by Wendy Bebbington, Creative Director
Here at Newenglish, we recently embarked on a really tricky rebranding project. Tricky, because it wasn’t for one of our clients, instead we were taking a good look at ourselves to create the ‘new Newenglish’.
In this day and age there’s a train of thought that with a dextrous use of a mouse, anyone can be a designer. However, because you’re reading this blog, I’m guessing you’re one of the people who are either exploring, or have already realised that design by experts is actually a powerful tool and a truly worthwhile investment for any organisation wanting to not only stand out from the crowd, but express the essence of who they are and what they do.
A well designed brand isn’t simply a logo or stamp, but an outpouring of a consistent brand personality. Recognisable, reliable, interesting and powerfully communicating; evident in every touchpoint that an organisation has with its current and future clients. This is why we have to really get to understand a client before we can create a brand for them.
- What exactly is it they do?
- What makes them different or better?
- How do they value their staff?
- How well do they do what they do?
- What are they wanting to achieve going forwards?
- How do they currently tell that story?
- How can we do that better?
- What do they look like now and what do they feel like – and how will we change that?
Perceptions do matter.
A brand has to be authentic to the organisation, and what they are genuinely striving to be, otherwise it all falls flat if the personal experience of the organisation doesn’t ring true to what is being portrayed. Like the phone company that says they really care about you but when something goes wrong there’s no number on their website to get to speak to them.
So, a brand is as much about what you do, as who you are, and how you do it.
Carving out time for ourselves
We’ve written a separate blog post about the Newenglish re-brand, so you can take a look at that here, but a major part of that rebranding project was designing and developing our new website. Our old website had served us well for many years, but with our new brand on the way it was the perfect time for a refresh – with our new website being the ideal canvas to showcase our new brand.
You might think that our new website came swiftly, but no, unlike all the websites that we create within an agreed timeline for our clients, our own took much longer than we anticipated, and sometimes felt closer to a giving birth than a creation.
Fitting the project in amongst live client work was always going to be a challenge, but that wasn’t the crux of it. It wasn’t until we all became involved, well over a year down the line, that the site really began to take shape – and it has been a delight to see the team coming together and all bringing their skills, opinions and insight into the site, making it something that we all truly own as an honest expression of who we are, what we do, and what it is that we achieve for our clients.
The new brand taking shape and being internally ‘signed off’ by us all was a huge turning point in the website too, of course, because without a brand personality, the simplicity of the look and feel that we were striving for, especially in complex sections like our HONDA story, for instance, couldn’t take on their true visual presence, even though we had already designed and built the user experience.
Animation and moving image are very much part of all websites and social media content that we design now, and we went through a few in-detail animated header designs – until our new brand so naturally gave us the opportunity to unfold our new N at the front of the website in an animation, which adds pure delight into the site
Our days are spent helping our clients to see their true picture, but we weren’t giving ourselves the time for telling our own story. For us it was only lack of time, and for a short moment there, this was the gift that the pandemic gave to us. We have learnt that we need to take the time, on-going
Hero our work
By far the most important role of our new website was to showcase our work, and to help people understand the value of good design. That is makes a tangible difference to our clients businesses. We’re proud of our creative work at Newenglish and want our new website to show both the high-quality and the sheer variety of our design projects. Using engaging page layouts, linked by a visually-intuitive project menu, we allow the user to navigate between our projects quickly and with ease.
We pride ourselves on delivering creative solutions for our clients every touchpoint, which often means our projects span different design disciplines. Take The Ralph Veterinary Hospital for example. Not only did we create their brand and design their website – we also designed the hospital interior, sourcing furniture, advising on the layout and best use of space, creating large-format wallpapers and delivering an internal wayfinding system. We also designed the external signage on and around the building.
The layout for our new project pages allows us to quickly tell the full story by walking the user through this entire body of work, rather than focusing on any particular element.
Making it easy
As with all websites we make, getting the user experience right is always central to our website designs. So we’ve built the site on a simple structure, with visually-intuitive layouts and an easy-to-use navigation – meaning that anybody visiting our site can get to, and hop between, the content they want to see, quickly and easily.
The Newenglish perspective
Another key goal of our new website was to maximise our blog.
Blogs give a great opportunity for story telling in a more personal and informal way. We want to use ours to air the thoughts and opinions of the whole team at Newenglish. We cover a variety of subjects from Delving in where we provide further insight into our projects and design processes, to Ways of Seeing where we discuss wider issues in the design world and beyond.
We also added two new categories, Views from the Outside where we ask a guest to contribute a post on subject of their choosing (if you’d like to be considered for a guest post please get in touch), and a category called Vintage Newenglish where we dive into the archives to shine a light on interesting projects from years gone by (which still look great today!) and of course our New Work category.
We’re hoping you’ll have a read when you grab your morning coffee.
It’s just the beginning…
We’re really proud of our new website and the way it showcases our work and our new brand. We’re already seeing some really positive analytics in regards to site traffic and usability too – but don’t just take our word for it, take a look for yourself and let us know us what you think.
Oh, and watch this space as we add more of our creations to the work section!
Love your new website – pleasing to the eye, lots of lovely imagery, positive, creative…just lovely. Well done.Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board & Finance Director | The Ralph
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