I spent many years working at Sandstrom Partners. During my tenure I created the 1st, 2nd and 3rd versions of their website. The goals of website changed significantly over the course 12 years and prompted the subsequent redesigns.
The first site reflected Sandstrom’s wit and distinctly different view of what a design studio’s website could be. In 1999, the web was not the the place people went to find this firm’s portfolio. Sandstrom’s portfolios were being shipped out to prospective clients in metal cases full of 4x5 transparencies. Instead, the website was a conceptual piece intended to entertain and delight visitors and give them a glimpse of the personality behind the designs seen in annuals and award shows. The site itself also won several design awards and was featured in the New Riders book, “Designing A Digital Portfolio”, in 2004.
After eight years, the site needed to serve a new purpose. Clients could not wait even a day to receive physical portfolios from FedEx. They wanted to go to the internet and determine if a design firm was worth talking to about their projects. The 2nd Sandstrom site featured beautifully photographed work samples with concise but insightful project information. The fun and quirkiness of the original site was not completely abandoned. Color of the Month got a makeover and its own URL. We developed an unconventional navigation scheme that emphasized the theme of partnership. Navigating to the case studies required the visitor to select a statement describing how OUR COMPANY might be able to help YOUR COMPANY solve specific marketing problems. The contact page was a life size photo of an office phone with links to employee emails and phone numbers, while also delivering sound board effects, stories and anecdotes. The site utilized Flash to deliver rich content and animations. The use of Flash was also one of the contributing factors that led to a redesign in 2009.
The goal of the 3rd site was usability. The site should be accessible on all browsers and not require browser plugins. It should be SEO friendly and the case studies should speak to marketers in their own terms. The work should be even bigger, brighter and heroic than previous sites. It also needed to be easier to update and expand. The new design met all these criteria and is still in place today.