Megan Edwards is proud to come from the old school of architecture, where putting drafting pencil to paper is how the creative ideas flow. Her small team's empathetic and sensitive approach to people and place have earned them many fantastic, award-winning residential architecture projects over their 8 years together. Yet in that time, they've never had a website to showcase their work.
We met over coffee on a rainy Auckland morning and she knew she'd finally found the right consultant to bring her architecture practice's public portfolio into the digital generation. She appreciated my industry experience, patience, and clear vision. I appreciated the careful consideration and warmth of her team's contemporary architecture work, and despite a modest budget I was keen to take on the job and build a digital experience that would do their work justice.
It started with a simple branding process to create a flexible, contemporary logo and visual identity for the practice. We settled on a minimal gold, black, and white pallet with a simple wordmark to create a timeless and consistent appearance across web and print.
Megan provided strong preferences and inspiration around the use of imagery and staggered grids for the website. We both agreed that creating variation and rhythm was important, which was achieved by generating a variety of different image groupings, sizes, alignments, and offsets. This allows for each project to be composed in an organic, editorial way to best suit its style and imagery, while providing an interesting browsing experience for the viewer.
A carefully balanced grid
The unique combination these image variations create, led to some unique design challenges. We struggled with how to create coherence and symmetry in a design that was often ragged on both left and right. My solution was to anchor all image grids with an unbroken, off-centre balance line that runs through the middle of all image pairs and triptychs. This gives each page a consistent point of context to provide harmony in an otherwise organic and sometimes random looking arrangement.
Responsive design considerations
Optimisation for tablet and mobile was an important consideration right from the start of the design process, especially when relying on full-screen images that could be viewed on a variety of screen sizes, aspect ratios, and orientations. We took extra care to make sure imagery and text would hold up on the entire spectrum of potential devices, without losing the unique layouts and variation that make the interface delightful.
The minimal requirements of the website, dictated by both desire and budget, meant we had the luxury to create a stripped back visual experience. The project images do most of the talking and tell their own stories with text delegated mostly to the About page, where you learn more about values, process, and the team.
Good design for everyone
This project is a excellent case study for how good design need never be held back by lack of size, resources, or budget. The end result is bespoke, elegant interactive experience, executed with great attention to detail, and built on a powerful CMS system that makes editing content a breeze even for the "old school".
It was a pleasure to give this humble Auckland design practice a brand and website as carefully considered and executed as their warm and empathetic residential architecture work.