Building a new Digital-First Foundation for Newman Architects
Some of our favorite businesses are often the ones in our own backyard. Newman Architects is responsible for building some of the most life-enriching buildings along the East Coast. They've got a stacked team of experts and portfolio of work to boot. But what they didn't have was a way to showcase it that aligned to who they were today and where they were going moving forward; one that was dynamic, digitally-enabled, and designed with a new appetite for scale in mind.
After months of collaboration, exploration, and iteration between our collective teams, we completely redesigned and redeveloped Newman Architect’s brand and digital experience. We simplified and refined the firm’s brand identity with a new logo and wordmark. We created and implemented a 360º design system that both details the correct usage of Newman’s brand elements and serves as a repository for their team to quickly find and use design assets. Finally, we put all of it together in a full site redesign, rebuild in a way that spoke to the human-centered ethos of Newman’s own work, bringing all facets of the brand together for a cohesive digital experience predicated on the physical world.
The first step in our project with Newman Architects was revisiting the visual identity of the brand. Existing in a crowded market with many brands stylized in a similar predominantly-abstract fashion, Newman sought a refresh of their wordmark that still fit with the general aesthetic of the industry. To do this, we created a powerful and modern wordmark by pairing custom uppercase typography with a bright and airy color palette. To pair with the wordmark, we created a symbol that differentiates the Newman name while also celebrating it. The “N” becomes the hero, framed by a blue bar beneath it to portray the brand’s foundational impact on people and places, both literally and physically.
Like every other industry, architecture is becoming digitized. Yet unlike some, there is still a heavy presence of pen, pencil, and paper involved in the design of buildings, as well as the communications that make it all happen. This requires firms like Newman to maintain a standard of branding in a multitude of places, from email signatures and business cards to letterheads and envelopes. The only way to maintain such a standard in every brand communication, particularly at companies where they are the responsibility of more than one person, is to implement a design system.
For Newman, our design system was made to inform and direct all visual executions of the brand, both online and off. Besides detailing logo, color, composition, and typography, it also dictates the brand’s usage of motion and provides a full suite of icons that speak to the various sectors of life and business that Newman serves. To make it increasingly accessible to all members of the Newman team, we housed the design system on an open URL, giving the firm’s employees the ability to quickly and easily download assets as they needed them. In a business world that’s moving faster with each passing day, a design system like Newman’s can make an enormous difference in productivity.
With the brand identity and design system in place, we charged ahead toward the redesign of Newman’s digital experience. We devised a site strategy that called for a design that was evocative of architecture and supported by a clean, easily navigable UX—one that championed both the work and the people behind it. With agreement on this strategy in place, We went forward with wireframing the site experience itself, identifying the different components we needed to design and develop while also nailing down the necessary content types and dictating user flows that were the most logical and user-friendly. In the end, we had high-fi wires that represented our version of a blueprint—now it was just time to design and build.
Building off of our strategy to champion both the work of Newman and the people behind it, we took a human-centered and project-focused approach to the overall website design and development. From a user-friendly UX to the detailed and descriptive “People” and “Knowledge Group” pages, the entire web experience is exceedingly human, which successfully sets itself apart in the architecture industry. And when it came to displaying Newman’s work, we devised a creative yet logical information architecture based on project industry and category to enable users to rapidly find whatever type of case study they’re looking for. Once there, they get an in-depth and highly visual “tour” of their chosen project, including a list of all Newman team members who worked on it. The end result is a sleek and sophisticated digital experience that could expedite the business development and recruiting processes of Newman Architects.
Let’s help you rebuild your digital brand experience.