Hard G
A Case Study

Creating a new brand identity and online presence that targets a very niche audience.

The renown WordPress and BuddyPress developer Boone Gorges was scaling up under a new name, Hard G, providing custom WordPress and BuddyPress solutions for universities and public institutions. He was looking for a creative partner to not just design a new website and brand identity, but also to guide the strategy and user experience behind it.

What is particularly interesting about Boone’s approach to client projects is, where possible, he works with clients to release their custom developments publicly under a GPL (Open Source) license after launch for anyone to use.

The Challenge

The main goal of the project was, to create a website that successfully targets a very niche audience and generate new and relevant project leads.

Brand identity

The client was looking for a brand identity that is recognizable and reflects his personality. After initial sketches and a few rounds of revisions, the final two-tone logo was inspired by Boone’s passion for solving crossword puzzles. The geometric grid shape in the icon reminds of crossword puzzle boxes and creates the shape of the letter G. The color scheme consists of bold colors, large background images, and modern typography. All of this was collated into a style guide.

Targeting the right audience

Being involved in the project at an early stage is key to shape a cohesive strategy. It’s essential to fully understand the project goals and to speak to the niche audience we were trying to reach–universities and scholarly organizations. What problems were these organizations trying to solve? A services section that clearly lists what the company offers and communicating its approach by showcasing projects in form of case studies, would inform potential clients about the value Hard G can create for them.

Reusable content blocks

The design is modern and minimalistic, using bold colors to create a visual hierarchy and draw attention to important sections and elements, like Calls-to-Action. The two main goals of the website, communicating services to the niche audience and advocating for Open Source, needed to be front and center. I decided to solve this by creating content blocks that are modular and can be reused on different pages throughout the site. This approach helps to guide visitors to other relevant content, as well as communicate important aspects of the company’s mission – like the commitment to Open Source.

The Outcome

The client and I learned a lot about the positioning of his new company, niche, and clients in the process. It was a true collaboration and fun in the process. I stayed flexible in my approach to adapted the strategy as the project took on more shape in the process.

Having her [develop the site and] implement her own design made the process extremely smooth – she was gracious and accommodating about revisiting design concepts during the development process. – Boone Gorges, Hard G

Boone is now able to offer his services under a business name and can grow in the future. The type and quality of project inquiries Hard G receives today, are better aligned with the services the company provides. Soon after launch, multiple relevant project leads were received through the website.

My Involvement

  • branding
  • design
  • development
  • strategy
  • ux
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