Born Ugly


Web Design, Web Development

BU Ident

Born Ugly is a brand design agency and a creative partnership based in Leeds, UK. They are the founding studio of “the world’s most effective brand design consultancy”, Elmwood, before their demerger as a standalone agency in 2020.

“You could say ‘born again in the ugliest of years’! We are an agency with a strong track record that spans 4 decades and 6 continents but has a new direction. A direction with strong foundations and values, and extraordinary commercial and cultural impact always as its cornerstone.” - Born Ugly

BU Ident

Collaborative design

When we were contacted by the newly formed team behind Born Ugly, the goal was always for us to work directly with the current and new incoming staff arriving at Born Ugly HQ. We would then be able to seamlessly hand over the ‘controls’ knowing that every person involved had a really good in-depth knowledge of how to use, operate and update the website themselves.

Working collaboratively requires a real close relationship with the partner agency or brand, as if we’re one team, building and operating hand-in-hand to achieve the exact results desired. In this instance we worked together to help actualise their brand online, displaying their broad skills and work, as well as a description of who they are and where they’ve come from in such a short time. Most importantly, the site needed to inspire and encourage clients old and new to get in touch and fire up some new projects for the young/old agency.

“It’s important to us that people know we work well with other agencies. This wasn’t our first rodeo, so we’ve already built a great strategy to keep communication consistent and projects on track. We’re a collaborative, creative bunch and when we get the opportunity to work closely with another agency it’s a real treat that we’ve had the privilege of doing on a few occasions before.”


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Fidelity, collaboration and handoff

When working on a website or digital product, we use tools that facilitate collaboration and enable smooth sign-off. Based on the supplied artwork from the team at Born Ugly, we built out prototypes. Once high fidelity, we used these prototypes to generate the all-important styling code required for handoff to our developers.


Throughout the design and build of the new website, we worked with the Born Ugly team to produce quick, rough outlines and concepts that were used to work through ideas and iron out the finer details, page by page.

As those designs became more and more finalised, we utilised Invision Design Studio software to help keep the everyone up-to-speed with the design, demo proposed animations and page transitions for both sign-off and hand-off to our devs. This approach allowed us to quickly prototype ahead of staging, with animations and transitions being refined on the staged version of the website.

Content Management System

We proposed using CraftCMS as the engine to power the Born Ugly Website. It is a flexible and powerful system that works as well with one content creator as it does 100, is highly scalable and is really well supported in the wider developer community should they ever need to develop further.

We know how complicated it can be to make ‘simple’ look easy, so we build portfolio sites with this in mind. All pages on the Born Ugly site have easy to use, device agnostic page previews as they’re being created. It’s also super simple to duplicate pages and other repetitive tasks, with easy to use versioning and page drafts. All these little additions enable the Born Ugly team to get their hands dirty, putting their own unique design and brand voice from the start.


GDPR, ICO and best practices

The boring bit. But super important. We made sure to implement a secure method for receiving online form-based enquiries into the Website’s Content management system. Doing this is significantly more secure than the form to email alone, so comes without question for any new web projects.

We build all our digital products with accessibility and performance in mind. No one likes a slow website and neither do search engines, so ahead of their site going live, we ran a site audit to ensure the site launches at a score of at least ‘92’ in SEMrush (placing the site in the top 10% of best performing website)

BU Pics

Training & handover

As with all our digital products, we provided the Born Ugly team with full training, covering how to use CraftCMS, how to generate new pages, add content and generally get to grips with the new setup.

True to its form, the new website has already seen a number of internal updates with new projects, new staff members and extra pages, attracting potential new leads and clients for Born Ugly today.

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