Behind the curtain with Claire & Beka of The Renew Room, Rocketspark Design Partner
In this interview series we sit down with Rocketspark Design Partners to learn more about their work in website design, how they got started, and how the
Rocketspark platform and partnership program has helped grow their design businesses. This week we chatted with Claire & Beka, the directors and creative minds at The Renew Room.
This article is proudly sponsored by Rocketspark.
Can you tell us a bit about your career background and how you got started in website design?
Beka: My passion for art & design began as a teenager, where I studied the subject in high school. It was my favourite subject and after receiving a couple scholarships, I decided to pursue a degree in Graphic Design at AUT post high school.
Once I completed my degree, I jumped head first into the freelancing world. During my years freelancing, I created great relationships with many businesses and sharpened my toolkit. After seven years on my own, I joined forces with Claire and brought my skill sets into a business – and The Renew Room was born.
Claire:My background prior to starting The Renew Room was in various marketing roles across large businesses in NZ & AU – including Spotlight Retail Group, Flight Centre Group & Fletcher Residential. I always found I had both an analytical and creative mind when it came to marketing – most people only have one – but I’m definitely 50/50! I worked a lot on websites and content in my career, and on creating sales funnels, high converting landing pages – with a huge focus on user experience.
While I’m no graphic designer, I can visualise a project or in this case a website, map out the priority of content and write the copy just fine! With Beka’s exceptional design skills, we found that offering website design as a service under The Renew Room was a no brainer!
Tell us about your design process
We start by getting to know the client, the project, their budget etc. We try to really become an extension of the business rather than a contracted outsider when working with projects, so we can give it our all.
The best way to describe our process for website design is to share a screenshot of our ClickUp Template for website design. Essentially – every time we have a new client, we start by giving them a quote and a timeline based on when they accept the said quote.
All of our jobs require 50% up front deposit – with the remaining balance due prior to going live. We also start our website builds with basic mapping – so as to ensure user experience is top of mind the entire time.
Then we send through a home page design concept FIRST to get approved. If the general look & feel is on the right track, we go on and build the whole website and do 2-3 rounds of revisions before setting it live.
This is what our ClickUp website design template looks like. It’s about a 6 week journey from quote sent to website live:
From a design perspective, we ask our clients for as much inspiration as possible, so we can get an idea of their vision. We create moodboards and present them to our clients to make sure our creative direction aligns.
From there – Beka just uses her inner magic and produces goodness. It’s hard to put into words how the process works in her brain – she just gets an idea in her head… jumps into illustrator (or rocketspark)… and makes it happen!
Is there a website design project you’re especially proud of?
Honestly – we love all of the websites we have done for our clients… but the one we are most proud of, which we spent a huge chunk of the August-December 2022 Covid period on, is our own! https://therenewroom.co.nz/
Things that stand out that we like:
- The use of movement throughout the website – gifs, animation
- It stands out with the navigation on the left
- The use of background texture in imagery to add something more
- The little subtle branding hints like our icon being used as buttons on the portfolio page
- We find the content easy to navigate and have our packaged up front – helps prequalifying potentially customers
Other than our own, another stand out website for us is EMediaNZ.
EMediaNZ is a photography, videography & sound business based here in South Auckland. Nigel Erick, owner & creative, is a down to earth, people person, and works on all sorts of projects – from weddings, to family portrait sessions, to brand photography. His “vibe” is urban, yet professional.
This website received a nomination for Rocketspark Partner Website of the Month in April – and we can see why.
The use of parallax background stacks throughout his site connects each section together. We chose to go with less words, and more imagery, as that is what his business is all about. The use of words like “SNAPS” and “VIDS” as opposed to “PHOTOS” or “VIDEOS” shows the urban side of the business – using slang as opposed to “real words”. We think that puts his personality out there, without having to be too obvious.
The actual content itself – his work – sells itself. It made the build easy and fun as we were already working with professional imagery & videos. The videos on the VIDS page are embedded through vimeo without any vimeo branding, which again makes it feel really sleek and modern.
We love supporting Pasifika & Māori owned businesses, and South Auckland creatives – so are super proud to share this one. We have used Nigel / EMediaNZ for a few of our clients to produce content for them – so to then work with him to build his own website was a fun project. If you’re looking for a photographer or videographer – give Nigel a call. https://www.emedianz.com/
A seemingly simple website was a recent one we completed for Paul Cogswell, Barrister & Mediator.
This was a redesign from a website created in the early 2000’s. You can see what a glow up this was.
Paul is a lawyer with 3 decades of experience, and his website’s purpose was to showcase his services in a clear and concise way – a portfolio more than anything. The design itself is really quite simple. It is modern, sleek and professional. The content is laid out in a much more engaging manner.
The original website looked like a document put onto a webpage. It was just text on a white background. In contrast the new site showcases more imagery, uses colour blocks and has a bit of movement with the use of a sticky header and parallax stacks.
It is a great example of a website that is easy to read, straight to the point, yet still visually appealing. It would make for a great example of what we can do for consultant style businesses. https://www.paulcogswellbarrister.co.nz/
How long have you been using the Rocketspark platform for and how has it made designing websites easier?
We joined as partners of Rocketspark in April 2021 – so it’s pretty early days!
Rocketspark is a great platform. It has a lot of functionality and it looks beautiful. It makes designing for mobile first easy.
It is a simple platform to update copy, to change imagery and to manage ecommerce websites. They have an entire blog on Rocketspark with how-to guides that are easy to follow and make teaching clients how to add a coupon for example really easy.
The support team at Rocketspark are also really great – fast responsiveness, and always able to offer solutions.
The biggest bonus for us as an agency is that it makes handover for our clients a breeze. Our entire aim is to make our clients happy, and Rocketspark helps us do that!
As a Rocketspark partner, what’s been your favourite aspect of the Rocketspark Partner Program and how has it helped you grow your design business?
The community that Rocketspark has created is really great, and there is constant support and guidance from the Rocketspark team.
We feel as a very small player in the big agency game, it is nice to connect with other like minded individuals, and other people doing what we do to gain and share inspiration, knowledge and support.
What are your words of advice on how to get started or make the move into website design?
“Just do it” as Nike would say.
You don’t learn anything by standing still.
If you want to start on website design, start with your own website! You get 60 days free to build something on Rocketspark, so use that wisely and spend time mucking around in the program to get used to it! Rocketspark also offers website design courses that you could try if you’re really serious about it.
When it comes to website design, there are some things you need to think about that you don’t with traditional print collateral. Navigation / user experience / linking through to data tracking platforms / integrating with different apps. If you are nervous about the technical side, try reading the “how-to” blogs on
Rocketspark and understand WHY these things are important.
Then if you still get stuck on that – try to partner up with someone, or find a contractor / business, that you can hand your websites over to to get them fully functional. That way you can do the pretty stuff!