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What do your clients value most? Hint: It's not just great design

This article is part of the Wix Partner Awards series recognizing the exceptional work of Wix Partners. Today, meet the designer behind Ofir Design, and discover the secret to building long-lasting, fruitful client relationships. Thanks to our friends at Wix for sponsoring this blog post! ✏️

Longstanding client relationships are crucial for the survival and success of any creative agency, but they’re not easy to come by. You have to put in a lot of groundwork to build trust so that your client understands that their needs are your priority.

Of course, great design goes a long way in showing your commitment, but authenticity goes beyond delivering sophisticated projects; it encompasses who you really are, what you stand for, and all your unique parts. Something clients value more and more these days.

Great design goes a long way, but authenticity goes beyond delivering sophisticated projects.

Someone who has both attributes in spades is Ofir Mizrahi, founder of New Orleans-based Ofir Design. When we sit down with Ofir to mark his Partner Award for outstanding interactive design, he fills us in on why authenticity matters and how his passion for art and visual design has shaped his work.

“It was while studying graphic design that I fell in love with how design makes me feel. But I never wanted to narrow my work to a specific part of design. I like to be diverse.” — Ofir

Despite Ofir’s diverse creativity, ‘feeling’ has been a mainstay throughout his work and forms a big part of his design process. Noticing how the small details connect to make up the design language of a brand, Ofir started to apply this practice firstly in print, brochures, and packaging.

Gaining experience at advertising agencies and studios in his native Israel and more recently in his adopted home in the United States and evolving his skills with technology, website design was a natural and seemingly effortless progression for Ofir.

“I took screenprinting, letterpress, interactive design, every kind of design-related class where I could expand my knowledge.”

Advancing his skillset, however, wasn’t down to a conscious decision to build a studio but more of an understanding of what clients genuinely need for authentic brand identity; design-ready solutions for any medium.

“I was Art Director of a studio in LA and managed a team of five, but I would have solo projects and clients on the side.”

Once the pandemic hit and after relocating to New Orleans, those clients went with him, and Ofir Design was born. In the beginning, the Partner Program helped scale his business, but having earned their trust, the connections he’d developed over time came along with him.

Ofir Design Portfolio

Long-lasting design for long-lasting clients

Clients, it seems, have gravitated towards Ofir Design. From an artist’s exhibit he helped design at the New Orleans Museum of Art, to his relevance to the lively New Orleans art scene, Ofir is one of the coolest kids in a very creative playground. Being influenced by his surroundings is a point he makes, with the city “introducing more color to my work”. For Ofir however, understanding the people behind the brand is key to any successful project—it’s one of the ways he’s forging his path.

Understanding the people behind the brand is key to any successful project.

The path paved with design standing the test of time isn’t just good fortune but a fundamental understanding of the strength of the client relationship from the start. Ofir digs deep and provides a questionnaire with carefully crafted questions that help define the sense of shapes, style, and design aesthetics that speak to the client on an emotional level. The connection from the start is key, and throughout the process, he lets his true feelings guide his design decision-making and his clients, meaning both are more likely to last that way.

Through a mutual connection, Ofir met Mark Borman, the client behind Mateo, for whom his work helped secure this month’s Wix Partner Award for outstanding interactive design, and it’s easy to see why.

“We’ve been working with each other for over seven years now. He takes old buildings and makes them into creative workspaces, and his design approach is great. Saving something from the old feel of the building and building something new.”

Ofir lights up as he explains the process.

“I love the brief because it’s always something different: A building where Dr. Dre and Kendrick Lemar grew up in Compton, or a police station in Kansas City. Every time it takes me to a different world. I do the research and work alongside the interior designer, so it’s a nice collaboration — we work on the graphic elements and how they will work together. I created the Mateo website before the building even existed, just from sketches, but I knew what kind of feel they wanted, and I was able to come up with the graphic language.”

web design by Ofir Design
Mateo website design by Ofir Design

Built on Editor X, the site includes scroll effects from sticky positions, repeaters to display unique content in multiple places with the same style, Vector Art and illustrations that altogether make up the small details for a unique and dynamic web experience that meets his client’s vision.

Ofir’s love of the preservation of vintage style is subtle with the soft tonal color palette, the font and texture of old paper effect infused brilliantly to create a unique brand style and the sense of a space and environment where creatives thrive.

web design by Ofir Design
Mateo website design by Ofir Design

Clients with a matching philosophy

We’re curious to learn about Ofir’s other clients and the kind of projects he’s been taking on.

“This is what I love about design—you never know who the next client will be. Every project is different. I like to be diverse. I like the research and the growth part of this stage. To achieve what the client wants with the freedom to bring my true self to the project. I give my clients options but navigate to where I want to go.”

And where Ofir is going is somewhere you want to be.

I give my clients options but navigate to where I want to go.

Passionately adopting Wix early on, the clients Ofir tells us about reflect his entrepreneurial spirit; new innovative start-ups unafraid to take risks. Take City Transformer, a nifty city car with wheels that extend for the highway and then retract for inner-city parking and convenience, to a game-changing device in the early stages of production that will connect to your cell phone, so you can perform your own ultrasounds.

Like his clients’ products, Ofir has the same philosophy for the platform.

“I’m never selling or giving something I don’t believe in. Like with Wix, I believe it’s the best platform that will give the most benefit, the sales, design, and the handover for clients to manage their site afterward. I want to give them the best I can.”

This authentic approach is certainly a winning one for any successful agency or studio. Ofir truly offers what clients search for, a belief that the website or project will set the tone for success, and with successful clients comes repeat business, stronger client relationships, and brand longevity. For designers, true artistry affords selectivity, and for Ofir, his selected clients usually want more.

“It’s much more cohesive, and I can control all the elements. It starts with one thing and usually expands – it can start with a website, or we can start with a brochure, and they see my work and like how it feels, so they want to create a website.”

web design by Ofir Design
City Transformer website design by Ofir Design

The shape of things to come

More clients means more than expanding services and diversifying his portfolio. Ofir’s experience and ability to understand the psychology of the people behind the brand bring rewards greater than the sum of websites he’s built or for the revenue alone. Of course, growth is a goal, but the evolution of his studio while remaining authentic, like the inner child artist cum design virtuoso, is what is important.

How design makes him feel, what his clients and customers feel and how he talks about it motivates Ofir, just as much as enjoying the creative ride.

“I want to focus on doing creative things and choose the projects that I want to work with. It’s key for me to keep enjoying it. This is my approach.”

On the subject of staying creative, Ofir shares a useful tip for any creator:

“It’s like the beginning of a painting, you’re faced with a blank white canvas and any stroke you make feels like you’re dirtying it. But you have to be willing to get dirty. Cleaning up can only happen if you were adventurous enough to get dirty.”

When we ask about his plans for Ofir Design, he’s excited to work more collaboratively with others. Despite his modesty, something tells us whatever Ofir wants to happen, he’ll make happen, and it’ll be exactly how he imagined it.

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