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Overview

Zenfolio, a sub-division of Art.com, is an online platform to upload, display, share and sell photos and services for professional and amateur photographers.

Zenfolio wanted to increase their sales leads and brand awareness. Rather than hard-selling the Zenfolio product, they wanted an ebook that photographers would find useful to their business. The ebook would offer strategies and best practices to drive traffic to their website and boost online sales. As my role as the Visual Designer, I designed an ebook and supporting digital assets that promoted it.

Design Process.

Research
First, I reviewed the Creative Brief to get a better understanding of the project scope, who are targeted audience is, what the business objectives are and a list of deliverables. Next, I conducted my research by looking at what our competitors are doing, as well as the industry as a whole. I also gathered design inspiration from Behance and Pinterest, downloaded several photography ebooks, subscribed to several photography newsletters and followed photographers on Facebook. Because this was my first ebook that I've ever designed, I dug deep into my research of best practices for ebook design. 

Ideation
Since there were multiple deliverables (email, landing page and facebook ad), I prioritized the ebook first because it would take the most time to complete. Before I sketched out my ideas in my notebook, I teamed up with our copywriter to generate ideas about visuals and content. Then, we created an outline, which gave us a general idea on content and length. To ensure help each other out and meet our deadlines, we agreed to communicate with each other throughout the process of our individual work of the project.

Next, I sketched out numerous ways the ebook could be laid out. Then I narrowed down my options and selected the strongest layout to work off of.


I chose the landscape orientation because I learned that landscape orientation works better for screen reading. The horizontal format lets a page fit nicely within computer screens, and readers can see a whole page without scrolling. Since the ebook is only a few pages, I expect majority of of our readers will read it on a screen rather than printing it out.

    Design
    Using Zenfolio's brand style guide, I worked on the visual design on all deliverables.

    For the ebook, I remember to not forget about mobile readers. I set the font size large enough to read on desktop and mobile. To add variety and life to my ebook, I included complementing images and callouts of Zenfolio tips. The purpose of the callouts was to give the reader a glimpse of what’s inside and it’ll engage them long enough to begin reading.


    The cover is an essential component to a well-crafted ebook, so I made sure the design of the cover would draw attention, engage the reader and look polished and professional. To accomplish this, I did the following:

    • Curated genre-specific photography: I created a sample portfolio site using wedding photography to attract our targeted audience, whom are wedding photographers. My goal was to show how their photography can be showcased by using Zenfolio.
    • Added visual interest:  I wanted to capture the audience's attention through the feeling of movement, by adding a cursor. The cursor hovering over the "buy" button was the focal point of the cover. This action of "buying" complements the title and what the ebook is all about. 

    As for the rest of the deliverables (Landing page, Email and Facebook Ad), I designed a simple layout from the large headline copy and detailed featured image of the ebook, to the colors and fonts that are visually pleasing to the eye. For the landing page, I made the call-to-action button more prominent by adding a nice contrast against a subtle background so that it stands out to the audience.  For the Facebook ad, I learned that effective ads use large visuals and less text–so I worked with the copywriter to simplify the ad and include the word "free" to capture people's attention. 

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    Prototype & Refine
    Prior to presenting my designs to the stakeholder, I printed out all of my designs and asked for feedback from designers on my team and our copywriter. This helped reveal any visual or copy problems in my designs that I may not have noticed as well as provide an alternate perspective. After I’ve incorporated their feedback into my design, I presented my work to the stakeholder and they were pleased with the final products.

    Results/Insights

    The ebook hit 254 downloads in a week after it had launched. Although this seems quite low, it actually performed much higher compared to the other free ebooks. In addition, the marketing team decide to have the ebook printed and handed out at conferences.

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    When I look back on the project, I learned that communication and organization is key to being a successful designer.

    • To have a successful working relationship, communication is key.
      It's important to learn how to articulate ideas and effectively communicate with stakeholders and  project members to make sure you are on the same page. 
    • Organize your time. Although this project had a reasonable deadline, some deliverables would take longer to complete than others. I tackled on the most time-consuming project first (the ebook), and worked on the rest of the deliverables simultaneously. I learned to prioritize between projects and outline a schedule of when I would complete each deliverable. By doing this, it helped me meet my deadline.

    The Zenfolio Photography Marketing & Selling Guide can be downloaded here.