Re-Design: RiverWest Acupuncture Website

A few months ago I tweaked and updated the logo of the RiverWest Acupuncture identity for the clinic owned by my good friend and acupuncturist Lisa Francolini, L.Ac. This was just the initiation of the process in rebranding the facility and an increased menu of service options.

I don't claim to be a "web designer" - in fact, with my focus on identity design, I have no desire to be a "web designer" and developer. That's a job for those really interested and skilled in those arenas. However, I do often participate in the design of the appearance of the website of a business or organization, as part of the overall brand of a client. (A previous example of such work was my creation of the new graphic "look" for VanderVeer Center as featured in my book Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands.)

The webpage design that had been used by RiverWest Acupuncture for years (above) no longer suited the needs of the business. Much of the content was outdated and the site didn't begin to define the current services being offered. With the evolution of the clinic's logo, and future redesign of all print materials, the appearance of the web presence would not longer fit the graphic image of the facility. Personally, I felt the look was very dated, had major design issues, and the proportions presented problems as viewed on most monitors.

I don't think Lisa Francolini (or most clients) had any idea of the scope of taking on such a project - and what it would require of her in fine-tuning the definition of her business. Early on, another friend, writer Greg Coyle was brought in to assist in creating the text for what would eventually become the new website. His involvement was crucial in helping the client establish a tone in conveying the message and purpose of RiverWest Acupuncture.

Knowing that the client was a very visual person, I created a rough design (above) as a template in which all proposed text could be presented. The template allowed the client to see how things might actually look on the Internet - without going through the process of creating a live website for review. At this point, Jennie Vinson of Mission First Marketing became involved in the project as the marketing and public relations representative for the clinic. She was incredibly valuable in critically assessing text and evaluating potential online flow of the site content.

A potential client conflict of interest resulted in a web designer/developer with whom I wanted to work having to decline an offer to participate in the RiverWest effort. Andrew Barden, of Periscope Creative had a previous relationship with Mission First Marketing and was suggested as a possible solution to our need. I knew he would be a great addition to the team from the moment we first met.

Barden did a fantastic job of translating the essence of the initial design - which the client liked a great deal - into a series of options for all to review. He provided excellent advice in regards to placement of elements, navigation and implementation of all client requirements. The final new RiverWest Acupuncture web presence (above) went live this week and successfully conveys a strong image of the clinic.

Any business entity considering a website redesign, or an introduction to the web, should understand that it is not necessarily a quick and easy process. At times it is necessarily to coordinate a team of professionals to create and produce the required end result. Such projects seldom are completed overnight - even for a small business. In the case of the RiverWest Acupuncture project, the collaboration of the client, a writer, a marketing/public relations specialist, a web designer/developer, the RiverWest staff and myself resulted in a website that will best serve the client, patients and potential patients for some time.

With design elements securely in place, and corporate colors clarified, I can now complete the process of designing a stationery package and collateral materials.

(Note: My book, Identity Crisis!, contains case studies from 35 designers and firms located around the world. Learn more about the book on the Identity Crisis! blog.)

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives