Created a newsletter template in iA Writer. Adding the standard header “weather report” and footer copy that goes in all the newsletter, it feels better some how. Like I’m writing the real newsletter itself, not just paragraphs that then get copied into Mailchimp later.
I’m not super good at being on Instagram, but I know it’s a powerful place for potential clients to discover us and to share our work. Use an app called Later to schedule posts in advance. Just scheduled through the end of this year!
I’ve re-started this newsletter a handful of times, but this time feels like it’s gonna stick. Sent out a big update today and got lots of positive responses. Starts w/ weather report of sorts inspired by @internetvin to ground us, deeper reflections and written out ideas, handful of links at the bottom and the reflective prompt. More human, more from a person (me) and not a business.
After some solid feedback from @sloane and Ben today, reworked the site footer into groupings. Feels more calm since you can navigate bit easier and each column has a little heading.
This also allowed the main top menu to be just three links to the pages that focus on the real thing Plantkind has to offer [landscape design] and let’s the footer contain the rest of the pages.
Don’t feel like having a full portfolio section on the site is the right move, been just sending people to Instagram, but this “Photo Gallery” feels like a fun middle ground. Bit more customizable compared to Instagram, and more chill than a full portfolio.
Feeling into this little pop up I made for the site. It’s appears if you click the link “Smaller Budget?”. Want to make sure potential clients still reach out so I can support gardeners in the community and send folks their way too!
Moving toward a Welcome pop up, instead of the whole welcome page. Been thinking about when you go on a hike and there is the big display board with the map and trail info at the start, how you can still see the trail ahead of you. Think the full welcome page was a little confusing, here you can see the site behind it and have a better sense of where you are heading.
Built out the home page structure in Squarespace. Happy with how it’s coming together so far. Need’s some tweaks still.
Workshopped the Welcome page concept with my friend Ben, and made some edits to make it a bit more clean.
Kinda stuck on the “Site Map” concept. This would be a pop up overlay. Going to put on the back burner for now, and try a bit more traditional navigation. Think it’s a cool concept, but might cause more confusion for visitors than it’s worth at this point. Will circle back in the future.
Put together the “Learning Hub” page today. Excited to see this all together.
As part of the “Vision” page on the site, linking to the main Futureland journals to share more behind the scenes ✨
Been using a couple of these icons from the Noun Project as part of Plantkind’s brand. Just subtle touches, always pretty small size. Finally got them all organized and sized properly for retina screens too. Thinking that each newsletter will have a different one at the top.
Discovered some very happy accidents when I looked at the site on my phone. Since I kinda hacked together a bit how the sub-navigation and footer links display on desktop, on mobile they were all scattered like this. The “Site Map” which is only on desktop will have a scattered feel to it, so it’s kinda nice that you still get some hints of that on mobile. Not gonna change a thing. Never plant in straight lines, ha 🌼
Had to mess around with a tiny bit of custom CSS and felt really good that I figured it out quickly. Squarespace is so funky sometimes, had to hide some things on the desktop view, but keep them in the mobile menu. Decided against multi-level mobile navigation with folders leading to sub-pages inside, and put all the pages on the same screen. Think this works for now, but as more pages are added in the future will probably break.
Built out a little sub-navigation for the About pages. Trying not to be too fussy since I’m constricted by what Squarespace can do combined with my rusty graphic design skills. Italics and the down arrow hopefully are enough to indicate where you are.
Made the guestbook for the site. It’s linked to in the footer, and on the “Thank You for Visiting” page. Feel like I need a better work than “Submit”, will think about this more, or if you have any ideas.
Updated the footer for the website, feeling pretty good about it. Kinda tall in height, but not sure if that’s really an issue. The footer links are mostly focused on more “utility” pages, and keeping the majority of navigation in the main Site Map / Menu.
With a welcome page, playing around with the idea of an exit page that says “Thank You for Visiting”. Not sure how many folks will end up here, but feels fun. Think it will link in the footer, where it says “You’ve reached the bottom of this website, maybe it’s time to go outside?"
Finished writing all the content for the website update. Most writing happened in iA Writer but moved to this folder since it will be easier to get some feedback from @sloane with comments and editing suggestions in Google Docs.
Started building out a Resource Center on Notion, wanted to get a lot further but going to keep it pretty basic for now. Added a note that a bunch more is coming soon. Doesn’t feel like a good focus for this week, but the seed is planted.
Think I finanlly got the footer of the newsletter to a good point. Suprising how difficult it is to make it seem simple, human, and chill. While getting in all the information that I wanted to communicate.
Solid little writing session this morning. Wrote the captions for the “Design Process” slideshow for the website update.
Starting building out the Plantkind library on Readng. Working toward creating more online resoruces to de-mystify gardening and make it more accessible.
Been writing creative prompts to help us all connect more with our gardens and the natural world. They’re shared with each newsletter. Organized them today into Are.na which will serve as the archive of them moving forward. Feels nice to see them all together and out of the context of the newsletter.
Late night session, moved to the kitchen table to mix it up, plus headphones and candle. Took into consideration @sloane feedback of not being into pop ups, decided to explore the idea of a full on Welcome page for the website, that you have to pass through to get to the site. The Aster is actually a little video on loop which I think makes the site feel more alive.
I'm not sure if this is the right move, but conceptually it feels aligned with what I'm going for. Into the idea of someone having to [ Enter → ] the space. Digging deeper to get the information they want, and not handing it all to them right away.
Probably breaks all best practices of the internet with clear CTA buttons, the goal of high conversion rates, and one sentence elevator pitches that try to communicate everything, but no one has hired me to design a website for the last decade and I design gardens now, ha
Also, have been playing around with this idea of a seasonal weather report to help ground us when we're in a digital space, originally inspired by @internetvin weather reports at the start of his voice message / memo updates.
Finally felt comfortable moving some pixels around, knowing the direction I was headed in. Without doing all the thinking, research, and sketching I don’t think I’d get very far with the real design of the site.
Some of the main ideas I’ve been exploring seem to have come together today! Thinking through the website as space that you enter [with a welcome pop up], one that has a site map to for navigation [like each garden project has a site map], home page that highlights what there is to see [like the what’s in bloom welcome display at a botanical garden], and a clear personable offering [the sales page].
Started organizing the structure of the site even more today, got a lot of clarity. Can never really just design in a design program and then move to the real verion, like that it’s already a site you can click through a bit, feels real.
Set up the home for the newsletters to live, think the idea of having an archive like this is appealing since it also feels like a blog on the site. Sign up form at the top is the main call to action so you can get future updates.
Always resistant to Squarespace having used more fluid platforms in the past like Cargo and Wordpress, compared to the funky way of doing things here. But seems like they've added some nice new features. Did lots of research and experimenting this afternoon.
Re-structuring some content and hopefully some special touches to the website to make it feel more intentional and alive.
Added "Reflections and updates on website ⤵︎" on Instagram to send people to read past newsletters and sign up. Not super into Instagram these days and it currently is set up to auto-publish photographs. So wanted to point people to the newsletter where things are going to be happening for real (thoughts, learning, behind the scenes, connection).
Working on a potential new re-design of the website. Had to get off the computer as I felt I was going in circles. Attempting to have the site design mirror the more "spatial" garden design process. Stepping away for the weekend, since I've been going to the studio Monday thru Friday for the last two weeks, looking forward to re-visiting next week.
In the process of clearing out all the photos I've saved on Instagram, moved some over to start this collection on Are.na of people gardening and being w/ plants.
While the current version of my business is to design gardens for people, I'm scheming a future version of helping people design their own spaces and garden more themselves. Seeing all these photos together, feels like a super exciting vision of the future, of us all gardening even more together.
Especially into the kids hanging in gardens. Going to keep adding here and put together a written vision statement of sorts to go with the visual collection.
More writing today, and structuring content and ideas. More and more of the docs are reaching their final state for now, before @sloane starts copy-editing, seeing the emoji check mark has been a helpful signal.
Super solid writing session this morning, combination of some free flowing and adding more structure / cleaning up previous free flow sessions. Working on a series of newsletters and updates to our website.
Working on a reboot of the Plantkind newsletter, and printed out some of the newsletters I felt most drawn to in order to get better sense, and the mockup of my design. Printed out some Kinopio boards that map out some new ideas. Trying to use the laser printer and wall space more to get off the computer for a bit.
Playing around w/ some new footer copy that feels more conversational and not so formal.
Sketched out some ideas for a potential new website re-design on paper, something haven't done that much recently. Was getting a bit overwhelmed on the computer, so felt good to grab a pencil.