by Owen Williams
This week we are delighted to announce the launch of the new December 19 website. A complex, and sometimes challenging brief, that has brought the best out of the 6rs team and resulted in a sleek and stylish outcome to be proud of. Here’s how we got there…
The briefing – don’t make us look like geeks!
D19 came to us looking for a fresh modern look for a website that had become dated and no longer reflected the ideals and verve of the business and its inhabitants. Being experts in media planning and buying, it would be easy to lump them in to the creative category and we were under strict instructions for the site not to come across as ‘quirky’, ‘geeky’ or ‘wanky’!
As a company, D19 have a lot of personality and an edge that we wanted to capture. But the challenge was to create a design that could get across a sense of playfulness without it feeling like ‘forced fun’. This was a challenge for our designers and our copywriters, with the latter having to develop a tone that was both expert and friendly. Conveying the passion of the founders was central to the theme of the D19 language.
“A balance had to be struck between professionalism and informality and that is never easy. Creating something unique and making it fit with the personality of a brand is a key battle in any web project.”
Front-end design and brand personality – a match made in heaven?
The design phase took longer than expected, with the team working hard to nail down the existing tone of voice and marry it up with a front-end design that took the brand forward. The brand assets already in place had to be complemented with new styles that would add depth to the look and feel of the site.
Long-serving illustrations were replaced by a more photographic approach to humanise the brand and showcase the major asset of the business, its people. Colin Hampden-White was brought on board, with a brief for a reportage style that would give the site a relaxed and informal feel, whilst documenting the structure and professionalism of the D19 team.
Development – cards on the table
The development of the site came with challenges too. We wanted to give the site some individuality and bespoke functionality. This was achieved through the ‘cards on the table’ feature in the about section, which mimicked the D19 meeting process and added interactivity for the user. Making this work responsively and smoothly, using HTML5 and CSS3, required a lot of planning and testing. This was also the case with the blog section, which was designed to pull in posts from D19’s social media channels, as well as allowing them to write blogs via the content management back-end system. The reason for this was to give the blog a populated feel, without the team needing to frequently write a specific blog post.
Final delivery – before December 19th!
Creating websites is more about understanding the business than anything else. Eye-catching design and technology count for nothing if the tone and ethos aren’t clearly communicated. At the end of the day it’s your brand personality that differentiates you from your competitors. On this project we encountered design, development and copywriting obstacles but they were all related to maintaining the relationship between technical aesthetics and brand voice.
It’s important not to panic when aspects of the process prove problematic or the solution isn’t immediately forthcoming. So many clients look for quick turnarounds but sometimes you arrive at a better outcome when you take the time to explore alternative approaches. It was great for us to have such as patient and knowledgeable client in D19.
The aim of the project was to effectively showcase December 19 as a company with expertise and heart and, despite some challenges; I’m pleased to say that we achieved it. There is even rumour of a thank you lunch, so we must have done something right!
Take a look at the final site www.december19.co.uk and let us know what you think.