We are a creative design agency based in South Lake Tahoe, CA. From strategy to implementation, we work closely with our clients to develop brands and marketing materials. We maintain a strong commitment to creating original work. For branding and graphic design projects, this means constantly pushing ourselves to produce more innovative work when the status quo simply won't do. In a crowded market place, we work to uncover the personality of a brand and bring it to life through print and digital media.
For website design and development, this means being the best we can be with raw code and the latest in front-end design strategy. Our development platform of choice is the Wordpress content management system. We love Wordpress because it enables us to produce 100% original, creative websites, while allowing us to program the backend of the website to make it easy for our clients to manage it.
For digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), we work together with our clients to develop a solid plan using proven strategies. In many cases, we work together on the implementation of both technical and non-technical methods of boosting rankings, traffic and conversion. Along the way, we deploy advanced website diagnostic and assessment tools to find opportunities, analyze competitors, and track the results of our efforts.
Our goal is to produce cool stuff that works. Effectively reaching your target audience and engaging them is critical when designing a new website. Properly executed, a new website project should encompass beautiful design, good usability, engaging content, and a clear call to action for conversion. This multidisciplinary approach blends marketing and high level coding capabilities to produce something that not only looks great, but also works. We measure our success when the proof is in the pudding. When our clients happily report compliments on their new brand style, increased sales, improved web traffic, boosted keyword rankings, and other indicators, we learn what works.
Owner and founder Dan Keenan developed the idea for Hatchback Creative while bumming around the Sierra Nevada mountains in his trusty 1997 Subaru. After years of working with local businesses and non-profits in various capacities, he discovered a great need for more effective and cohesive marketing, that combined solid strategy with high technical capabilities. As mobile devices became omnipresent and new coding standards unlocked huge possibilities for front-end design, he realized the demand would only become greater.
So, Dan took what he knew about marketing, grant writing, and program management and combined it with a foundation in technical skills for web development and graphic design.
The “hatchback” became a symbol for practical design. Our logo is modeled after the Austin A40 Farina, an early version of a hatchback. It was an odd, yet revolutionary new design that was purpose-built for traveling the countryside of Europe. Throughout the 1990’s and well into the 2000’s, Subarus and other hatchbacks became ubiquitous, especially in mountain towns such as Lake Tahoe, Hatchback Creative’s home base, where it’s not uncommon to see a 20 year old car with 260,000 miles on it chugging steadily over a mountain pass in a blinding snow storm.
In mountain towns across the western United Sates, the hatchback now stands as a symbol for dependability, versatility and a design based on utility. In much the same way, our approach to design and web development hinges on quality work that’s built to last. On the front-end our websites are designed effectively for a good user-experience across all browsers and platforms. On the back-end, our websites are scalable and easy to maintain, even complex design-forward layouts.
From a youth urban farm project in Oakland, to a wealth management company on Wall Street, our client base is as diverse as our work. Our clients range the entire spectrum and it’s part of why we love what we do.
We’ve adapted innovative technology over the years to maintain close working relationships across big distances. For example, to train our clients on how to manage their new website, we use recorded or live interactive screencasts. This makes it easy for clients or their employees to revisit the trainings and quickly scan through a set of trainings broken up by topic.
If you’re in Lake Tahoe, you can find us at the Tahoe Mountain Lab co-working space.
One size (or website template) does not fit all. Before moving a single pixel, we like to get to know your business or organization. We’re good at code and have a strong sense of design, but we like to know who we’re building for. We like to do our due diligence. Here are some of the things we can expect to discuss together:
What’s not working with your current site or brand identity?
What are your project goals?
Who are your target audiences?
What are your competitive advantages? Who are your competitors?
What should the call-to-action be on every page?
Is there a clear style guide for the brand?
How do we want to direct users through the new web experience?
How do we measure our success?
Are there goals for SEO or keyword rankings?
Having this discussion early on helps us develop a sound content strategy. We’re confident in our ability to make great work, but we want to create what’s right for your business. Ongoing collaboration and communication is key.
After developing a solid strategy for user engagement and conversionsWe do most everything from scratch and like to keep in close contact throughout the design process, from early conceptual sketches to the pixel-perfect finished work. Custom themes are first designed in easily workable Adobe Illustrator files. This makes it easy to review and revise the design before coding.
We like hand-coding custom WordPress themes. This keeps your website lean, mean and fast-loading. We adapt the backend of WordPress so your website has everything you need to manage it, and nothing you don’t.
Our goal is that you’re totally self-sustainable in being able to manage the content on your site. In addition to building the website so it’s easy to manage, we provide in-depth training using a combination of live screenshares and personalized recorded screencasts to share with your team now and in the future. We are happy to adapt our training tools and methods to whatever suits your company’s needs.
We provide optional hosting for the websites we build, but our hosting package includes much more than just a place to stick your website. Our Hosting + Support package includes domain email, malware and firewall protection to prevent hacks, plugin and WordPress core updates, and regular backups of your site. Think of it like an insurance policy. Plus, as a hosting client, you’re a priority client. We’ll be there to answer the call when you can’t quite remember how to resize images, post to your blog, or change the price on a product in your ecommerce store.
Thanks for contacting Hatchback Creative. We look forward to hearing from you!