Mansell is an Atlanta based band who's releasing their new album Mantra this November - it's killer so stop reading this and preorder it right now!
I've been playing music forever and was always the youngest guy in the group. Then one day I woke up and was a 30 year old guy playing music with a bunch of teens and early 20's. The Mansell guys certainly make me feel old, but they also make me cooler by association... right?
At a distance, I've seen all of the guys in Mansell grow up from being kids into men, and from being fledgling musicians into absolute musical beasts who can stand toe to toe with the best of them. When they started talking about getting their website together I jumped at the opportunity to help and I've got to say, I'm really proud of how it turned out.
All three of the guys in the band are creative and artistic so I was excited for the chance of making a site that felt more modern and personal in contrast to all of the professional sites I've worked on lately.
Our initial conversations revolved around a minimal feel referencing sites like RHUDE, The Neighbourhood, and even Chanel for their clean and minimal appeal. I immediately recognized RHUDE as using the Wells template and attempted to mock up a site with it but the content they had just didn't fit - so we kept looking.
I came across the Adversary template and at first it didn't look at all like the feel Mansell wanted. I had to think abstractly to catch the features of the template and understand how I could utilize them. But realizing the possibilities of full screen video headers, parallax scrolling, and great use of an index page made Adversary the one.
A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING
So we obviously needed a place to promote their new album and access the necessary channels to get their music, but they also needed to sell some merch and host a blog. Luckily I'd just recently begun work on an online store for women's clothing the week before and had done some research on Squarespace's commerce platform and how powerful it is, so setting up their store was a breeze.
Their vision for a blog was different than your traditional "opinions and musings" that drive most generic blogs. It would be a place where they could share artistic collaborations and promote other artists local to Atlanta. Because it was less about the blog and more about the community they called that page Family.
I love this for so many reasons, the first is just because it drives traffic. When you look at a nav bar and see commonplace things (ex: Home, About, Contact, etc.) you generally know what you're getting into when you click it, but when you see something like Family up there, you're more inclined to go there to find out what's up. Naming everything on your nav something unique would be confusing, but sprinkling this in felt perfect.
Also the heart behind promoting collaboration and encouraging local artists is near and dear to me. Right now their blog is backlogged with lyrics and a few promotional posts, but they're gearing up to add content in the future and I'm excited to see what comes out of it.
WHAT I LEARNED
Sometimes I'll get upset when a client is overly picky about their site. My usual thought is "trust me I know what I'm doing!" But with this site the guys flipped the script on me and gave me a lot of creative freedom... and it was actually a bit daunting.
I was compelled to drill down and try to come up with creative ways to utilize the template and focus on design over functionality in some places. Just like in my experience working on Coaching With Jeff, I have a lot more confidence in myself and in the Squarespace platform now than I did before this project.
Also I was concurrently working on a fundraising site for Gwinnett Church and had a friend help develop the sticky social media icons that only show up when you're not on a header image. It was cool to realize that I'm able to build code that can be transported from one system to another so easily using Squarespace.