Blog - Think it First


How to Write a Creative Brief (And Why Doing it Right Matters)

June 30, 2023 - By Kelly Lineman


A creative brief is a document that details a design project. It serves as a roadmap, addressing the who, the what, the why and the when. Typically, the recipient of the project’s output will provide the raw input for the design team to synthesize into a document for review.

Simple enough, right? You’d think so, but a creative brief blends unmistakable clarity and uninterpretable detail. That’s sometimes harder to do than it sounds. (more…)


Announcing Think It First Summer Hours

June 9, 2023 - By Jamie Trueblood


This week marks the beginning of our first foray into summer hours. For the next three months, we will shift to a four-day work week, giving everyone on the team Fridays off. (more…)

Emailing with Clients: 13 Tips, Zero Tricks

May 20, 2023 - By Dave Clarke


I love email. (Don’t @ me. I’m not interested in any “But I get 536 emails a day!” sentiment. Congrats. You’re a big deal. Or you’re a journalist that gets a firehose of lousy pitches every. Damn. Day. You, I feel for.)

What I love about email is the ability it affords you to orchestrate asynchronous discussion. You can set a stage and guide your audience to where you ultimately want them to arrive. Sixty percent of the time, it works every time.

Email is the perfect blend of art and science. It’s a skill honed over time. The earlier you treat it as such, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

So here are some tips to getting more out of email.

Over the years, we’ve amassed quite a universe of contacts. Clients past and present. Vendors. Partners. Prospects that didn’t sign that we’re still close with. Employees that moved on to other cool things.

Recently, we decided that we wanted to do something with that universe. That naturally led us to think “newsletter!” We thought about rounding up our most recent blog posts, showcasing our latest projects, and curating a bunch of interesting content from around the web.

But then we thought otherwise.


But Can’t I Just Use a WordPress Builder?

March 3, 2023 - By Dave Clarke

In the world of WordPress, there are two ways you can go. You can buy a theme off the shelf or you can do a custom design and build. We do the latter for our clients. Here are a few reasons why.


What is a Design System and Why Should You Care?

December 9, 2022 - By Emily Higgins

Think about your favorite product or site. It’s relevant to you. It’s fast and functions as you expect. It’s easy to use. 

That last one? The one about ease of use? Underneath that delightful, satisfying user experience is a design system, a collection of visual and technical definitions that rule a product. Within that design system exist style guides, component libraries, modules and likely much more.

Happy Holidays!

December 15, 2022 - By thinkitfirst

Another year (almost) in the books!

We are truly thankful. For each other. For our great clients. For compelling, meaningful projects. For you.

From all of us at Think it First, happy holidays.


How We Approach Content Migration from an Old Site to a New One

November 30, 2022 - By Alexander Tapish

We recently tackled a web refresh project that required the migration of over 4,000 pieces of content, specifically blog posts, rich in SEO value. Maintaining that SEO value was a top client priority.

Here’s how we went about it.

Content Strategy

Want to Know the Number One Reason Content Marketing Efforts Die?

November 9, 2022 - By Dave Clarke

Content marketing works.

It can help your business generate brand awareness, scale traffic, establish authority, build trust, inform audiences, raise money, facilitate self-education… its applications are just about (but not quite) endless.

But lots of content marketing efforts die. They lose steam; they go dormant.

They’re abandoned.

There are a number of reasons why this happens. More often than not, though, a lack of organizational commitment is what kills a content marketing strategy.

Related to web projects, prospective clients often ask us, “What about SEO?” Usually they are asking this question because they loosely know that a website and SEO have something to do with each other. Sometimes they’re asking it because they think that’s what they’re supposed to ask. Whatever the driver, we almost always answer that question with… (more…)


Google Hates Slow Sites

August 11, 2021 - By Jamie Trueblood

Here’s how to speed yours up

Google wants to present searchers with a fast internet. As such, sites that take too much time to load get penalized and slip their way down the SERPs. (more…)


Trust The Process

May 23, 2021 - By Joe Lashinger

It’s not about buying a website; It’s about applying a thoughtful methodology to create value for your business

This post isn’t about Ben Harden or Jo-Jo or Sam Hinkie’s 7,000-word resignation letter. It’s not about a perplexing inability to win on the road against bottom-half teams. Aside from borrowing a hashtag, this post has nothing to do with basketball.

This post is about our process; the Think It First process. We want to share it because we believe in it. We believe in the value it offers to our clients. We believe it’s what makes us different and a true strategic partner to our clients. So let’s dig in. (more…)


It’s Time to Stop Designing for “The Fold”

August 7, 2021 - By Bradley Emmons

Here’s why that’s a good thing

Back when newspapers reigned supreme, there was a layout concept that publishers adhered to called “the fold.” The idea was to put the most important headlines and stories at the top of the front page, quite literally above where the paper folded, in order to attract buyers. By and large, it worked.

As the internet became a thing, and people made career moves from print layout to web design, “the fold” concept followed along, albeit in a slightly different way. Instead of representing a physical line, “the fold” became known as the initial viewable real estate of a webpage, prior to any scrolling. Everything of importance had to go above it because there was no way visitors were going to bother scrolling. They probably didn’t even know how to operate a mouse.

It’s not hard to see why this approach was flawed. (more…)


Traditional Wireframing Sucks

June 12, 2021 - By Bradley Emmons

Here’s why most wireframing sucks, and how we make it better

Wireframing is a crucial part of the digital application building process. It’s how we represent the design and the relationships between different screens. The most important job a wireframe does is enable us to make important decisions related to the user experience, ultimately allowing us to craft a desired behavioral outcome from elements on the screen.

Most wireframing, however, sucks. (more…)


Questions We Regularly Get (And You Likely Have) – Part II

May 9, 2021 - By thinkitfirst

Earlier this year, we shared Part I of our “Questions We Regularly Get (And You Likely Have)” piece. Let’s get going on Part II!



Humblebrag Time: Think it First Named a Clutch 1000 Firm

April 16, 2021 - By Joe Lashinger

Here’s what that is and why we think it matters

Want to know a secret about most business awards?

They’re pay-to-play opportunities that usually happen in one of two ways. Either the business applies and pays an application fee to be considered or it’s “nominated” and asked to purchase a branding or marketing package in order to “receive” the award.

Yuck, right?

There are, however, awards programs out there that are above the board, transparent and data-driven. The Clutch 1000 is one of those programs—and we’re pumped we made the 2019 edition* and as a part of its Best Design Firms list. (more…)


Three Simple Reasons Why Accessibility Matters to Your Business

March 22, 2021 - By Jamie Trueblood

Accessibility is an increasingly popular topic amongst web design and development circles—and for good reason. At a high level, accessibility is about making your site, your app, your product usable to everyone. Yes, that includes people with auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech or visual disabilities, but it also includes those without. (Think the elderly, someone with a broken hand that will eventually heal, rural users with slow connections.) Software developer, Isaac Zepada, says it best:



Questions We Regularly Get (And You Likely Have) – Part I

February 27, 2021 - By thinkitfirst

Do you offer Maintenance?

The answer is yes — of course! A Think it First website is a flexible and durable marketing tool that’s designed to evolve with you and the changing tech world around us. And our goal has always been to help you get the most from your website investment long after launch. Today, it’s so important to keep your site maintained, updated, and secure so that you present an optimal experience to your customers on all the devices they use. Investing incrementally in maintenance is the best way to protect your site’s overall appeal and value, keep you safe and secure, and spot and fix bugs on the regular. (more…)


How Secure is Your Company’s Website?

January 8, 2021 - By Jamie Trueblood

Most businesses don’t know the answer to that question. Let’s fix that.

Nobody needs to be convinced that web security matters. We all read the latest breach headlines. We all know a colleague whose company’s site was hacked. But what most businesses don’t know how to do is gauge the security of their own site. That’s usually a result of not knowing where to start.

So let’s start. (more…)