The conception of this years Holiday Gift Garage began already in the beginning of August. In previous years we have used templates that focused on the grid, but overall became simple and standard. This year we wanted to design something more exciting, with a bit more of an editorial approach that played with hierarchy more than the previous design.
I went to the drawing board, conscious of potential limitations with development and pulled inspiration from a variety of sites. Particularly I was intrigued by Burton and Swell and how they arranged their lifestyle imagery while still abiding to the grid. Below are the rough mocks I began with.
I worked back and forth with our Art Director and compared mocks. We tossed ideas around and essentially scrapped most of our initial ideas to really break away from the generic grid and what we have done in the past. We began looking at a variety of other retailers and the way they represent collections of products and I believe we landed somewhere very exciting. Of course all the while, we were very conscious of how our new layout would be translated from desktop to mobile versions.
There was a lot of sketching and designing done before we had a finalized list of categories and products. While this was at times was a complicated guessing game, it did allow for pure creativity and innovation. Eventually we got all of the pieces we needed from our Merchandise team and the copy and ticket requests rolled in from the Marketing team. Once we had our approved ideas sketched out in Photoshop, we grouped up with the web development team to make sure our designs would be possible. With a few tweaks needed, we were set.
Because this Holiday Gift Garage would span across our two stores: ExtremeTerrain.com and AmericanMuscle.com, we needed more hands to get it all completed. I essentially worked through ExtremeTerrain's layout from conception to completion. AmericanMuscle mirrored the layout and I managed to create the finalized template we would need for slicing and passed it on to another designer to crank out the generational imagery. Other aspects included hero banner composites which were primarily handled by the other designer and became our future catalog covers. Logos for each Holiday Gift Garage were tweaked and geared towards their respective brands. All in all this beast of a project required a ton of hands and elbow grease to get it to where it is now. Below are what the two garages look like that went live today.
A lot of work went into the conception part of this process, and I believe it really shows in the final product. At times designers get into a production mode and focus on efficiency rather than expanding upon creativity, so looking back, this was a refreshing method of design.
View the Gift Garages here: ExtremeTerrain.com & AmericanMuscle.com