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It’s not just the quality and flavor of Purple Door’s handcrafted ice cream that enticed us.

It’s the way they built their thriving business on the foundations of environmental responsibility, community support and a deep love for what they’re making.


Purple Door Ice Cream (PDIC) is a Milwaukee original, one of the local businesses that makes an amazing product that pushes boundaries, By dedicating themselves to working with local vendors and creating opportunities for others to do the same, they’re helping to make the world a better place.

As PDIC is expanding to multiple locations and shipping their delicious wares across the country, they needed a website that could swing with the changes. We've been working with PDIC for a long time and this is the second major website we've built for them.


As PDIC's business expands and grows, we're looking deeper at the different audiences and the things they want to achieve. While PDIC is a consumer-facing company, they sell to grocery stores and restaurants and have a deep culinary connections with chefs, bloggers and journalists.

To get a sense of the content hierarchy, we created multiple sitemaps based on different themes, including a culinary theme, a community and event focused theme, by user theme and a general theme. This helps us and the folks at PDIC to think through different ways of telling essentially the same story, and helped us find the best content strategy. 

Design challenges

There are distinctions between being an ice cream manufacturer and a scoop shop, and both needed to be clear to visitors. Ice cream needs to look delicious and a manufacturer like PDIC needs to show the quality of their ice cream first. Scoop shops are fun, loud, colorful places to explore flavors and pairings, and a scoop shop like PDIC needs to draw people to their locations. We needed to cover both ideas in one.

PDIC's ice cream is amazing, and anyone who tries it will attest to how good it is, but PDIC has some very important rules they follow in the manufacture of ice cream. They use basically no artificial flavorings or colors. Americans, however, are used to ice cream pushing the color spectrum. It's easy to imagine that a more colorful ice cream is tastier, but of course eyes can't actually taste. The site design had to take this into account and make sure people aren't tasting only with their eyes when on the site.

Lastly, PDIC has a very unbrand-like brand, a one color oval with the words Purple Door large, an illustrated door, and the small words "ice cream." Going against the norms is one of the reasons we love PDIC, so we needed to find a way to find or create some deeper brand elements to make the site memorably connected to their logo. And one of the most memorable parts of the scoop shop for us was the wall of spoons that was made from donations of old spoons by PDIC fans.

Design solutions

On the previous version of the website, we found illustrations helped tell the story better than photos, and we had cones and milk bottles and cows at the ready for drawing. They were a success and PDIC ended up using these elements in other places beyond the site. We knew we needed to wrap these into the new site, so we started with those as a menu headers, but then imagined large amounts of color that could bring in the brand. So when we started the design, we started with the rollover menu.

We pushed beyond the illustrations and colors with a series of textures that were fun and used them as backgrounds and offset pieces. We used photos of a spoon to help illustrate the active state of the menu and to hold some bucket content, pulling from their wall of spoons in their scoop shop. We offset the photos of the ice cream scoop flavors areas with a fun little background with scattered offset sprinkles to make all the flavors stand out better against the background.

Bring it all together

PDIC's site really starts to work as a gestalt when we added animations and build sequences that connected all the elements and really brought out the fun on the pages. The site loads with a full pink background with a cone outline as loading bar, and wipes down the page to reveal the site. The menus come up from the bottom (remember how quirky PDIC is and how we love it?) to show all the colors and real photos of delectable sweet treats. The top pulls down to reveal the panel with the hours and locations.

At the same time, we found ways to communicate the needed useful elements. Todays hours are always at the top of the page. The hours and locations tab help manage expectations of the different locations, as each has a different set of availabilities. The flavors are built in a way to help people explore new flavors, and has types for paring down what's become quite a big list, including new, exotic, sorbets, classics, local love and vegan.

To which we say, let's go! Lucky they're in the neighorhood.

Working with Byte was a wonderful experience. Their commitment to learning about our brand, first hand, was exceptional and helped them to create a website that truly fit the mission and brand of Purple Door Ice Cream. Their creative team took things to the next level on the website for customer engagement and continued interaction.

As a for-profit business, Purple Door also has a strong commitment to the community and Byte was able to excellently reflect both of these important aspects on our website. We have worked with Byte Studios for many years now and the exceptional service level they continue to provide is heads above others in the industry. They are responsive to last minute changes and needs we have as a business that need to be conveyed on our website.

- Lauren Schultz

Purple Door Ice Cream