First overall what we want, then each page specifically:
Our new logo is designed with a retro 1950’s American agriculture vibe. Attached are two pages taken from a 1950’s tractor brochure. We particularly like the block colours and the combination of the bold, well-spaced block san serif font and serif font as well as the margin along the top of the page. It's retro, vintage and it shows, and while there are also many negatives about that design (black on orange with no white to bring it out etc) it's a good illustration of the feel we'd like, albeit with a suitably modern twist.
Note that the business is Snowboard Review, but the new logo introduces the concept of the SB-RV term. They can be used interchangeably where appropriate. The colours are okay (green and orange) but we are open to changes.
What are we looking for?
* A visually appealing, bold design - we've worked hard to produce what we think is a stunning logo and we want a site to match, and of course complement the logo. Hopefully the logo does a great deal to tell you what we like and the type of design we'd be keen on and the colours to use, but as we have recently completed it we are very keen to make it front and center, not literally, of our web design. Use blocks of colour, space and typography to create something that looks great. The logo could lend itself to being represented on different sections in different colours. Not a requirement, but not something we’d be turned off by either.
* To look cool! It's shallow, but hey, aren't most snowboarders? ;-) On a serious note, a certain quality of execution and fashion-’ability‘ is key for us to be able to take the site where we think it could go. The logo is the start of that process, and the rest of the design and the remaining 98% of the page space needs to stack up and complement.
* A search engine friendly mix of typography that can be rendered by a browser and images also featuring text.
* Visually appealing browser rendered text that still looks good when viewed on the average users PC which doesn't have the aesthetically pleasing smoothed fonts of a Mac or similar.
* To underscore that we are a magazine. Reviews are just one part of what we offer, so the variety of information offered by a magazine, and it's online counterpart is an important feel we want to convey. We want this site to say professional and informed, not bedroom and blogger.
* A designer, not just someone who can use Photoshop.
* As much time spent on the inner page concepts as the homepage. Our regular readers come to the homepage more than the bulk of our visitors, who come from search engine results typically to a specific board review page or a forum thread page, therefore in order to convert these users to regular readers, we need to make an impact on the inner page. The homepage is important for traditional and practical reasons, but most readers are going to see an inner page, and your design, first.
* If it fits into something like getskeleton.com or the 960gs, and you know what they mean, so much the better.
5 pages in total – we’d like submissions for the homepage initially, and we’ll ask you to submit further pages if we like your homepage design. We are not looking to waste anyone’s time but if you want to have a stab at the board review page at the same time as the homepage then that is fine.
Content wise, we already have most of what we want to promote on the homepage (and all other pages) so it's a redesign and a reformatting/repositioning job as appropriate. For the homepage we'll list what we want on the page, and how it should be prioritised (in descending order).
• Site navigation menu – Home, TV, Snowboard Guide, Snowboard Forum, Board Selecta, Popular Boards
• Snowboard-Review.com/TV with embedded (Vimeo) player (incorporating dedicated logo per current site). Here the size of the player is up to you - but I think we feel it could be bugger than it currently is.
• Featured articles, with thumbnail x 4 (happy to increase/decrease thumb size from current for existing and future articles)
• News & Blog (8-10 latest posts)
• Latest forum topics
• Social media share/like/+1's etc
• Unique Snowboard-Review.com branding space for competitions, one offs, offers etc etc which warrant a bigger space than one of the featured articles. This space should just disappear when there is no current promotion, but not break the overall look. It can be purely an image, or a combination of user definable text and images. Use a Snowboard giveaway as an example, with a call to action of "Click here to enter…" or similar.
• Top 10 snowboards
• Reviews by brand (a list of board brands)
It should also have space for a 728x90 horizontal banner, and a 160x600 vertical banner which I have not prioritised and this will need to fit general convention.
Outside of the homepage, the priorities remain the same when we are dealing with consistent navigation, and modules which promote other areas of the site. E.g. having the latest forum topics a consistent module available or all or most pages.
We are working hard fostering our community, and encouraging people to participate, so the forum is a very important page for us even if a forum is a little old school. We need a thread page designed primarily because for many this will be the main point of entry, but we'll transfer the core design to the main forum overview page. Our forums are "standard" so you know what is required aside from a standardised navigation. In our current design, we have the main site and the forum as two visually distinct properties, but we do not want that to continue.
Like the homepage, space for a 728x90 horizontal banner, and a 160x600 vertical banner.
The Board Review page is the bones of the site - these pages allow us to do everything else and are of massive importance. One snowboard per page, with some essential info, an introduction, possibly an on snow test from us, and finally an image (550px high with a white background). Completing the page is the comments section. If the snowboard has a dedicated video review in Snowboard-Review.com/TV then we link to it.
If the Snowboard has been reviewed by us personally (we do 50-100 boards a year) there is a “seal” to indicate. We want to keep that concept, but we are not bothered if it’s a seal – it could equally use the logo. We’d also like to expand into our “picks” in a similar fashion, so we could have a badge to indicate it’s our “Jib board of the Year”.
You'll notice on a current page, a number of (rather crass) icons are associated with each board depending on its characteristics, but these vary from board to board so follows a list. We are keen to continue with this, albeit with significantly vamped up icons for it.
• Recommended for: rails, park, halfpipe, freeride, Big mountain
• Cost: low, medium, high, very high
• Width: mid-wide, wide
• Profile: camber, zero camber, rocker, hybrid
• Shape: twin, directional twin, directional, freeride specific
• Green construction
• Female specific
This page needs space for a 728x90 horizontal banner, a 160x600 vertical banner, and a 300x250 banner.
The two other pages we want designed are firstly the snowboard-review.com/tv homepage with its specific logo, loosely based on the current page in terms of content, and secondly, the brand page for each manufacturer where every board is listed, e.g. http://www.snowboard-review.com/sno…ews/c/apo/