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Rohan Woods School

The Rohan Woods website is a project I worked on as Creative Director at SteadyRain. Aside from creating the design itself, I also led a crew in creating an introductory video to reside in the header throughout the website. As Creative Director, I much prefer to be hands-on whenever possible, and I went to the extreme on this one... from editing DNN modules (to ensure every single one had the correct margins) to personally taking the camera on location and doing pickup shots for the video.

The first comp... loved by designers, but missing the client's vision.That's not to say that this design came easy though... regardless of a fantastic client relationship, it took us a while to get our visions to meet up. I'm still very enamored with some of my earlier attempts, but it just wasn't quite right in the client's eyes. Of course, the designer in me couldn't help but love all the little details in my design... but eventually, after 11 revisions, we arrived at bliss for everyone. While not as graphically rich, the final version is both professional and playful.

Again, this was not a case of blindly missed marks, or a client who is hard to please... it was actually an exciting, shared discovery process. I got a great deal out of working closely with the client to reach the solution, and it taught me a boatload about listening to clients better.

At first, I didn't want to take off my designer's hat and listen to them... my first inclination was to assume that my design was SO great that it was beyond them. Of course, true or not, the goal is to please the client and hopefully to walk out on the other side with something you can be proud to have poured your blood, sweat and tears into... and once I gave up my design ego, it became an invigorating process. My phone calls with the client to discuss changes were more about discussing why I made certain decisions than they were about giving me a list of changes, which I would then have to defend.

The video portion of the project took some work to pull together, and in fact, it was originally envisioned as an audio-and-photography Flash piece. Being new to the idea of working with kids, I over-prepared myself, and as it turns out, I was smart to do so.

We had hoped to get all kinds of great audio snippets of the students talking about the school and then turn them into engaging slideshow audio... but I quickly saw that the visuals were what was going to sell people, and while I still ran audio the whole time, I started shooting video of everyone. As the day progressed, we ended up shooting tons of b-roll as well as some unplanned outdoor scenes too.

Once I was able to get a working cut of the footage together, it was obvious that it made an engaging video, but thanks to an unexpected snowstorm the footage was a bit bleak. After some exterior pickup shooting on a sunny day though, and some levels adjustments to the existing footage, we were there... and I think the final product speaks for itself, as it was intended to all along.

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