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“We want you to play: be confrontational, maybe a little cheeky. We are not just another conference where people wear the same old suits and say the same old remarks over and over again. Don’t be afraid to push this site into something new, something nobody’s seen before. . . you’re going to have to bring your A game!”

This is the kind of challenge any designer longs to hear, and it was what the partners said during the kickoff call for the Independent Lodging Congress, the major national conference for the boutique hotel industry. Less than a rebrand but more than a redesign, we had license to play with everything from their logo to the headshots of the speakers and conference leadership (naturally we took full advantage of this). The result was a gigantic step forward from what the previous year’s site. Their site was already in WordPress, but the implementation had some rough spots in design and usability, for both the conference visitor and the admins tasked with maintenance. Over the course of a few weekly conference calls, we built a whole new WordPress implementation from the ground up, including:

  • a bold new visual identity, which was extended into creating signage for the conference hall and other marketing materials
  • cool PowerPoint decks for presenting to potential sponsors and partners
  • bringing registration payment and processing in-house instead of using a third-party tool
  • making a dynamic and engaging conference schedule page to replace a boring text list
  • tons of handmade elements to make the site feel as quirky and original as the conference speakers, sessions, and even the Brooklyn neighborhood where the conference was held (Williamsburg, epicenter of global hipsterdom)

We’re especially proud of the fact that our project proposal was considered alongside high-profile agencies from New York and other major media cities, and the partners chose us. Having received compliments at the conference like “This was the best, most interesting conference website I’ve ever seen,” (we didn’t make up this quote. . . promise!) we conclude that we’ve validated their choice of a small scrappy consultancy over larger, and vastly more expensive,  competitors. Watch this blog for an upcoming debrief on the conference, which was as exciting and innovative as billed.

Before working with, the back end of our website was a rat’s nest, its design was not responsive on mobile, and it was far from being user-friendly. Throughout the site revamp and rebranding process, met all of our (tight) deadlines, helped to educate us on quick site fixes and WordPress design methods, and brought some out of the box suggestions to the table. Bill Tuman also offers exceptional humor to the usually grueling process. We’re a barrier breaking conference. Needless to say, surely helped us ‘combat creative death’ with a strikingly bold site. We’re forever grateful.

– Tatiana Swedek, CMO (Chief Millennial Officer)
Independent Lodging Congress

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