Johnston Paint and Decorating Brand and Website Reveal

It's not every day you get to work with a company that's been family-owned and local for nearly a century.

Johnston Paint & Decorating has been in business here in Columbia, MO since 1925 – that's 91 years!

Melissa Murphy, who owns JPD along with her husband, Murph, and cousin, Corey,  came to us in need of a new website.

The existing incarnation of Johnston's site had been live since 2009. However, the Wordpress site was a huge hassle for Melissa to edit (did we mention she manages 25 employees?!) – even to make simple updates. It had been put together without a clear focus on customers' needs, streamlined user experience, or clear brand messaging.

Ready to see what we worked with Johnston to create?


Let's go!

This was a major brand overhaul. We're proud to have tackled it the best possible way: with the business's strategy at the forefront from step one. Here's how it went down:

1. The right way to design a website: Customer-focused strategy

Before we rushed into the project, we first sat down with Melissa for a half-day meeting to identify Johnston's dream customer. Who was Johnston wanting to attract, and how were we going to design the entire brand experience around that customer's needs?

[Related: 3 questions to help you discover your dream customer]

Together we pinpointed exactly the customer Johnston wanted to cater to: a sophisticated older woman with impeccable taste, who knew the feeling she wanted to create in the home and is excited to work with experts to bring her vision to life.

Envisioning the dream customer is an essential step in redefining a brand – and re-doing a website. Getting as clear a picture as possible is ideal: let’s give the dream customer a life story. A face. A name. And if there is a real-life person you can think of who exemplifies your dream customer, think of them.

Giving a face and name to the dream customer lets you use a bit of a shorthand when making decisions by asking yourself, "would [the dream customer] like this?"

For Johnston, we came up with a great style icon to remind us of our dream customer: Diane Keaton. As we considered color palettes, patterns, language, and strategies, we were able to ask ourselves "Would Diane Keaton like this?"

It sounds pretty silly, but it WORKS, let me tell you.

2. Brand strategy is key to a visual identity

But before you can jump into putting a website together, you need a coherent visual identity fully developed and ready to go.

A lack of any brand consistency was a HUGE issue with Johnston's old website – it didn't communicate who Johnston Paint & Decorating seeks to serve, what JPD stands for, or what JPD believes. Not cool.

For our Johnston Paint & Decorating brand vision board, we worked with Melissa to curate a collection of textures, tones, and patterns that spoke to the sophistication of the JPD dream customer. 

Next, we worked to create a new icon celebrating Johnston's 1925 origins and finalize our color palette, font combinations, patterns, and imagery styles into a final brand board.

We even included a Diane Keaton stand-in (see the bottom left corner of our brand board 😉) to always remind us who we are speaking to.

[Related: How to use your brand style guide to create brand recognition]

Branding for Johnston Paint & Decorating – brand board | Hoot Design Co.

3. tackle every element of a website, leaving no stone unturned

Finally, we moved onto Johnston's website. Their existing site had a few major issues we knew we needed to correct ASAP: 

  1. A lack of brand strategy and style – Johnston previously had no brand elements apart from their existing logo, so our re-launch would be the first time to roll out JPD's new look.
  2. A disorienting structure, with a crowded top-level navigation and waaaaay more pages than necessary. We needed to find a way to trim those mofos down.
  3. No sales funnel or goal structure in mind – What was the goal of the site, and how were individual site elements contributing to that goal? From the existing site, the goal seemed to be... to get as much information thrown at the user as possible. That's a huge turn-off to customers. NO THANK YOU.
  4. A vanilla voice that communicated the basics but didn't inspire action or desire in the audience. Time to overhaul that as well!
  5. A lack of original photography of Johnston's incredible space, products, or the amazing Columbia interiors Johnston has brought to life. Time to schedule a photoshoot!  
Curious what we had to work with? Take a look at the before: 
     The OLD  Johnston Paint & Decorating  website, definitely NOT designed by us.

    The OLD Johnston Paint & Decorating website, definitely NOT designed by us.


    Ready to see how the new johnston website turned out?!

    Take a look at our transformation!

    We're proud to have created a new, fresh website that's

    • Easy to edit – finally! Thanks Squarespace 👍🏼
    • Grounded in modern, responsive design
    • Fully on-brand from head to toe
    • Tailored to Johnston's dream client's wants, needs, and pain points
    • Crafted in a brand voice that fits JPD's persona
    • Focused on converting an engaged audience into customers through a clear structural sales funnel, not just throwing information up on the internet
    • Filled with high-quality, original photography that finally does justice to JPD's work
    • Optimized for search (SEO-ready)
    Come visit the brand-new Johnston Paint & Decorating website and let us know what you think!

    Hoot Design Co. is a marketing, branding, and design agency located in Columbia, MO. We specialize in creating a custom and comprehensive marketing strategy centered around your business's unique strengths and educating you with the tools you need from day one. From logo design to brand identity, website design and execution, and social media marketing strategies in-person and through online courseswe're focused on your business success every step of the way.