Amber Masse’s Site Launch

Here at The Design Group, we work on a lot of complicated projects for clients up and down the east coast, and beyond. But don’t get the wrong impression, we are not pretentious types. When it comes down to our humble Charleston roots, we still enjoy working with surrounding local organizations and business owners.

In keeping with that philosophy, we  invite you to check out a recent project we completed for a fellow Charlestonian,  Amber Masse is a professional hairstylist who recently branched out on her own at Polished Salon in West Ashley. As an industry veteran with over 10 years experience,  Amber came to us in need of a website that would help expand her clientele base, while allowing her clients to easily make appointments and provide a clear picture of the services she offers.

The TDG team decided that a customized WordPress platform would allow her to manage her own content and keep her clients organized, which would help her increase efficiency in her business by giving her an online presence. Equipped with service information, an online appointment request form and more, the site has achieved Amber’s goals and beyond.

Be sure to check out the site, and visit Amber next time you need to get ‘your ears lowered’!

Healthy Lifestyle Site Launch!

Here at TDG, we have had a productive last few months. One of the fruits of our labor is the launch of Healthy Lifestyle & Spirit, a nutrition/health focus site developed for a longtime client of The Design Group, Ms. Sharla Patrick. Sharla’s nutritional consulting and mind-body health emphasis has created a large following within the healthy living community. To cater to her growing following, the website was created with a primary emphasis on aesthetics and user involvement. Thus, re-imagining the overall design/structure and re-tooling the user interface was a key focus for The Design Group’s team.

Some of the principle features in HLSS’s redesign include a multi-purpose Online Store that not only incorporates a Paypal checkout for Sharla’s products, but also an affiliate product portal for secondary vendors and affiliates. The affiliate portal allows HLSS clients to explore and/or purchase products from secondary vendors through Healthy Lifestyle & Spirit – without ever leaving the site.

In addition to the  features involving online store, TDG also incorporated a plethora of supplementary features including a highly customized calendar of events, email marketing integration in conjunction with the Vertical Response platform throughout, as well as an entire Media section featuring photos, videos, downloadable documents, and more.

All in all, the TDG team is extremely pleased with the direction the Healthy Lifestyle & Spirit project has taken, and the website was carefully aligned with company’s brand identity, also developed by The Design Group, to unify the brand identity of HLSS.  We encourage you to check the site out for yourself to explore further – be sure to keep an eye out for some of the fun features we mentioned above. You may even learn a bit about living a healthier life – just in time for the holidays!

It could come in handy!  …The aliens on the TDG team have also been advised to keep up with Sharla’s healthy recommendations and tips (many available in the Healthy News section of the site), as it was realized that the detrimental intake of junk food in lieu of real meals has started turning the aliens into sloth-like blobs in our office chairs – thus making our alien mission of world domination much harder…

Capitoltrak Beta Launch

Though we haven’t been very active on our blog recently, we have been burning the midnight oil on several big projects here at TDG, and we’re really excited to have launched the beta version of one of our largest projects in the recent months.

This new project, CapitolTrak, centers around government funding data and news for both the Department of Defense and NASA. The Design Group developed this website concept bred by Jacques & Associates, a DC based consulting firm.

Jacques & Associates wanted their site to be able to aggregate all pertinent information for all sorts of programs, so that it would be readily available to subscribers. CapitolTrak has one singular mission: to provide you with insight into your Federal Government programs of interest in a usable, relatable, and functional format.  The Jacques team conceptualized a comprehensive subscribe-able platform centered around the goal of providing users with up-to-date information, data, tracking statistics and more for in-depth government funded program analysis. Their primary goal was to significantly decrease the amount of effort involved in government program tracking and fiscal analysis. We here at TDG, being aliens and all, know how hard it is to collect all that sort of data from people – They tend to resist… Thus, we all were very excited to introduce the concept to the worldwide web.

Full of features, perks, aggregates of data, and stylistic excellence, The CapitolTrak launch has created a buzz in our office and far beyond, even in its beta version. Below is an outline of several of our personal favorite features CapitolTrak boasts:

  • Paid user subscription for detailed program information; a user can choose between the DoDTrak (Department of Defense) and NASATrak, or choose both programs.
  • Intuitive ‘Program Dashboard’ displaying user-defined pertinent information in various collapsible menus
  • Comprehensive program categorization, and subcategorization featuring one-click follow and unfollow features, as well as a hierarchical program navigation mechanism to allow for intuitive, yet thorough, program tracking mechanisms
  • Line-item level programs data, providing insight into a program’s funding stream, status, key points of contact, news, and more. If you don’t see a program in DoDTrak or NASATrak that you want tracked, you can “Request A New Program” and our CapitolTrak team will add it to our system.
  • Trending Graphs, Budget Charts, Pertinent Program News, Relevant Documentation and more for each program category, sub-category, as well as the individual programs themselves
  • Complete CSS3 & HTML5 Integration for a clean, semantic foundation that abides by web standards
  • And a lot more, of course

Though the site was just recently launched by The Design Group, a wealth of information, data and content have already been added and integrated throughout , and we have seen how information rich this site has become. We think that it is going to be a smash hit with users, and as it grows it is sure to become an incredibly useful tool to many companies and organizations.

…Even though we have been working on it non-stop, we occasionally find ourselves stopping and reading information about aircraft, tanks – you name it. The head aliens are secretly learning all about earth’s military capabilities and space exploration progress – You know, the whole ‘know thine adversary’ theory…


Here at The Design Group, were all about web design. We pretty much think in HTML and CSS (it makes flying a spaceship hard sometimes when you’re thinking in a computer language), and though we are deeply engrossed in that part of our business, it isn’t all we do, by far.

Occasionally, we pick up a flashy handheld plastic box with glass in it called a camera, and we engage in an activity that turns light and the real world into still frames of beauty, AKA photography (aliens like photo albums too, you know. Just don’t indulge any alien that asks if you wanna see pictures of its kids).

On that note, recently in the office we’ve been moving around. This means that in all the reshuffling of offices and everything, a lot of stashed stuff resurfaced from days gone by. We found some older photography that you might enjoy. Take a look, its on our photography page!

McGuire Custom Homes

McGuire Custom HomesAbout a month ago, we spotlighted a new design and logo for one of our long-time clients, Mac McGuire, of McGuire Custom Homes. Mac, as we mentioned previously in a recent post, is a custom home builder in the Charleston & Mt. Pleasant area who worked with The Design Group to completely revamp the McGuire Custom Homes website.

Today, TDG is stoked to show off the new fresh face of McGuire Custom Homes – as the site is officially launched!

The site has many neat features, one of the biggest being the Client ‘Portal,’ which is, essentially, an access point for clients of McGuire Custom Homes to locate personalized information regarding (a) project(s) presently in progress through the company. In addition to this beneficial new feature, the site also includes a customized showcase of homes and renovations completed by the company, along with before and after photographs of remodeling properties that punctuate Mac McGuire’s experience and expertise. Of course, the newly added features are plentiful on the site, so be sure to check the TDG Portfolio soon for a full project breakdown.

After seeing what exactly Mac can do with a home, the aliens at TDG have decided to contract McGuire Custom Homes firsthand to help in the construction of their upcoming ‘World Domination Headquarters,’ or ‘WDH,’ as it is commonly coined. Should they choose to accept this assignment, they will officially bring us one step closer to complete and utter control of the universe, subsequently wiping out mankind as a whole.

Until that point, however, we encourage you to go ahead and check out the revamped McGuire Custom Homes website, and share some of your thoughts.

Bennett Hofford Caribbean Construction

Bennett Hofford, a low country based construction company and a respected client of The Design Group, recently came to TDG to help brand and incorporate a new facet of their company – a growing sister branch for their Caribbean-based construction projects. In a previous post, we gave you a taste of the new logo we constructed (pun partially intended) to satisfy their branding needs.

Just last week, we incorporated this new branding element for the Caribbean branch of their company into their existing site. This was an interesting task to achieve – essentially integrating two brands into a centered layout design formerly with simply one logo.    After a great deal of thought, and a couple of mock-ups, of course, you can now view that logo in its rightful place on Bennett Hofford Construction’s website, where you can see the integration of the new brand at the top right of the page.

Tackling the Caribbean definitely gets us one step closer to taking over the world… and an inevitable vacation with chalk white beaches, little cocktails with umbrellas, and warm sun. Once we’re done, of course.

McGuire Custom Homes Redesign

McGuire Custom Homes website re-design

One of our personal favorite clients, custom home builder Mac McGuire of Mount Pleasant, recently asked The Design Group to help design a new logo to correspond with his upcoming redesign project.  We recently showcased a new logo design in a post entitled Graphic Design & Branding Part 2. We are proud to announce that the redesign phase for McGuire Custom Homes is now finalized, and the redesigned site is nearing its launch date as we speak! We anticipate the arrival of the redesign within the next month, and we encourage you to check back for an update soon.

Remaining consistent with our usual goals of succeeding in complete and utter world (wide web) domination – this project is sure to put TDG one step closer to achieving our plan…

Graphic Design & Branding Part 4

Aqua Blue Pools Truck Wrap

In a similar vein as our recent branding work, we have also recently done some truck and vehicle wraps for several of our clients that we wanted to show off. Included in our recent wrap design clients is Charleston’s own Aqua Blue Pools, whose wrap we are profiling today!

The primary goal of Aqua Blue’s truck wrap was to create an image for the company that traveled outside the web and office. In addition, the wrap was a great method of getting the word out about the company in a big way.

The primary design theory behind the project was based on Aqua Blue’s own vision of a photographic design emphasizing both comfort and relaxation in an effort to instill the principles to which the company emphasizes in their own business.

Aqua Blue Pools Truck Wrap Side View

We opted for a family-oriented pool scene threaded with aquatic imagery and colors. We applied curves to the design to mimic the feel of waves as well as complementary text utilizing a hand script font to create a simplistic and relaxing, yet eye-catching design to place on the Aqua Blue Pools trucks.

The Aqua Blue Pools wraps were printed by our own Nick Verlotta of Mount Pleasant’s own Digital Printing Solutions – a friend as well as a client of The Design Group.

But, as LeVar Burton (of Reading Rainbow) has said, ‘don’t just take our word for it, check it out for yourself.’  Andrea Futeral of Aqua Blue Pools put it best:

“We all couldn’t be more pleased with how the truck wrap turned out. It really looks fantastic and is eye-catching, WOW! It’s just great knowing that the design you’ve done for our truck will be seen all over the Charleston-metro area… and it’s something we can be very proud of.”

We are too, Andrea!

Graphic Design & Branding Part 3

Bennet Hofford Caribbean Construction

Bennett Hofford Construction, (the parent company, and a previous client of ours), recently hired us to design a brand identity for their Caribbean construction branch, after our successful redevelopment and optimization of their main website, which you can visit at Bennett Hofford Construction.

We decided that since the new brand was a branch of the original company with a specialized location, there should be some sort of mix of those two elements in the logo. We went with a color scheme that is reminiscent of the crystal clear waters of the Carribean, and we played off the original logo to make the branding consistent.

As aliens, we are really excited about working with earthlings who know about the Caribbean. I mean, Aliens need vacation too, right? We have heard that this “fishing” thing is excellent in the Caribbean, and since we are inside a lot, we could always use a little bit of a tan.

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