Welcome back to my client showcase series, where I give you a behind-the-scenes look at a design project and the strategy behind all the decisions! For today’s edition, I’m delighted to introduce you to queen Jenna Pastuszek—a multi-passionate extraordinaire whose journey from performer to entrepreneur is *very* similar to my own.
But first…. A Little Backstory
It’s relevant. I swear!
Back in 2017 or 2018, I started attending a monthly book club at a NYC acting studio led by Jen Waldman. But, contrary to what you might assume, the books on the docket were usually ones you’d find in the business, marketing, and personal development section of any bookstore. (Ex: we often read works from Seth Godin, Brene Brown, and Simon Sinek, just to name a few.)
I first learned of Jenna at one of our first meetings, because she *always* had something brilliant to say when discussing the book at hand. I immediately clocked her as someone to look up to in the actor / business space, and I spent the next 2 years admiring her biz brain from afar.
Cut to: the pandemic, where Jenna and I found ourselves in a zoom networking course together. We’d spend every single morning chatting big ideas, and through that, we became great friends. (You can read more about that networking class here!)
So, when she decided she needed a website overhaul in 2022, we knew we’d be a designer/client match made in heaven. We already knew we shared the exact same ideas about business, the theatre industry, and creating impact in the world—and the rest is history!
Jenna Pastuszek does it all—she sings like a lark, runs a voice studio called Innovative Voice Studio, writes a blog, conceptualizes one-woman-shows and performs them around the country, and does business consulting for creatives. (You can read all about her many hyphens on her new website! 😉)
As a person, Jenna is equal parts genius and creative, ideologically progressive and aesthetically old-school, and just as down-to-earth and approachable as she is brilliant & badass. Capturing this essence through all touchpoints of her brand was our biggest priority in this project. But, as with any project, there are challenges.
The Challenges, Goals, & Deliverables
Oftentimes, multi-passionate people fear that they’re “doing too much” and “have to niche down”. Luckily, Jenna’s not scared of leaning into all her passions. This DID mean, however, that clarity would become our most present challenge. We found ourselves asking, “how might we make sure the website is a safe landing place for casting directors, clients, voice students, booking directors, and just plain curious minds?
Apart from the question of audience and clarity, another immediate challenge in the beginning was that Jenna needed new brand photography in order for this website to really be its best, most current version of her. So, given our close relationship, similarities, and understanding of each other’s worldviews, I pitched an idea: “what if I art direct a photoshoot for you?“
She happily agreed to let me explore this new creative outlet, and I got to work on conceptualizing and planning a brand photoshoot!
In the end, Jenna’s new site got the whole Kleist Creative package: branding, art direction, SEO, website design, and development. And I’m so excited for how it turned out.
Here are some of the ways we cultivated Jenna’s multi-faceted personal brand and brought it to life on the internet.
Given Jenna’s high-contrast nature (in re: what I mentioned before about her energy being both modern and old-timey, bold and kind, etc.) we felt a minimalistic neutral approach with pops of color here and there would communicate it best. And from there, our color scheme was born; blacks, whites, and beiges to communicate “down-to-biz” with a touch of “old hollywood”, and pops of bright blues and greens to give it a sense of groundedness and approachability.
Similar, when deciding on font styles, I thought it might be fun to use a mix of a serif and a sans serif to further drive home the feeling of old and new. (Plus, that italicized serif heading font by Jen Wagner always reminds me of the fonts they use in sheet music for dynamic markings!)
The fun part about having a brand & web designer who *also* does photoshoot art direction is that they can plan the vibe, location, and photographer of the photoshoot based off of what they’re envisioning the rest of the site to look like. Because I knew we’d be using tons of blacks and whites and neutrals as the main colors of the website, I planned the photoshoot so that the photos would come off as bright and clean and colorful as possible, while still remaining in the Jenna vibe. Kay Elle Photography absolutely nailed this shoot (highly recommend her!).
Search Engine Optimization
Before we began designing and developing the website, I wanted to make sure the content structure and wireframe of the website pages were optimized for Google to understand how to rank it. So after a complete competitive analysis (and learning all about different artist business coaches and Judy Garland impersonators), I developed a keyword strategy.
Website Design & Development
Based on the SEO strategy, wireframe, and content structure of the pages, I dove into website design using the branding elements & vibe as well as the brand photography from the photoshoot. If you go to her website now, you’ll notice there’s lots of transitional movement, lines sliding in and out, and images fading in as you scroll down. While I don’t usually use a ton of animation like this in the sites I design, I felt it was right for Jenna because she herself is very nimble in her ideas & thought. (And quite literally, she is always on the go.)
And as an ode to our book club days, I thought it felt on-brand for her to use lots of “hand drawn” circles to emphasize certain words. It’s giving “draw your big ideas on a white board” energy, which I definitely associate with Jenna.
This Instagram post caption from JennaP says it all:
“A pandemic love story:
Cue me at 6:28am PT every day in @carlyvalancy and @msmollybeck ‘s REACH OUT PARTY fangirling over guest presentations by @sarahkleist .
Flash forward to a RO from KLEIST herself to me to collectively drool over everything we read in @meredithfineman ‘s @bragbetter .
On badass biz books written by women, our friendship was cemented.
Months later, we met IRL in nyc, hugged, and soon after, it only made sense to continue bonding by collaborating on the dreamiest website I ever did see- KLEIST diving into creative art direction for the first time while I tried my hand at copywriting.
This website is me. It features the many hats I wear as a creative- from an actor to a demo singer to a self-producer to a coach to a voice teacher. Go check it out.
And if you’re curious to know how I help people find their voices in all of them, join my fresh (sporadic) newsletter: The Hat Box. (I’m finally doing it @matthewcarey!) It’ll be short, sweet, and full of Ukrainian wit. I promise.
Thank you @kleistcreative and @kayellephotos !!!”
Looking to bring a multi-passionate website to life? You know where to find me.
CREDITS & COLLABORATORS
Branding, SEO, Website Design, Development, Photo Creative Direction, Brand Strategy: Kleist Creative
Photography: Kay Elle Photography
Hey, I'm Sarah Kleist.
Brand builder, website designer, and performing artist on a mission to help creatives and business owners step into their digital spotlight.
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