Behind the curtain with…Tonia Reid, Rocketspark Design Partner
In ‘Behind the curtain‘ 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 Tonia, owner and designer at Greenhouse Creative on her design career journey and how she’s found support and community in the Rocketspark Partner Program.
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?
My career as a business advisor, brand strategist and designer started as a happy accident way back in 2002 when I moved back to Auckland from Wellington.
My bosses at the time asked me if, instead of resigning from my role, I wanted to continue doing my job from home – revolutionary for 2002! I grew up in a household of self-employed people, so of course I jumped at the chance and the rest is history!
A young freelance designer with a couple of psychology papers under my belt, I quickly learned I was (and still am!) incredibly interested in how design can inform and influence consumer behaviour. Naturally, brand strategy and design with packaging and marketing as complimentary services became the focus of my business.
I added website design to the repertoire around 2012 as website design was quickly becoming the most obvious expression of a brand – any and every business needed to be represented online and to have those key visual and verbal brand messages cohesively selling their brand across multiple consumer touchpoints.
Tell us about your design process
My philosophy is: Design with purpose and authenticity. Always.
Effective design communicates a message. The design choices I make are rooted in psychology and will ultimately influence the message a brand is communicating.
Colour, shape, line, font, voice and language… It’s complex, but it’sits not complicated.
I simply believe in making life easier for business owners by creating brands that are unapologetically authentic. And I love empowering business owners to understand why I’ve landed on the design choices I’ve made to communicate your brand with the world.
Is there a website design project you’re especially proud of?
There are so many! I feel like a mother to hundreds of what I call my “brand-babies.” I get so invested in my brand and website design projects and involved in my clients businesses, that I can sometimes really struggle with letting them go to grow on their own in the world ☺
Some website design projects that really stick in my mind as something special are Awaroa Winery and Rollickin Gelato and Tasty Pot Co. To me, the difference between a good website project and a great one comes down to on-brand, on-message content.
That formed my decision to bring partners and contractors into my business, which gives me the ability to collaboratively create high-quality copy, photography and videography that support the goals of each website project. It’s been a game-changer!
How long have you been using the Rocketspark platform for and how has it made designing websites easier?
I’m one of the OG Rocketsparklers (in-fact, I coined the term!).
I’ve been using the Rocketspark platform to build websites since 2014. I’ve loved being part of a New Zealand business success story and part of the wider network of Rocketspark design partners.
The Rocketspark platform makes it really easy for my clients to take their well-designed website and manage and update it themselves when it’s needed from time to time. Websites these days are living breathing things, and for a business owner to be able to easily and seamlessly add a blog post, update a promotion or add a new service as they need to, without having to wait for a developer’s availability (or to pay for one!) is crucial for them.
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?
My favourite aspect of the Rocketspark Partner Programme is the support I’ve received from Rocketspark and the wider network of partners. It’s an amazing group of giving, selfless designers and business owners who are all genuinely invested in each others’ success, favouring collaboration over competition. It gives me warm fluffies just thinking about it <3
What are your words of advice on how to get started or make the move into website design?
Success, in my opinion, is measured by achieving a balance between creative freedom, lifestyle design and financial independence. However, underpinning all that is purpose and authenticity. So if someone has identified that they could fulfil their version of success by designing websites, then simply get started by having a chat with the team at Rocketspark. From there have fun creating stunning, purposeful portfolio pieces and share your talent with the world!