Responses by Jason Harvey; art director, designer and developer; Somefolk.
Background: Dominique Sire teaches her students to discover and master the vast landscapes of their inner worlds through group workshops, private sessions and talks globally. I was approached by the team with the aim of creating a visually engaging e-commerce course platform, where her teachings could reach more students and create an online community.
Design core: When I was initially approached, Dominique made it clear that the site needed to be visually driven and creative-led. Typically, competitors within the space tend to take a more traditionally professional, clinical approach, which often loses connection with the more approachable side of the work. My mission was to create something that made the user emotionally invest in Dominique’s work so that they can, in return, invest in their own development.
While the goal was to become a disruptor in the space, the main issue was that the Dominique Sire brand had no visual identity or assets of any kind. We decided to extend the design phase to include a more in-depth discovery period and brand workshop, culminating in the development of a cohesive visual identity from a logo and typographic systems to the tone of voice. Since imagery was scarce and Dominique’s work is inspired by the four classical elements—air, water, earth and fire—we steered the art direction to rely heavily on a strong earthy color palette and a combination of static and animated gradients to bring a sense of movement and fluidity. We also used MidJourney to create a selection of abstract texture images from nature to work as background elements.
Challenges: Aside from the challenges of creating the visual brand, the main technical challenge was how to create an online course platform and e-commerce store that synced seamlessly on a technology not yet built for this purpose. The site was built on Webflow, which is great for promotional sites and simple e-commerce stores, but the Memberships side is still very new and restrictive. It took a lot of planning to figure out the intricacies of where Webflow memberships fell short and how I could work around it to find solutions that were not only user-friendly on the front end but also client-friendly on the back end.
Navigation structure: Fortunately, the sitemap was quite concise, which helped keep the navigation free of clutter and allowed for a clear hierarchy of information. We split the main navigation into two sections on desktop, with the core pages house on the left and the more administrative calls-to-action (CTAs) on the right. A similar split was created in the mobile burger menu through typographic hierarchy.
While the homepage focuses on a storytelling flow that introduces Dominique and her work to the audience, CTAs to key pages throughout the flow help streamline users’ journeys with the ultimate aim of funneling potential customers to the course pages. When users are logged in, a My Account button becomes visible in the main navigation, giving them easy access to their account information and quicklinks to any courses they’ve purchased through the store. On both the course content side and the product side, everything is contained within the one website, meaning that users don’t have to leave the site to go to third-party course platforms.