This project took place at Multiple States whilst I was director between 2014 and 2017. We wrote our case studies as interviews between members of the team. Here is that interview. Credits for everyone specifically associated with the project are at the end of the article.
Ore is a design company specialising in the design and manufacture of landscape architectural elements. This was a joint project with 7D8.
Will McLean talks to Kevin Beck about working with an American agency and the importance of content.
Does design lead development in this project or is it the other way around?
Design definitely starts the process and sets a direction. But development helps to set the foundations of these designs by setting rules that ensure the whole site is visually coherent. Because we set base styles based on the designs, we can build the whole site quickly and with confidence that every element will not only work together but will truly represent the original ideas in the design.
The typography is beautiful and very consistent throughout the site. How do you as a developer work on typography with an external design team?
As mentioned, our studio focuses heavily on setting base styles for the site. Setting the base styles meant working closely with 7D8 on the typographic system. We looked at the designs and set a mathematical scale that defined the increases in size, line-height and margins on all typographic elements from captions to titles. This scale serves to create consistency and reduce development time. It also leads to visually pleasing relationships between seemingly unrelated elements.
The limited colour palette creates a very calm atmosphere. Tell us about working with such a palette.
This colour palette is needed to focus the user’s attention on the imagery. It is a scale of greys, which makes the colour in the photography really stand out. The impact of the imagery is heightened when the rest of the site has such a subtle palette. When a studio sets such a nice palette it makes the development immensely satisfying. It allows our development work, such as image rollovers, to look very impressive.
You designed the mobile version of the site in browser. What does this mean and why did you do this?
The traditional method of working between a design and development agency is for the design agency to provide the development agency with designs and the development agency to match those pixel for pixel. This is a time intensive process. For this project 7D8 put trust in our understanding of the project’s design concepts. This meant we could design the mobile version of the site whilst building it. This is called designing “in browser”. This saves a great amount of time, as one doesn’t have to design every page and section for several devices and then go back and build them. It also has the benefit of testing the designs with real content in a real environment (the browser) on the fly.
The Case Studies are unusual little modules within which there is a lot to discover. Tell me about developing them.
These case studies have a lot of information. The modules were designed to deliver this information in a clever way, taking care not to overload the user. I really like how you can scroll down a page and see all the case studies clearly. We worked with 7D8 to develop a few techniques that would help do this, such as linking products on the site to case studies, and making the slider touch sensitive, so the site worked well on mobile.