eat? Honeywell Bakes website and store

Following on from designing the logo, the Honeywell Bakes website made its debut at the end of last year, complete with gingerbready festive goodness!

Having already worked with Rosie and Rebecca from Honeywell Bakes on their logo, I had a pretty good idea of the sort of thing they were after with their website… Friendly, a little bit quirky, a distinctive personality and lots of great big photos (courtesy of Rebecca) showing the sisters’ baking skills off to the max. Add to that a hand-drawn street scene from the pen of Lydia of Hand Drawn Maps and the site almost designed itself!

A mix-and-match selection of hand-drawn fonts were chosen to give a friendly and welcoming face to the site, along with a few choice doodles.

The full-width gallery gave Rebecca’s fantastic photos plenty of room to shine, with editable captions styled to complement the rest of the site.

One of the main requirements was that people could order online through the site, so WordPress Ecommerce was set up, styled to fit with the rest of the site, and filled up with a range of cookies, cakes and personalised baked gifts.

Of course no WordPress-based website would be complete without a blog, and Honeywell Bakes is no exception with recipes, hints and tips from the girls, along with Facebook and Pinterest feeds, social sharing links and picture-by-picture pinning if you spot something you like!

Has that got your mouth watering? Then head over to the Honeywell Bakes website for more biscuity treats!


Website: WordPress custom theme with WordPress Ecommerce plugin

Design: Swash and Fold

Illustration: Lydia Bevan at Hand Drawn Maps

Fonts: Taluhla, Travel Diary, Carrotflower

Design Work · Helpful Things

Client Work: Website & WordPress Redesign

David Gordon Photography, Swashed and Folded

It’s never easy to get your website right first time. Often your initial online presence is a means to an end – a way of getting your business on the web quickly, rather than being a true representation of your brand or outlook. David got in touch with exactly this issue… His blog did a perfectly adequate job of acting as a shop window for his photos, but it lacked a personal touch.

The site suffered from the limitations of the template, and David didn’t have the web skills necessary to pull things into shape himself. What David needed was someone to help him bring the site up to date with a more contemporary look-and-feel, and also to give everything a more welcoming, friendly approach. Oh, and if we could make it a bit easier to keep on top of updating the blog along the way, then that would be a bonus!

After a few lengthy emails where we explored exactly what David wanted from the site, it was to time once again to turn to Pinterest. David put an inspiration board together, which contained some lovely examples of the sort of thing he was drawn to, and we began to iterate some designs. After a couple of revisions we ended up with a design that seemed to tick all the boxes, with a mixture of contemporary textures, vintage styling and a classic layout. The central area on the homepage is a fully customisable slideshow, with typography-rich headings. Below this we opted for a feed of four featured blog posts, and a detailed footer area giving ready access to David’s contact details, Facebook and Google business page.

The blog pages were given a similar treatment, setting up some simple and effective styles for headings, comment boxes, form elements and other items. This means David can create new blog posts and pages in future, confident that they will all share a consistent style.

The “About Me” page is always a difficult one to get right. It’s your chance to tell the world not only how you work professionally, but to give them an insight into the person behind the name… And if that means sharing with the world your fifteen minutes of fame at the hand of the Countdown clock, then all the better!

Finally we had a look at David’s pricing page. Like many photographers he offers a range of pricing options for prospective clients, which meant the old page had ended up quite complex, and confusing for readers. To tackle this we went for a column-based layout, echoing the look-and-feel of the other page elements. With this new layout, couples can see at a glance the full range of options available, and make a more informed decision when choosing the package they wish to go for. All of which means better communication with prospective clients, which can only be a good thing!

The site is live right now at, so why not take a look for yourself and see what you think!


Platform: WordPress self-hosted blog with custom theme
Fonts: Oswald (Google Webfonts), Six Caps (Google Webfonts), Proxima Nova, Prenton Ultra Condensed