23rd July 2020

An insight into the new Pixel Kicks website

It’s been almost a month since we launched our new website, and with it, a fresh brand image for Pixel Kicks.

As you’ll learn further down this post, every member of our team played a part in bringing our new site together; but to help give those interested a bit of an insight into the project, I thought I’d pick the brains of three colleagues in particular.

In this Q&A style article I chat to Managing Director, Chris Buckley, Head of Design, Dan Parr and Senior Web Developer, Will Crawford.

We reflect on our new website as an overall project, discussing why now was the right time for a relaunch, as well as the processes behind the redesign and subsequent redevelopment of the website you’re currently enjoying.


Our MD Chris photographed in our second office within Huckletree Manchester

It’s taken a long time to build a team like we have now, and I wanted everyone to feel like they had a part to play in the project.”

 

We’d had our previous website for some time and the homepage in particular was something we had all grown to love – to the point where we’ve even had it printed as a mural in our office! What was the thinking behind the need for the new website and company image. And why now, Chris?

I’m not sure where the time has actually gone but Pixel Kicks is nearing 10 years of age now.

Although we loved our old identity and what it’s brought to us over the past four years, we just felt that the time was right for a new appearance that compliment the evolution and growth of the company. All of those elements that we loved about our original identity, like the pixelation and the playfulness, we’ve kept in some capacity; but at the same time tried to mature our brand a little.

I’m very happy with the way our brand comes across now, not only on the new site, but across our social media accounts and our planned print media for the second half of 2020.

It’s been a real team effort to get our new website to where we want it to be. Talk us through the reasoning behind making sure everyone was involved in the project?

This was something I was keen on from the beginning. Literally, the whole team were given tasks to work on. From the initial conception or the design and our new branding, right through to the planning and writing of the content copywriting, and the subsequent marketing and launch campaign.

It’s taken a long time to build a team like we have now, and I wanted everyone to feel like they had a part to play in the project.  

The result is something that everyone can feel proud of, knowing that they played their part in the future of Pixel Kicks.

Any particular areas of the site you’re most pleased with?

On an aesthetic level I like the contrast of the darker colour scheme utilised on the homepage against the lighter feel on the internal pages. There’s also a lot of micro-interactions and UI elements that I feel really work, lifting the whole site and stopping it from feeling flat.  This is something that our web team believe is so important in 2020, as typical website experiences mature and develops.

Content-wise, I love our portfolio and case study sections with their large imagery, and this is an area which we’ll be building on and improving with more video content to come.

We also spent a lot of time on a technical level, assessing the SEO performance of the previous site across a large array of search terms. Inbound marketing is extremely important to us so it’s great to report that 4 weeks in, rankings have not just remained stable, but we’ve actually seen an improvement across the board.


dan parr pixel kicks head of design brainstorm exercise

“I’d like to think we’re well positioned to keep winning exciting projects with this new identity in place.”

 

Dan, the new Pixel Kicks website has been live for a couple of weeks now, but the project is almost a year old for us. You’ve been there since the conception in terms of the design, talk us through the process of the rebrand and subsequent website creation.

When I started at Pixel Kicks almost a year ago Chris was really keen to give the brand a fresh new look. His aim was to portray the company in a new way, but it was important to keep the soul of Pixel Kicks alive and not lose its current identity as it evolved.

When I started on the rebrand a few months later (working on it between client work which obviously took priority) I started by looking at what people recognised as our logo, which was our. X icon. Simplifying it down to a single pixel and then building it back up again, I created a completely bespoke brand marque that would still be recognisable to our clients, but new and much more dynamic.

With these new pixel building blocks the identity began to take shape and it became quite a natural progression from there. The shapes from the logo made it really transferrable and playful, we can do things like animate the logo up from a single square which I think is quite unique.

This also made it really easy to use across the many digital platforms we work with, so when it came to look at our new website it was just a matter of using this brand style and applying it in some interesting new ways.

I suppose it’s the same with any of our client projects, but it must be great to finally see the new image for Pixel Kicks out there and being pushed across social platforms. Can you give us a bit of an insight into the changes we’ve made, and the reasoning behind some of the shifts in identity?

Yeah, it’s great when you’ve spent so much time on a project to finally see it out there doing its thing, especially with all the great feedback we have had after launching it. This is just the start though, and we will keep developing the brand; refining how we use the guidelines as we apply them to different types of content and formats.

One of the main benefits of the new brand style is the consistency we are beginning to sew into the content we’re putting out there ourselves. Our tone of voice has changed as a company and I like how we are starting to build on the brand’s recognition.

Part of the reason for the new identity was to help us grow and further establish ourselves, building on the work that Chris and the team have put in so far. I’d like to think we’re well positioned to keep winning exciting projects with this new identity in place.

Will has done a fantastic job in bringing your vision for the new website to life. Are there any areas of the website that you’re particularly buzzing with?

It’s been a really enjoyable process working with Will and the rest of the team to bring the website to life. As Chris says, we’ve all had a part to play in it which I think is something that’s really beneficial on a project like this as we all gain a sense of ownership and responsibility.

There are quite a few things I wanted to improve with the new site but it’s the menu system that works best for me I think. It’s the little touches that really help make it stand out, such as the animation of the blocks, the retro style of the buttons and making our case studies and portfolio entries far more prominent on each page.

We don’t want to keep this new identity strictly digital, any plans to apply the branding to some products? I’d love a hoodie to be honest.

There will be a whole range of products for the team, hoodies also being a top priority, as well as sustainable coffee cups, tote bags, stationery… the lot! I’m really looking forward to getting it all made and using some of the items in our day to day life at Pixel Kicks.

It’s definitely one of my favourite things about rebranding a company.


will crawford designer at pixel kicks

I asked Dan about how he approached our rebrand and the design aspect of the project so by the same token, what sort of approach did you have to come with in terms of developing the site?

All of the code had to be using the latest standards and technologies. If we’re not building our own site in the best possible way, then who’s going to pay us to make a site for them? We paid particular attention to the responsiveness of the website across a multitude of devices, something we highlighted as a key area of improvement when we began the redevelopment project.

Loading speeds had to be taken into account, too. It seems as though Google get stricter with their tests every year so this was another consideration that went into the approach. If the site doesn’t load well then we’re going to get bouncing visitors, and that will negatively impact our SEO.

Finally, there’s a lot of attention to detail here. There are loads of small moving parts and subtle functionality at play here so to accurately bring Dan’s vision to life I had to make sure everything worked 100% the way he intended.

You’ve been with us for over six months now and the new Pixel Kicks website has been one of many projects, but it’s definitely had a lot of attention from yourself. Were there any areas of the site that were particularly difficult to build?

Where we are right now, the blog section!

I’ve built a lot of functionality into the back end of the site, particularly in terms of how the team can not only categorise the content in the blog section, but also make their posts prominent across the rest of the site by utilising the feature block that has been developed. On the front end, we’ve completely revitalised how users can searching through our wealth of content. Blog posts are now categories into digital topics for browsing ease.

Another challenging task was the migration of the posts from the previous Pixel Kicks site to the new one. Some of our articles earn us really valuable organic traffic and they rank highly for key search terms, so it was vital that we didn’t mess anything up there.

I know we’re always looking to add to what we’ve got, are there any plans to add additional areas of functionalities to the site in the future?

Well, we’re certainly looking to add a few extra bits of polish to the site in the form of animations. Back on the point of our blog area again, we’re also looking to add a filter option to further improve how users interact with our site content.

Internally, there are also a few tools we’ll be looking to develop for the team to use as part of our processes.

For our clients, we are also laying out a plan to build a hub of information that answers the questions we are most frequently asked. For example, a resource detailing how to clear your browser cache.

Andy Flynn

By Andy Flynn

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