Little Dame Website

Little Dame Website

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At the end of last year, Little Dame opened up shop and I was fortunate enough to be there alongside the rad lady shop owners and be part of the process as Little Dame began to form. As the feminist shop on the block filled with weird taxidermy, books, zines, prints, and pins from artists near and far—Little Dame has started to become the cool place to meet other like minded people, while supporting artists in the process. Now offering classes and pop-up gallery shows, the shop has grown quickly within their opening year (with so much more to come)—it only made sense we got the site up and running.

I was given the keys, in the sense, and was able to start working on the online shop after they settled in. With it being my first e-commerce experience working solo as opposed to a single unit on a team with many hands, I learned a lot throughout the entire process that I will take with me moving forward for web design projects to come, so I figured I'd just share a few of them. A little about the website itself:

Platform: Shopify
Theme: Brooklyn
Site type: E-Commerce for a small shop. Few quantities of each product. Minimal variants.
Typography: Mr. Eaves to be consistent w/brand. Living dangerously here, I know, as it isn't a websafe font, but it also isn't open sans either…

Challenges: One of the main challenges was learning a new platform as I went along, and ultimately being fully responsible for the website—as a graphic designer who definitely is not a developer, this was slightly terrifying. Fortunately, working on the site was easier than expected since Shopify has a beautiful user friendly interface that is pretty light and very flexible in comparison to both Wordpress and Squarespace. Though Squarespace is technically easier to use, it is heavy and slow with all of the additional javascript, and is ultimately limiting with little to no access to the code base for each individual page (I haven't explored full developer mode yet for obvious reasons, but it would be interesting to see how much freedom they allow you). For Shopify, I had access to every page and feature that was needed, I just had to learn the basics of liquid to get a sense of how the structures worked—you can get by without attempting to learn it, you just need to read the blocks and not fear the code. At the same time, I didn't want to attempt anything too complex I wouldn't have time to fix later, especially when there are breakpoints to consider. 

Another challenge in terms of considering the design, was the overall product imagery and keeping the process between the shop owners and I realistic. They take photos of the new products that are added to the shop, send them to me for the time being, along with the product and artist info, then I do my thing and update the site. This process can easily be transferred over to them later on, which is another important design consideration. With that, I needed to make the product images they took on their phone work without spending the extra time editing each individual photo. The photos were a huge consideration for the design of the website, low-fi, and minimal, with touches of intentional imperfection that work. But with that said, now that the site is designed the way it is, if the product photos happen to improve with consistent lighting and background to bump up the product a bit, it certainly wouldn't hurt anything.

 

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Things I Learned: Shopify is a great platform, but it can't do everything—well, at least I can't make it do everything yet. I realized I should probably stop talking shit and improve at least some of my coding capabilities, when I can, so I don't have to deal with as many frustrations along the way and can make each website more flexible and unique to the client. Like yeah, it was easy to talk shit and make fun of nerds, especially after working around them for a few years…I think I at least earned that right…but if I look past all that bullshit and view it as another tool that will help me produce the vision in my head, rather than be limited to a platform template, it's probably a healthier mindset. In fact, I did use to think like this before I began to despise the environment I was in. It's okay, there are no adult children on scooters in sight here to make a bitch face at. It's all fine.

Another thing I was reminded of during this design process, is how quickly we grow and improve as designers and individuals, so much that it's necessary to step away for a bit to allow ourselves time to reflect rather than just finish something as quickly as possible. Is this the best solution, or just the most obvious, easiest, and most conventional? This is obvious in itself, yeah, and I know not every project has this luxury (we might not even care about some of them enough to allow ourselves the extra time to do so), we're all just trying do the best we can under the various circumstances, but if it seems too easy, it's probably because we didn't fully deconstruct it in the first place. The original Little Dame site looked nothing like what it launched as (there are still things I'd like to modify)—I was just simply filling in the template with fake product photos and putting the logo in assuming it would work, until I took it apart and added real product photos and descriptions, because you can't really design legitimately without content either.

There's so much more to say here, but I will keep it somewhat short as I will be writing about the other two soon-ish. In the meantime:

Explore the Little Dame website and buy cool shit!

 



 

Wait Until Dark

Wait Until Dark

Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones