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Quercus
Case Study

Strategic consulting + web design fit for an artist

Quercus

The genesis

Quercus Design is a creative design studio based in New Orleans that brings brands and institutions to life — in the form of strategy, art direction, and design.

Houston, we have a problem

Mary Louise Killen, the founder of Quercus Design, was born with an eye for design. Her background was in creative direction for agencies, but everything changed when she opened her studio and started creating for herself and her own clients. To share her creative spark and build her business, she needed a site built from the ground up by someone she could trust. That’s when she turned to hmpsn studio, and we identified these three challenges:

1

Unlike some other builds with messy and misconfigured code, this web development would be completely from scratch. It was truly a blank canvas, and we could create anything Mary Louise and her team needed. In addition, the look and feel needed to be nothing short of spectacular for this artistic client.

2

Client success stories — that’s why she opened her studio. If she could bring that much positive change to clients, it was time to take the leap! It was important to share these compelling examples of her strategy work, art direction and design. However, the nature of Quercus’ work meant each case study would need a varied layout. Mary Louise wanted to highlight certain aspects of her work for some case studies and other aspects of her work on other case studies. We needed to make sure the various sizing and differing case study lengths wouldn’t affect the user experience negatively.

3

As a new freelancer, she fully admitted that she felt unsure about what she was doing. She needed someone to walk along with her. Someone who encouraged her existing capabilities and pushed beyond her limits. Someone she could confide in and bounce ideas off of without judgment. A fellow brainstormer. A sounding board. A work best friend.

The quantum leap

From the beginning, we felt connected and in lockstep with this client. And because of that, we quickly were able to turn her challenges into realized opportunities. Check it out:

Built a new site from the ground up but still kept her artistic vision and needs intact.

Mary Louise intentionally created this to be a very design-forward build, and it sharpened our team’s web skills in a way that we still talk about to this day. Because her studio’s claim to fame was branding, the bold brand of Quercus Design had to shine crystal clear. From the curly Q logo to colorful photography, from bold colors and white space, we got it down to a fine art and executed Mary Louise’s vision perfectly.

Developed site conditional elements to display various graphics in a module format.

Because the client represented a design studio, spotlighting their portfolio in an attractive yet digestible case study format was a top priority. With the conditional elements we created, Quercus Design could add a long or a short case study without skewing the web design layout. In other words, they could add and remove graphical elements without leaving any gaps on the webpage. We created a solution that was easy on the backend user and easy on the eyes for people viewing the site.

Engaged in strategic consulting to determine freelance pain points and how we could work together to set her up for success.

She was already a badass designer who had everything she needed to be successful — she just needed someone to look her in the eyes and tell her so… with maybe a nudge in the right direction. After getting to know her and having conversations — even some over drinks, we determined that three main areas of focus were:

Capabilities deck

Without an organized value proposition, there was no way prospective clients would see how her design and strategy would absolutely transform their brands.

Proposals and invoicing

  • Improved contract verbiage
  • Specific contract inclusions
  • Sharper discretion on when to charge a project rate versus hourly

Project timelines

  • Discussed the specifics of how to run a successful project
  • Created an Asana board for her most common project type that she can duplicate and use over and over

With every client comes a story. Whether from humble beginnings or a lucky break, they create and do things that matter. Then, they come across a challenge – in web design, development, strategic consulting, project management, and the list goes on.

And then the stars align, and they find us over at hmpsn studio. Take a look at some of our client success stories and see if we already have a solution or two for you.

The scientific conclusion

Guess what? Life imitates art. Inspired by Quercus Design ourselves, we built this design website that once only existed in our mind’s eye. We built a real something out of nothing.

It’s really fun to work with other creatives who shine a little of themselves back at you. Kindred spirits create the most heartfelt work together.

She recognized that, too, and initiated a consulting retainer. We were honored.

Quercus Design went from a client to a friend in no time flat. We’re so glad to say we work with the good ones — the creative movers and shakers disrupting this big, old world.

And with a little strategic direction and business acumen, she was well on her way to a success story of her own. Being on the other side of this now, we can tell you she’s crushing the game.

Quercus

Still curious about our work with Quercus Design?

Schedule your strategy session now.

With every client comes a story. Whether from humble beginnings or a lucky break, they create and do things that matter. Then, they come across a challenge – in web design, development, strategic consulting, project management, and the list goes on.

And then the stars align, and they find us over at hmpsn studio. Take a look at some of our client success stories and see if we already have a solution or two for you.

hmpsn studio understands creative problem-solving brains. They see the value in what we struggle with, what we produce, and the challenges that arise with our value across industries and clients. Working with hmpsn studio was a reality check on the industry. They helped with inspiration and tough love to ignite a stronger belief in myself and my skillset.
Mary Louise Killen
Creative Director + Founder of Quercus Design