November 17, 2015 Erin Bernhard

Before & After: Craigslist

The Before & After Redesign Series is a Legendary Lion Web Design project aimed at showcasing an overview of our web design process through the lens of well-known existing websites. 

Before & After: Craigslist

At Legendary Lion, our mission is to build a better Internet one website at a time. By now, the world is familiar with the lackluster directory that is Craigslist. We took it upon ourselves to do something about this:

Legendary Lion | Before & After: Craigslist

Craigslist is a go-to for products, services, and community. Its design leaves much to be desired, however…

Style Tile

Craigslist is a well-known one-stop-shop where you can find anything from a wedding dress to a gently worn pair of boots, from an apartment for rent to a freelance job in sales. The site remains in the same dull directory layout that it has had since its inception. We like to think we captured the essence of Craig and his list in our new design:

Legendary Lion | Before & After: Craigslist

To create a style tile, we collect each design element that we plan to incorporate into a website and arrange them in a quick document to give the team (and the client) an at-a-glance view of the direction we hope to take for the final design. This is a great way to communicate the aesthetic feeling that a client is trying to achieve. For style tiles, we focus solely on:

Font Choices
Menu and Button Shapes
Header, Subheader and Body Copy Size
Inspirational Images


While Kayla is working on the style tile, Erin is spending time with the existing copy, reorganizing it to make it accessible, interesting, and appropriate. She creates a new sitemap to ensure that each page is fully incorporated while still keeping the new site simple, straight-forward, and navigable.

“Because much of the content on the site is user-generated, we knew that maintaining a personality would be difficult. We opted to clean up the existing sections without removing too much, but moved things around to make navigation more intuitive and less boring.” – Erin

For the sitemap, Erin pulls the original sitemap out into a document and renames pages to be more intuitive. Then, she adds submenus where appropriate. When there’s a lot of information to incorporate, she creates a copy matrix as a basic outline of each header on each page.

Home Page Design

When logic and inspiration collide, we call it design. After Kayla has finished the style tile and Erin has finished the sitemap, the two are combined to create a new home page.

Legendary Lion | Before & After: Craigslist

“Craigslist looks like a website I used in elementary school. I wanted to modernize the design while still keeping it organized and easy to use. I used bright, eye-catching colors to help bring some personality to their brand. I chose a modern font that was still basic enough that it didn’t take away from the easy function of the site, since the users are such a wide range of people.” – Kayla

And there you have it! Craigslist Redesigned.

Like what you see? We’re always taking suggestions for future projects to include in this series. We’d also be happy to work towards giving your company its lion’s share of the web. Feel free to schedule your first appointment to find out more about what we can do for you.

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About the Author

Erin Bernhard Having dived in to her love affair with words at an early age, Erin is no stranger to writing great copy. She has arrived in the Lions’ Den wielding a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan and extensive experience in content development, digital marketing strategy, and social media management — and she’s always hungry to learn more. Erin has a knack for storytelling and a passion for listening that have proven to be the winning combination when it comes to great client relations. Communication is the key to success in any business and Erin stops at nothing to ensure that her clients’ voices are heard

View all posts by Erin Bernhard


Building websites and web applications since 2010.