Design Critique: CJ’s Favorites

Designers

There’s really nothing that takes us back to childhood quicker then a fresh-from-the-oven cookie with a cold glass of milk at the kitchen table. That and the iconic “num-num-num” of the cookie monster from sesame street. So it only makes sense that a cookie website would have an old-fashioned boutique look.

The challenge is adding the boutique look while at the same time making it modern. CJ’s Favorites did a fantastic job.

The Modern Layout

The overall layout for CJ’s Favorite is actually very modern. The logo is located in the middle with the links on either side, followed by a large slideshow image, three highlight boxes below, and finished up with the footer. This website is a great example of using a modern layout to serve the design.

The Boutique Design

It’s all in the details, as most good designs are. Here are a few ways they took this modern layout and designed it like a boutique store:

Fonts. All their heading fonts are a “Corner Store” font that is embedded using CSS’s @font-face feature. The scroll font sets the mood for the old-style look. For the rest of the text a nice san-serif was used.

Colors. Colors play a huge part in the overall look of a website. CJ’s Favorites went with a a light yellow, brown, and teal; warm colors that make you feel like you’re sitting in your grandmother’s kitchen.

Small Touches. The ribbon style heading backgrounds on the 3 highlight boxes, and used on the top links hover function add to the old-school design. Then you’ve got the paris-style “awnings” above the header and on the footer that make you feel like you’re walking into a boutique store. Finally, the gif images, while normally a mistake, work really well here.

Large Design. If you go to the website (click on the image above), you’ll see the entire design is quite large: large fonts and large images. This is actually a popular design trend, and it works well here, adding to the boutique feel.

SEO

I don’t usually talk about SEO on websites when we review a design, but I wanted to mention two things they did.

First, their URL is freshcookiesonline.com. This was a great idea (although I would also recommend buying CJsfavorites.com and forwarding it) because when people are searching online, they’re probably searching “fresh cookies” not “CJ’s Favorites”. Having the keywords in your main URL is huge for Search Engine Optimization.

Second, they used extensive meta tags. They even used a few I had never heard of – like ICBM and DC title (apparently these are Dublin Core MetaData Tags). In all, they used about 20 meta tags. Now I’m not sure how much these help their rankings on Google or other search engines, but they can’t hurt!

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