Portfolio: Messegee Writes

Messegee Writes

Authors T.L. Messegee and Lisa Nanni-Messegee promote their writing projects to publishers, producers, and students.

Level up

The Messegee’s needed an up-to-date and easy-to-update site to promote their work as a writing team to literary agents and publishers. They also wanted a venue to share their writing experience with their students at George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College.

Pulling it together

Between them, T. L. and Lisa had two or three web sites representing different aspects of their work: teaching, photography, and writing. They were starting an endeavor to market themselves as a writing duo. As professors, they also wanted to publish resources and articles on the craft of writing in a single location for their students.

I created a site for them built on the WordPress platform where they could collect their work, news, and writings into one location. The theme and its functionality I custom designed and constructed to meet their particular set of needs. WordPress’ friendly admin interface was easy and approachable for the Messegees to publish new articles and resources on a regular basis. I also created a custom post type to manage the different types of works in the Messegees’ portfolio.

Name of the thing

The Messegees knew they wanted a single site to market themselves as writers that worked collaboratively together as a pair. Coming up with a name for the site that captured what they wanted to convey for was a challenge.

Design comps or prototypes usually do their job best when “real” content is displayed throughout the design. Sometimes, the content isn’t in its final state while the designs are in progress. Sometimes, the content isn’t even available to use at all. Temporary or placeholder content may be called into service to fill in the gaps and that is how I came up with the suggestion to name the site “Messegee Writes”.

I needed placeholder text for the site title while the Messeggees decided on their site’s name. Lorem ipsum-type text can work for this sort of situation. My experience, though, is that placeholder text (especially lorem ipsum) tends to confuse and distract. People get that it is placeholder text. The random gibberish, though, draws too much attention to itself and distracts focus away from the design.

My solution was to combine their name (Messegee) and what they do (write). From a grammar standpoint, one of those words needed an ‘s’. It should probably have been Messagees, since there are two of them. The designer in me looked for balance in the typography so the ‘s’ went on ‘write’ and I had ‘Messegee Writes’. That was the state of the site title when I presented the initial designs to the Messagees. At that meeting, I pointed out it was placeholder text and we kicked around some ideas for the site’s name. After they ruminated on it for a bit and checked the domain’s availability, the Messegees decided on ‘Messegee Writes’ as their site title.

Serendipity can be a great design tool.

Design seeds