November 30, 2015 Erin Bernhard

Before & After: Western Mountaineering

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: Western Mountaineering

In light of REI’s #OptOutside campaign last week, we decided to take a look at other outdoor retailers in need of an e-commerce redesign. Behold, Western Mountaineering:

Legendary Lion | Before & After: Western Mountaineering

Western Mountaineering – a site that could be worse, but could also be waaaay better.

Style Tile

Western Mountaineering is known most for sleeping bags and accessories, but also supports the exciting outdoor sports industry with some of the best imagery around. In perusing the site, we thought that the brand could take their game up a couple of notches by showcasing their customers’ lifestyles just as much as they showcase their products. A well-rounded e-commerce site complete with a lifestyle blog component makes everything more accessible.

Legendary Lion | Before & After: Western Mountaineering

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.

“By adding the blog, we’ve given the site an extra marketing element that will help drive sales in a different way. Telling stories is critical to creating a sustainable triple bottom line. Thinking about people, planet, and profit when creating your website helps customers and web managers alike keep open, innovative minds and stay up-to-date with digital marketing and communications trends.” – 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.


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.

“Without showcasing their customers, Western Mountaineering is doing their gear a disservice. We’ve created a community for their customers to tell stories of their adventures, both to each other and to the general public. We also brought in some new, intriguing design elements that keep the brand trend-forward and relevent.” – Kayla

Home Page

Legendary Lion | Before & After: Western Mountaineering

Inner Page

We took a look at the inner pages as well, redesigning the e-commerce side as well as proposing a blogroll for an added layer of exposure.

Legendary Lion | Before & After: Western Mountaineering

For reference, here’s the current shop page:


Legendary Lion | Before & After: Western Mountaineering


Legendary Lion | Before & After: Western Mountaineering

And there you have it! Western Mountaineering 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

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Building websites and web applications since 2010.