Adii Pienaar

When WooThemes founder Adii Pienaar came to Crew, he was looking for the right direction to take his personal site that made people want to stick around.


Up until this point, Adii wasn’t satisfied with his website’s engagement. The vision he brought to Crew involved two goals: capturing a substantial audience and building a significant mailing list.

Adii posted his project on Crew and was quickly connected to Tyler for the work. Adii said he instantly connected with Tyler for two reasons: “First, he immediately connected to me (mentioning that his wife had bought my book, Brandiing); and second, he connected to my aims by talking about specific references in my initial brief.” Adii clinched his pick once he saw Tyler’s design style. “The final consideration was obviously Tyler’s design style which I felt would be a good fit for the stylistic goals that I had in mind.”


Tyler and Adii put their heads together and came up with a project plan with clear milestones. Tyler said he was amazed at how focused Adii was.

“[Adii] had well defined goals for the project that meant measuring success was straightforward. This also allowed us to design and build a really focused user experience in support of his goals..”

Tyler set out to accomplish three specific objectives:

  1. Increase email signups to grow Adii’s mailing list and audience
  2. Put Adii’s writing front and center
  3. Support and grow Adii’s brand with a well-designed presence

After initial design sketches, Tyler tackled the objectives one by one.

Phase 1: Increasing email signups

Tyler knew the email signup process had to be as easy as possible. To do this, he placed a signup box in both the header and footer of the homepage, and asked for bare minimum requirements to subscribe. On post pages, Tyler kept the personal elements to the left-hand sidebar and included a place for email signup near the bottom of the screen. The sidebar was fixed so that the option to signup was always within sight as the reader scrolled up and down.

Phase 2: Content first

As an author, the foundation of the user experience on Adii’s personal blog is reading. A lot of reading. Knowing this, Tyler incorporated design elements that heightened the reading experience.

He began with using lots of whitespace, making it easy on the viewer’s eyes. Next, he developed a way to group Adii’s writing to make it easier for readers to see Adii’s latest and best posts. For example, he split up Adii’s ‘top hits’ into a section of their own to introduce first-time readers to his work. Tyler also kept the list of posts incredibly simple. Post dates are kept to the month and year and he only lists the post title and a short excerpt.

Phase 3: A strong brand


Adii’s redesign needed to exude vulnerability. With a tagline of Making New Mistakes, the design needed to be approachable, accessible, and interesting. Tyler helped to support this by adding a micro-bio to the top of all pages paired with strong imagery of Adii and a bold recognizable color palette.

The style Tyler implemented was clean, simple, and minimalist.

Final result


Adii and Tyler met and the two created a winsome personal blog for Adii, optimized to capture an audience and build a mailing list. Adii knew exactly what he wanted from the beginning and Tyler had the talent to execute the brilliant design needed for the project.

From the start, I definitely got the impression that Crew spent a lot of time selecting only the best contractors and throughout the project, Tyler & his team only backed up that notion.

Explore more of our portfolio

Crimetown by Gimlet Media

Crimetown is a podcast produced by Gimlet Media, one of the fastest growing podcast networks in the world. They came…


Despite giant advancements in the kinds of technology people were using to document their travel experiences, the interactions were largely…


Tiny Factory had spent little time focusing on their own identity for Brandistry, a brand asset management system. With a…