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.NET magazine design challenge

Every month NET magazine features a design challenge where three designers create a website based on a fictional brief. I was asked to take part in the challenge a few months ago and the result is featured in this months NET magazine. The brief was to design a website for a party planning business.

On the same day as I was set the brief I heard about the existence of canning parties on a Radio 4 programme. They appear to be a thing in America. The idea is to invite friends who enjoy making preserves, jam, pickles et all. And then you spend the time doing exactly that. In my spare time I grow vegetables and sometimes can and preserve surplus produce. So canning parties seemed like a good fit for the brief.

First I created a concept for my fictional company Can & Jar. In a nutshell Can & Jar will send out invitations to your choice of guests. You decide what you will can, preserve or pickle. On a day of your choosing Can & Jar will deliver all necessary equipment and produce for your party. You can keep the jars and the produce, the equipment will be collected at a later date.

Finding royalty free images of canning and preserving proved to be difficult. In the end my search led me to old library images from the first and second world war. Women with jars of vegetables, just jars, and a wartime poster to encourage preparing for winter. The direct manner and little clutter of the wartime poster to put across the message inspired my design.

I drew up a wireframe to create the structure of the home page, and then set about creating the design. I choose the ladies from the wartime poster as the hero image for the page. And overlayed them with the three step party planning process. Further down the page are testimonials of happy clients, a call-to-action button, a link to the recipe archive and a mailing list sign up form.

It was definitely a challenge. Party planning websites are not something I had ever given any thought. The most challenging part was creating a concept and content. A website without words and images is not a a website. And without them you can't design anything.

Below is the design in full.

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