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A Knotty Design Problem

February 21, 2018

We are very lucky to have some very varied clients – award winnng florists, venue stylists, a wholesale bakery, a community run leisure centre, a legal firm, artists, bridal boutiques, independent restaurants and bars, to name a few, meaning our design work is very varied. So, when we had an enquiry about branding and developing a website for a company who deal with the problem of pesky Japanese Knotweed, we relished the challenge. It would have been very easy to just knock out a template full of immediately recognisable stock imagery – but we don’t do that. And the reason we don’t do it, is because it would give us absolutely no job satisfaction. And, we firmly believe our clients deserve a whole lot better than a bog-standard template.

First up was the logo for the company – Solutions For Japanese Knotweed. Our client asked, to be incorporated into the logo, “…a small Japanese Knotweed leaf and a bit of stem (maybe a cartoon/simple version) just above the S…” The company name is quite long and therefore quite tricky logo-wise, so the decision was made shorten it and add an explanatory graphic, with the whole name being the smaller “strapline” underneath, along with a knotweed stem…

New logo for S4JK

New logo for S4JK

We still felt however, even with the inclusion of the background image, that we weren’t conveying the essence of the company – and after a mini-brainstorming session, came up with something our client really liked, and was used on the holding page, whilst we designed the website…

"Liberate Your Garden"

“Liberate Your Garden”

The brief for the project was to design a website which showcased the services offered and to encourage potential clients to engage the services of S4JK. As previously stated, we could have could just knocked out a template website, but we wanted to deliver something more personal – and, despite the fact that the website would be promoting  weed removal services, we also wanted to design something that was quite beautiful. The navigation and flow of the website was crucial too, as we wanted to ensure that once people landed on the website, they could find the information they needed – including contact details – easily.


Enquiry Form with option for image upload : S4JK

Enquiry Form with option for image upload : S4JK

We also produced business cards and a letter head to complement the website, incorporating the new branding.

Business cards : S4JK

Business cards : S4JK

We think our client is very happy with our service and what we designed

Helen and Pete at We Are Life, helped us with the designing of our website, branding, and everything else, as we were completely clueless before we came to them! We were recommended to use them by a local business and we’re so pleased we took their advice. They are friendly and approachable and we are thrilled with the end result. We are also going to get them to redesign another website we have. 10/10.

If you like the look of what we did, and like the sound of how we worked with S4JK, and are looking for design company yourself – one which works hard to understand you & your business, have a closer look at our website. Get in touch either below or on our website. We might just get to know each other…

A Little Bit of Context About How We Work…

If you don’t know anything at all about us, it might be useful for you, in making the important decision of selecting a designer, to know about our situation. Alhough we loved (and still do), West Didsbury, we were becoming increasingly fed up with the weather (too much rain, too little sun), the pace of life (too frantic, too little down time) and never seeing a sunrise or a proper sunset. So, we made the decision to move and try and find all of this – and guess what? We did! We now design from a stone farmhouse we are renovating in northern Istria, very near to the Italian border. We still get rain (quite a lot of it actually, in the winter) but we also get to see sunrises and sunsets, the sun is getting warmer and life is nowhere near as fast paced. With good internet connection we’re able to continue our design business, communicating with clients as normal via email or calls. Since we’ve been out here, we’ve taken on new clients from the UK, and continue to work with our wonderful group of We Are Life friends. So, as they say, distance really is no object…

Istria - just around the corner from Venice :)

Istria – just around the corner from Venice 🙂




Are We Right For Each Other?

February 7, 2018

Choosing your designer is a big decision and we’d like to help you make the right decision. We’re not right for everyone – and not everyone is right for us – so if we can tell you a little bit more about us, you can make a more informed decision. Unless you already know us, our website will probably be your first introduction to us…


But, if you’re curious, we’re guessing you’ll want to know a bit more about us…

We work from home. Up until quite recently, our home used to be in West Didsbury, but we’ve made quite a big Life change. We’ve moved. Our new home – and where we now do our design work from – is in Istria, in northern Croatia, very close to the Slovenian and Italian borders. Now, we may have lost you at this point, because what you want is a design company, who is geographically close to you. But, if you’re still reading, we’re thinking that this isn’t necessarily a huge issue for you – after all, everything we do is online. And, although it’s always nice to meet people face to face, even when we were back in England, we did a lot of design work for people we didn’t actually meet.

So, since we moved nothing has really changed, work wise. Check out our website and see who we work with and what they have to say. We’re really happy that since we moved, we’ve taken on new clients, for whom the fact we live a bit further away, has made not a jot of difference…

We received an extremely professional service from We Are Life and are so grateful to them for their help and guidance- we are a start up restaurant and needed an organisation who could understand our needs and also work within our budget. Despite them not being geographically the closest agency we could have chosen, they were very responsive with emails and calls and have an excellent understanding of the local area. Their hard work and effort to put together our fantastic new website in a short timeframe is much appreciated! 

Nadia Ezzat, Sofra Restaurant, West Didsbury

Helen and Pete helped us with the designing of our website, branding, and everything else as we were completely clueless before we came to them! We were recommended to use them by a local business and we’re so pleased we took their advice. They are friendly and approachable and we are thrilled with the end result. We are also going to get them to redesign another website we have. 10/10. 

Dean Wild, S4JK, Stockport

We don’t call ourselves a design agency – we’re just people who love designing and are very lucky that we can actually make a living out of it. We’re a very small team – and that’s just how we intend to stay. We get most of our work in the most brilliant way possible – through word of mouth and through recommendations. So, you definitely won’t see us putting ourselves up for awards or promoting what we do through any other means than our own social media. If you’ll feel better having your design work done by a bigger agency, with receptionists and account managers, then we’re not the people for you.

We like to really get to know our “clients” – who we prefer to call “friends” because once we start working with people, that’s generally what they become, if they’re not already. So, if that all sounds just a bit too informal, maybe we’re not for you. And we like to stick around too – once we’ve worked closely with you on something as important as your brand, or your website, we don’t like to walk away and leave to your own devices. So, if long term relationships aren’t that important to you, maybe we won’t be your kind of people.

I’ve known Helen and Pete for around 10 years. They have actually created three websites and numerous marketing campaigns for me over the years. I can honestly say they are two of the most patient people I have ever met. I am, shall we say, not the most technical person in the world! They not only gently helped me get past all of that, but in their creative process, they actually cared enough to really feel what my business was about and also who my clients are too. Personally I think that’s kind of important. They keep everything fresh with new ideas – they are travellers and adventurous and this in turn keeps them fresh as well so that they always have something new to bring to the table. 

Carole Hilton-Stone, Ripon Massage

I must have been working with Pete and Helen at we are life for nearly ten years  and have no intention of stopping. The length of that relationship speaks for the quality of work they’ve produced for my business. That ultimately comes from their understanding me, my business and what ‘I want’ when it comes to design. I can’t thank them enough for all they’ve done over the years. 

Tim Lynch, Link Chiropractic, Didsbury & Alderley Edge

We are extremely professional, diligent and hard-working and will always, always try to make things as fabulous as possible for you. Sometimes, things can go wrong, but if you’ve come to us because you share our values, we’ll always work it out. Life’s too short not to.

So, now you know a bit about us, what about you? Basically, if you’re a nice person, we’ll want to work with you. That’s about how demanding we get…

A New Year Update

January 23, 2018

We are decidely unsure where the last few months have gone, as it seems absolutely no time since I posted the last blog about the launch of the West Didsbury Residents’ Association website. But that was back in October. Yes, nearly four months ago! So, it got me thinking – what we have we been doing between October and now, nearly a month into 2018? Well, not sitting idle, that’s for sure 😉

On The Design Front

There’s definitely been no  let up here, which is brilliant. We have been working on a number of new websites, which will be launching imminently:

  • Solutions for Japanese Knotweed, run by the brother of the lovely Siân, from the Flower Lounge
  • The Ginger Fox Cafe, in Bourne, Lincolnshire
  • Sofra Lebanese Restaurant in West Didsbury

We’re also working with current clients to revamp, and update, design work. These include The White Closet, Evie’s Retreat, MacleodBradley and Vintage Afternoon Teas, as well as the on-going day to day design we do with a variety of clients.

As well as the WDRA website, towards the end of 2017, we launched new websites for The Flower Lounge, Carole Hilton Stone Massage Therapist, Words Inspire and Aquarius Plumbing and blogs will follow, detailing what we did and how we did it.


Screenshot-2018-1-23 Massage therapy, Ripon - Carole Hilton-Stone(1)

Screenshot-2018-1-23 Words Inspire Delectable writing for brands Copywriting, tone of voice, verbal branding - Manchester, UK


New clients have been welcomed to We Are Life Design, and as such, we are looking forward to beginning work with Didsbury based Claire Currie, to amalgamate her two current websites, into a more cohesive design. Projects are currently being worked out with another couple of potential clients, giving us an amazing range of design work we can get our teeth into.

On The Personal Front

As many of you will know, we relocated from Didsbury to Istria in northern Croatia, in March last year – can’t quite believe we’re coming up to our first anniversary out here 🙂 Things are progressing really well – as well as having a fab set of clients who keep us busy work-wise, we’re pressing on with what is turning out to be quite a big renovation project on the house. Days are split between design and DIY – although we have sourced some brilliant builders who largely get on with things, freeing us up to focus on the business. Today has been a good example of how our days pan out – website design, blogging, keeping on top of social media etc, whilst Misko, one of our builders, power drills through the kitchen wall (no mean feat as the walls are 80cms thick), while at the same time, draining our internal well so that we can explore – and possibly excavate into – the chamber under the house. We’ve also just returned from five weeks back in Didsbury and the North East, spending time with family and friends – lovely to catch up with so many people, and to also turn it into a mini adventure, as we drove this time, taking in France and northern Italy.

On The Life Front

We’ve been growing our business over the past few years, adding new bits to the Life family and it was becoming a bit confusing for us, so therefore definitely for visitors to our sites. So, a decision has been made to streamline and have all of our interests under one umbrella site. Excitingly, this will also include our new venture, We Are Life Escape – currently we only have a Twitter account but plans are afoot to create a lovely Istrian retreat that people can come and escape to. And find out why we have fallen in love with this heart shaped peninsula in northern Croatia…

So, we hope you will understand our lack of blogging about recent work. We promise to get back on track, because we have gorgeous stuff to start sharing with you 🙂





A Community Design Project

October 26, 2017

Through Didsbury Life, we’ve worked with The West Didsbury Residents’ Association for a number of years, on such events as the annual Christmas Lights Switch On event, WestFest, community litter picks, flower box planting etc. So we were delighted when they approached us when the time came to update their website. The original website was becoming a little bit tired and needed an injection of “oomph”.

We encouraged the use of original photography which would hopefully begin to give a flavour of the work of the WDRA and of the vibrant area of West Didsbury. Now that the website has an integrated Instagram gallery, it will be much easier for the group to update this imagery and ensure that the site remains vibrant. As a community website, an important feature for the WDRA was the ability to add to, and update, events so that members could quickly access this information, as well as on online membership facility linked to PayPal. A feature which had never previously been available.

We hope that the new website has met the brief and that what we have created is more contemporary, more streamlined and more representative of the organisation.




If you too are looking to update and revamp your webiste – or if indeed, you are looking to just start out with your first website, why not do what the WDRA did, and…




An Inspiring Project

October 12, 2017

We’ve worked with our client, Rowena, for a number of years now and have been delighted to be a part of the growing business she has created. Recently, she decided the time was right to re-brand her copywriting business and came to us for a complete overhaul and new look. As a client, Rowena is clear thinking, focused and organised and provided us with a very succinct brief, as well as giving us really precise guidance about the kind of imagery she wanted on her new website. This approach really helps us to nail a concept/design early on in the process and quickly, we were able to begin pulling together ideas for consideration – the new branding, being approved very quickly.


Big thanks to for the beautiful new branding. Farewell Row Writes. Time to re-launch.

Being a copywriter, Rowena naturally provided all of her own copy. We know that not everyone can/wants to do this and many of our clients do prefer to have someone else be their “voice”. We can work on copy for you, and help you to craft your words, but if you are looking for a professional copywriter, well, we might just know someone

It was agreed that the words had to be the selling point of the website, but that the “look” and “feel” was also important. No good having great words, if the design is messy and lacking cohesion. A definite case of less is more (the We Are Life mantra). A holding page was created as the work went on in the background, signalling the new direction of the company.


As our clients know, we have recently relocated to sunny northern Croatia, to hopefully experience a better quality of life. More sunshine and warmth. More good food and out door healthy living. What we didn’t count on, was just how difficult it would be to have good, secure internet installed in our new home – whilst at the same time, trying to keep on designing. The Words Inspire project was one of a number we’ve been working on, whilst trying to remain sane in the face of Croatian telecoms bureaucracy. But like most things, it came good in the end and we are now fully connected. However, we would like to say a big thank you to Rowena for her patience and understanding. It’s clients like her, who do keep us going 😉

So, Words Inspire is now launched as new brand – and we are super delighted with the results. We’d love to know what you think…







If you like what you see – and read here – and think we may be just the people you’re looking for, for your design project, why not get in touch? It could be the start of something very lovely.



Back in the land of the living…

October 11, 2017

…and after SEVEN months of erratic – and sometimes non existent internet connection –  we really do feel that we are back, now that we seem to be fully online, as of today. It’s been a frustrating few months, to say the least, trying to keep on top of design work and deal with enquiries and emails, with something so inconsistent and fragile. We’re sure that people will have seen tweets when we’ve been holed up in hotels, saying we’re working, and you’ll have thought “Alright for some…”, but believe you me, when you are in a gorgeous place but don’t get to appreciate it because you know you have a limited amount of time to get work done, it’s definitely not the holiday it might appear!

So, after tearing our hair out and making many trips back and forth to the telecoms shop, collecting a nice pile of defunct routers (four at the last count), becoming acquainted with many of the Croatian telecoms personnel, having a very nice, but useless pole and cabling installed, we now seem to be up and running. Thanks to Mauro, the only person, in a long line of many, who seemed to have an understanding of the seriousness of our situation. Mauro, we salute you 🙂

And what all of this means is that we can take a rest from being Booking.Com’s best customers and finally get on with the business of designing, from the comfort of our own home. At long last!


Although, we will most definitely not be designing on a Friday evening. You may think this is because we’ll be out, living it up. Not at all – another momentous event happened recently. After seven months of no television, this was also installed last week and joy of joys, the guilty pleasure that is Midsomer Murders is broadcast, in English, on a Friday evening. It’s rock & roll out here, in Istria 😉

The Small Print…

October 4, 2017

We know how it is. Small print is boring. Blah. Blah. Blah… But – it’s there on our website for a reason. And the main reason being, that you don’t receive an unexpected – but very avoidable – invoice, for additional charges. We try VERY hard to keep our charges as affordable as possible, but sometimes we just need to cover unexpected work. Especially work which you request, because you have decided, for whatever reason to move away from us, and which takes us away from the work we will undoubtedly be doing for other paying clients.


When we get the rare request like this, we can always gurantee the word “urgent” will be attached to the request. Fine. We’ll do it urgently, and because you’ll have read our small print, you will pay the invoice before we release what you want, because you know this is what happens.

But, just in case you’re an avoider of the small print, here’s what’s very clearly set out on our website

The small print: If it is necessary for We Are Life to carry out any administrative tasks on your behalf, which do not fall within the remit of our signed agreement, we reserve the right to charge an administration fee of £35.00. Work which becomes more involved and which has been initiated at your request, will be costed out accordingly. You will be notified of any additional costs, prior to us doing any further work. Works which fall under this admin fee include domain/hosting transfers, reinstating websites due to non-payment of hosting and other tasks which need to be carried out, at your request, and which involve dealing with an external third party. All administration fees must be paid PRIOR to any works, of this nature, being carried out by We Are Life.