Bernadette Hunter, a professional counselor, was referred to me when she was seeking a designer to create a sleeve for her personal CD project, “True Colors,” a collection of songs for clients who experienced trauma.

The CD was a deeply personal and monumental achievement for her, so she wanted to work with a designer who was patient and willing to collaborate with her.

The Concept

We began the CD sleeve design by learning about her ideal audience, what she wanted to communicate to them, and how they currently perceive her. I listed her most compelling thoughts, and shared the attributes that would best influence visuals. After Bernadette approved them, that list guided our color choices, patterns, tone, and manner.

I researched the potential CD environment, and shared examples of designs that could have presence in her category. She chose one style that best matched her ideal audience.

We then evaluated images that resonated deeply with her. We referred to her approved attributes to guide us and we determined a best match.

The Photo Shoot

We initially planned to use the portraits she had on file. Once we discovered they were not recent enough, nor were the best quality for reproduction, I recommended she hire a professional photographer to take her picture. I coordinated the effort and art directed the shoot. After a 1-1/2-hour session, we approved five images; one which was the most candid and warm from the session.

Design Exploration

Bernadette chose a design feel from examples we reviewed together. She chose a cover photo, then chose a different one...with her final choice I explored and presented designs for her review and approval. She approved a design, proof-reading followed, and minor changes were made. Final files were sent to the printer.

The CD Label

Her producer overlooked a label design on the CD itself and I recommended we develop one. The producer suggested we use only one color, citing budget concerns. I posed the question, “How much area can the design cover on the face of the CD?” With the whole face open for printing, I created the leaf graphic from the cover photo and designed the label.

case study Bernadette Hunter stylescape

Bernadette’s brand and the website

The CD design gave me insights into Bernadette and why she created her CD, but there was still more to know to develop her brand, and ultimately her music website. I tabbed Patrick Hutchins, a strategic, conceptual copywriter, to collaborate with us. Two, 45-minute interview-meetings gave us time to learn her story, her client’s stories, and how they "see" her.

I developed a design guide—the interviews, distilled down, revealed design clues for tone, manner, style, color. To simplify and expedite the website-build process, we explored web templates containing the functionality she needed. A video-conference call allowed us to demonstrate her users' experience of the templates, and she could see, in real time, how they functioned.

I created her wesite design using the brand elements we identified and used a template's architecture. Bernadette approved the design, writing, “First I want to say it looks so great.”

Bernadette Hunter website home page