Building an architecture brand

  • Studio
  • Torque
  • Client
  • SMNGA Architects
  • Role
  • Senior Interactive Designer
  • Focus
  • Design direction
  • User interface design
  • User experience design
  • Front-end development
  • Back-end development

Strategy

There are many touchpoints for a single brand. Emails, print pieces, packaging, signage and digital ads all carry a brand's message with each interaction. Perhaps the most important touchpoint — the one that joins all of them together — is a brand's website.

Hub and Spoke is a term used to describe this common ecosystem; the website being the hub and everything else a spoke. SMNGA, a boutique architecture firm, had all of their spokes but no true hub. Their existing web presence didn't convey their comprehensive experience to potential clients looking to hire an architecture firm.

We met with the owners of the company to determine what the hub should entail. During our content audits, we identified what the business wanted and what their customers expected.

Part of that process involved assessing their effective sales techniques to-date. How did prospects respond when case studies were grouped by building size? How important was the company history perceived during the last pitch? These questions guided our decisions as we progressed into user experience and design.

Design

Our design strategy focused on two things joined together: at-a-glance clarity and the availability of technical information. We established a clear hierarchy between the two; large headlines paired with expansive photography above smaller details and optional file downloads.

The purpose of the website was to showcase work — not to purchase products and services directly. We shied away from unnecessary and complex patterns like extensive filtering. Instead, simple terms like Play, Work and Live guided the user through buildings designed for recreational, commercial and residential use, respectively.

Results

The website became their main library of work and allowed potential clients to swiftly browse and research the company's capabilities during the decision-making process. An important sales tool in their collection of touchpoints — it was one that also joined them all together.