I’m very excited to announce that in 2023 PJWD is becoming Root Web Design Studio.
Over the last few years I spent a lot of time thinking about the problems caused by the web design and digital marketing industries. These issues include:
- The environmental impact of websites (our digital activities contribute around 3.7 per cent of global emissions – on a par with the aviation industry)
- Invasive tracking and personalised targeting
- The default mindset that we should be constantly chasing more views, more reach and growth at all costs rather than at a sustainable pace.
The unethical practices that have become the norm for doing business in the digital age have lead me to try to forge a better path.
While this has been the driving force behind PJWD for a while, the time has now come to rebrand the studio to better suit the values I care about.
Let me introduce you to Root Web Design Studio.
The aim of Root will be to focus on:
- Low-carbon web design – Reducing the environmental impact of websites and educating others as I continue to learn.
- Collaboration – I’ll be working closely with a graphic designer and a copywriter, plus other independent creatives, to offer a more rounded service.
- Organic growth – Encouraging businesses to grow at a sustainable pace, using SEO to find the right audience, not just a bigger one.
While PJWD already follows these principals, rebranding has allowed me to formalise it. Nail my colours to the mast, so to speak!
Behind the Root brand look
Working with Charlotte and Becky was a deep and fun exploration into what is most important to me, or the “brand essence” – the purpose, promises, personality and so on that define Root.
First up was the logo, which Charlotte thoughtfully designed. The ‘r’, when viewed with the brandmark as a whole, forms the shape of an abstract tree, planted on solid ground. There is space at the top to signify endless opportunity and growth. This is what Root delivers, enabled through great websites!
Having the name root under the “ground” is a nod to the solid foundation upon which I build projects. Working with Root gives my clients that solid grounding of knowledge and experience, deeply rooted and full of opportunity.
I also really like that the font Charlotte chose to use for the brandmark is designed right here in Manchester!
Charlotte says: “When forming brands people often just think of the visuals – the logo, colours, fonts and photography. And these are all important elements! However, if they aren’t grounded and formed with purpose, strategy and insight then they will lack substance and fail to deeply connect with your audience and business goals.
“For Root we headed out into nature to form the ‘roots’ of the brand. Exploring the brand strategy and positioning away from the screen meant original thoughts came out truly in tune with Paul’s vision and direction.
“Once these strong roots were formed, the visuals that will support this growth (the leaves and the branches I like to think of them as!) will be more than just a ‘pretty picture’ but formed with a purpose, direction, connection and feel truly authentic to Paul’s brand vision.”
Sounds like Root
Branding isn’t just about looking good, but also about sounding good (or at least, sounding like you!). So then it was the turn of Becky from Comma Chameleon to weave her word-magic and create a brand voice for Root.
Rather than advising me to write in any sort of fancy way, Becky highlighted: “You’ll never go wrong when you write from the heart, simply and honestly.” Which is a relief!
Becky said this rebrand project flowed with a sense of ease, and I agree! She added: “It was such a joy to see Root coming together, from initial concept to Charlotte’s stunning visuals, and capturing that in a tone of voice felt so natural.
“It’s always important that what we’re saying fits with how we look, and Paul is very clear on the message he wants to send out. As an ethical business who cares about people and the planet, I knew we needed to keep his writing honest, relatable and full of heart, so I developed a tone of voice based on those principles.”
Low-carbon website development
For the Root website, I wanted to lead by example and demonstrate that a website can look great whilst having a minimal impact on the environment. This had to be planned from the start and I worked alongside Charlotte and Becky to ensure that graphics, copy and development were all working together in tandem so:
- The home page uses no images, all of the graphics were purposefully illustrated by Charlotte as vectors so they can be embedded directly into the website’s HTML code as inline SVGs
- Further graphics are made of geometric shapes such as rectangles and circles which could be created in CSS instead of an image file.
- Only 2 fonts are used. Drago for headings and Quicksand for the body copy. The site avoids using multiple font weights with key text being emphasised using background colour instead of boldness.
- Becky ensured the copy is concise and to the point to get the key messaging across clearly.
- Like the PJWD site, we use Fathom Analytics to measure page views without tracking any personal data. It also has a tiny filesize.
The result is a website which requires only 8 files to load, weighing in at a very trim 130kb. The site loads in approximately 0.6 seconds and generates only 0.03g of CO2 equivalent.
What happens now?
Over the next few months, I will transition new clients to Root. The PJWD website will remain active, refocussed around my SEO training course and myself as a web designer and consultant rather than PJWD studio.
Root will continue to support existing PJWD clients, and I’ll be in touch with each personally to manage this transition.
I’m so excited about this new chapter, and I’d love to hear what you think of these changes! Please drop me an email if you have any comments.