Hi, I am Donny and I run a small web studio called Visualgui.com.
Five years ago, a fiction writer named Kristin Bair O’Keeffe contacted me and asked if I would be interested in creating a web site to promote her upcoming first novel titled Thirsty. I jumped to the opportunity because it sounded like a fantastic project.
Before I even started to think about the design, I asked Kristin if I could read the novel first. She sent me the entire unedited manuscript. I read the whole book and it gave me everything I needed to design the site.
The story is about a Croatian woman who fell in love with an American. After they got married, she migrated to a steel town in Pittsburg where her husband lived and worked. He turned out to an abusive husband. It’s a dark, powerful and hopeful novel and I wanted to convey those elements right on the homepage.
Out of all if the images Kristin sent me, I chose the steel plant for the background. For the title of the book, I selected Baskerville, which is a transitional typeface to signify the woman’s transition from Croatia to America. The image of the butterfly, which suggested hope, was used throughout the book; therefore, I incorporated it into the design as well. For the secondary pages, I kept the dark header, but reverted the main content area to white for readability.
I mocked up a homepage, a secondary page and shared with Kristin my design process and she loved it immediately.
One of the things that I loved working with Kristin was that she cared deeply about her content. She had almost everything together before she even contacted me.
Once we launched the site, she asked me if I wanted to make a trailer for the book. With the storyboard she wrote and a musical score her friend created, I put together a short clip using Flash.
In a coincidence, her second novel, The Art of Floating, is also released today and she contacted me several months ago to create and landing page for it. I gave the page a responsive design to be displayed on multiple devices. Go check it out and get the book.