Client site relaunch: J Compton Gallery


J Compton Gallery home page screenshot

We’ve just redesigned the online gallery for our client Jean Compton. Jean deals in Americana, folk art, and antique dolls and toys, and her website is both a way to connect with clients and prospects and a showcase for the fascinating objects she finds.

We had created her original website a few years ago, and Jean wanted to keep the same overall look but create new liveliness on the home page of the site. We suggested using a slideshow that features images of items in the gallery along with Jean’s detailed and engaging descriptions.

We also thought we could streamline the underlying architecture of the gallery, using WordPress’s new custom post types. The new site achieves both these goals, making it both more appealing and easier to work with.

And it’s already having an impact! Jean sent us this note:

I put up a fabulous folk art cane yesterday before noon, and sold it before the end of the day! It was a piece I had featured in an ad in Maine Antique Digest, which sends people to the website. I had three inquiries yesterday in a matter of hours and sold the cane to the third person who contacted me.

I’m confident that the combination of great items, targeted advertising and a great website is really going to help my business.

Take a look at the J Compton Gallery website.

Cheers! News and celebrations for our clients

Girl Friends Dancing in Their School Gym
Photo Credit: adwriter

Our clients have been up to big things lately, and we’re excited too:

iTwixie, the ultimate handout for tween girls, is having a launch party tonight in Pittsburgh at the Hard Rock Cafe. Live music, munchies, goodie bags, and fun for tween girls, their families, and friends. If you’re in the area, check out the details and come along.

Smart Futures, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit working to make career education a part of every Pennsylvania classroom, has started a new year on online career mentoring for students through PA eMentoring. If you are an adult — working or retired — who can volunteer 30 minutes a week, you can help guide a high school age youth through choices about careers. It’s a guided program, and you participate from the convenience of your computer. Find out more at the PA eMentoring website.

Suzanne Mauro, our favorite fashionista and online style maven, has been branching out and offering guidance to executives. She’s contributed a chapter to a new book, Executive Image Power; her focus is looking your best on video, whether it’s a promotional video on a website, a podcast, or an appearance on broadcast television. Find info on the book on Suz’s website.

Event: Summer Chamber Mixer at the Foxburg Inn


View from the river deck at the Foxburg InnHere’s a fun upcoming business mixer: Members of the Butler County, Clarion, Franklin and Venango Area Chambers of Commerce are invited to the Foxburg Inn on Wednesday, August 12, 2009. The event will be held on the river deck overlooking the beautiful Allegheny River. It begins at 5:30 p.m. and lasts until 7:30 p.m. and is free to chamber members. Guests will enjoy samplings of wine, chocolate and appetizers courtesy of Foxburg Winery, Divani Chocolates, Foxburg Pizza and Allegheny Grille.

Find out more on the Foxburg Inn website. RSVP to your respective chamber of commerce.

The Foxburg Inn is a client of Big Big Design, and we’re also members of the Butler County Chamber of Commerce, so for us this is a particularly pleasant combination. We hope to see you there.

Client site launch: J Compton Gallery


J Compton Gallery websiteJean Compton deals in folk art, Americana, and antique rags dolls and toys, and she needed a website that would show off the items she finds.

For each item, she wanted to be able to show a few views, along with a description. We worked with her to create a design and color palette for the site that would best complement a wide range of images. Working together, we also discovered the best types of photos.

Because Jean is a wonderful writer and able to share charming stories on the items she finds, we encouraged her to add a blog to the site as well. This has become a key attraction of the site: The stories keep the site fresh, and she can use the posts to talk about items that she has recently found, already sold, or simply felt to be of extra interest. Through her writing, visitors get a sense of her lively personality, which makes them that much more excited to seek her out at antique shows and fairs.

The gallery of the site uses the open source Gallery2 system, and the blog is in WordPress.

Check out the site, especially Jean’s blog and the beautiful photos in the galleries, at

Client site launch: Allegheny Chesapeake Physical Therapy

Screenshot of Allegheny Chesapeake Physical Therapy website

For Allegheny Chesapeake Physical Therapy, we wanted to create a site that could expand with their practice — no small challenge, given their 12 locations, wide range of services, and variety of client tools and content.

We created their redesigned site using the Joomla open source content management system. Their web team can update all content on the site, and add news items and events. Staff have access to an employees-only area for in-house information and tools.

The new design reflects the open, friendly style of ACPT — and at the same time, it’s flexible enough to accomodate new text, photo, and video content easily.

Client site launch: EMC2


EMC2 Nutrition screenshotEMC2 Nutrition has a great product: protein powder they’ve specially created to provide clients with high-quality protein, using all-natural ingredients.

To sell it, they wanted a website that would explain what the product is, why it’s better than competing products, and how to use it in a healthy diet — all in a fun and friendly way.

We wanted the design of the site to be simple and clear. And we wanted to create visual interest throughout, to convey the essence of the product and to connect with a healthy audience. We felt it was important to avoid clichéd images of muscle-bound weight lifters.

We worked with ace illustrator Rachel Sager to create fun, light-hearted images for the key pages of the site. Julie Long wrote wonderful copy that conveys all the key information about the product and its benefits, and does it in an approachable and appealing style that’s perfect for the audience.

The shopping cart handles payments online seamlessly and securely, and shipping information connects to online shipping rate calculators at

Client site launch:


Screenshot of TheAtriumOnline.comSome years back, we designed a site for The Atrium, a unique wedding and banquet center in Butler, PA. That site served them well for a few years. Last year they decided they wanted to make greater use of the web in their marketing — blogs, more photo galleries, and so on.

We worked with them to design a new site that uses photos throughout, to give a terrific visual impression of what it’s like to attend a celebration at The Atrium. The new design allows for larger images, and includes several photo galleries of weddings, social events, and business events.

The design itself is simple and elegant, so the photos have great “pop.” And the blog is easy to update, so the site can always have fresh and fun content.

Client-site launch:


Sherrie Flick is a writer and a co-founder of the wonderful Gist Street Reading Series. Her first novel, Reconsidering Happiness, will be published this year. In preparation for marketing that book, she needed a website — one that would showcase her published works and promote her other endeavors.

We felt a blog would be a good addition to the site. It would show her friendly and down-to-earth personality and style, and it would help the site rank better in search engines. But Sherrie wasn’t sure blogging would be right for her. She likes to focus her writing energies on her work, and the idea of placing her personal life online made her uncomfortable.

So instead of a standard-issue blog, we designed a template that’s like the mini-blog format used by Vox and Tumblr. Each entry is a simple photo with caption or a single sentence, so there’s no requirement to write a multiparagraph post. Unlike a miniblog though, we left in the tools for commenting, and we set up a style for a long post in case she ever does want to write a full post.

And the site and blog are all built in WordPress, so she can create new posts and manage her site within a single place.

Client site launch: The Foxburg Inn


Screenshot of the Foxburg Inn websiteThe Foxburg Inn is a lovely and comfortable hotel in Foxburg, PA, near the junction of Butler, Armstrong, and Clarion Counties. It’s perched on the Allegheny River; the views from the river rooms and the outdoor deck are beautiful.

We were invited to redo the inn’s website, to make it easy for staff to manage and more useful to guests. We wanted to include lots of pictures of the inn and its amenities, as well as the surrounding environs and quaint Foxburg.

Foxburg and the inn are charming and quirky, and innkeeper Mike Vereb asked us to try to convey the aspect of serendipity through the site. In addition to creating the tagline “Where charm and chance meet,” we sought out a series of quotations about nature, relaxation, and luck, and set these up to appear in random on each page.

We worked with Mike to list the site on a range of websites, including travel sites and directories. Within a day of the site launch, they were already receiving traffic and phone calls.

Shortly we’ll be adding online reservations to the site as well.

Client site launch: Duffy’s Pet Care

Home page of the Duffy's Pet Care website

Mary Ann Brookes has managed her pet grooming and boarding business, Duffy’s Pet Care, for many years. But she looks continually for ways to expand the business and provide better service for her clients.

When she came to us with ideas for a website, we wanted to make sure the site highlighted her expertise. We built in a pet care knowledgebase, which she’ll add to each month.

She can also use the News feature to spotlight new products and services, as well as season-focused ideas.

The home page puts the clients in the center literally, with a spotlight photo of a client.

Mary Ann and her husband, Dave, are fun and friendly people with a whimsical sensibility. To reflect that, we commissioned our multi-talented friend Rachel Arnold Sager to create animated animals for the home page. The illustration style and charming animation add just the right touch.