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Focal Frames


Focal Frames is a recent start up, providing high quality, handmade frames for local customers.  Paul used to make frames when in the Royal Marines and felt it was something he wanted to return to after seeing the custom frame work his daughter was buying for her work at Tweet Tweet Designs.  Despite having a comprehensive list of equipment, like many start up businesses, Focal Frames operates as a home business, where Paul builds the custom frames in his home garage.  

Paul also has an appreciation for the work of local artists, and felt that the promotion and sale of these works would go hand in hand with his framing business.  

He needed a website to display the extensive range of frames and mounts that he offers, as well as a way to take orders and offer quotes.

The Challenge

For all intents and purposes, Focal Frames is a home business which offers warm and personable customer service to the local community.  However, the website needed to also convey the professional and dedicated attitude with which Paul works.  In addition, the website required an extensive range of functionality, from a display catalogue for frames and mounts, connected to an easy order system for requesting estimates, to a complete Ecommerce section where customers could view and immediately purchase the local art work that Paul has to offer.

Without doubt, the biggest challenge -for me- was that Paul set his heart on a "Frame Visualiser", where customers could upload the photo they were wanting to frame and play around with frame options, mount colours, mount widths and different photo dimensions in order to visualise what they were after before requesting a quote.  This was outside of my skillset, as there are only two fairly good examples of this in the UK and required a custom build of a component to handle the demands of such functionality.  I said I could build the rest of the website and we could look at options from developers, but when the quotes for even a basic website plugin with limited functionality came in at a minimum of £2400 -which was far outside the budget of a start up home business, I felt disheartened that this was going to be a let down for Focal Frames.  But, read on...I did it.  

The Solution

The solution to Paul's need for a professional, yet welcoming and personal, approach was to first establish a clean layout which focused on the services provided.  The logo and colour scheme present a professional attitude and commitment and you could be mistaken -at first glance- for seeing Focal Frames as a more established local business.  The site warms, however, with a parallax section on the homepage where Paul has placed an image of his local area with a statement of his commitment to the local community.  The site warms further with a simple About page where Paul has written a little about himself and his customers can see him in a relaxed, approachable black and white image.  The page proceeds with the services he provides and with a helpful and relaxed FAQ section.  


Moving on from this, it's back to business where customers can view the range of frames and choose one, with which to enter into the Frame Visualiser.  At this point the minimalist design puts focus on uploading a picture into the Visualiser, before easily playing around with various dimensions and colours.  As soon as customers press 'Preview Frame' they are presented with a scaled and accurate presentation of how their frame will appear.  The specifics they have chosen is presented in the order form, where customers then fill out their personal details and hit "Request Quote". 


In addition to this is the Ecommerce section, where Paul can present the artwork he has for sale in a fully function store with cart system and immediate payment system.


Focal Frames now boasts a warm and welcoming website with a sturdy and professional tone, and with functionality for "Frame Visualisation" that few framing businesses can offer their customers.  

One day, we'll say:

"Well...it all started with a coffee and a chat!"