You may have noticed a distinct difference to our website recently. If you did, then thanks for following our journey! If not, then welcome! We wanted to document some of the process, why we did it and also what benefits it has (beyond looking great!).
This is fairly straightforward. Your brand is the first thing a potential customer sees, and your website is a modern-day shop window. With 100% of our marketing being either online or via personal referrals, we needed to ensure that our shop window reflected the services our customers receive.
The honest truth is that we have never invested in branding for npd. We’ve always developed our own logo and then cobbled together a website to showcase the work we’ve completed for our clients. But the cracks were starting to show. We didn’t have a consistent style of showcasing these projects. We didn’t have a consistent message that was going out to the viewers and, in our opinion, we weren’t doing justice to the designs that we had created.
Firstly, we talked to the experts. Just as people turn to us to deliver world-class product and industrial design, we turned to old friends, and talented creatives, Mark Arrowsmith and Gary Toal, to help us deliver a brand that better reflected us.
They guided us through the entire process, which followed a process very similar to how we deliver innovative products to our clients. Starting with research into both npd as well as the competitor landscape, we were able to get a really clear snapshot of the current state of the industry. This provided both inspiration as well guidance on what we did not want.
After developing a brand strategy and archetype for us, we then started what turned out to be a very long and thought provoking discussion on our name. In the end, we reviewed hundreds of potential new names for the business, and although some of them were fantastic, none of them sat with us quite as naturally as npd. We struggled to let go of our heritage and the struggles it has taken to get us to this point. For those who don’t know, we were originally called North Product Design, but had been shortening our name to npd for many years, so it just made sense for us to build upon that foundation rather than start from scratch.
Mark then proceeded to work his magic and show us various concepts that explored different aesthetics, whilst Gary created our brand pillars, messaging and tone of voice, eventually combining everything in a final package that enabled us to view everything together. Having an external input on these most personal elements of the business was amazing. Gary was able to articulate what we’d struggled to put across for years, whilst Mark gave us the platform and art direction from which to best showcase our talents and clients’ work.
The next step was to bring in our long-time partner and all round lovely chap, Paul Jardine, to translate the flat designs into a fully functioning website. This sounds like an easy task, but the effort that went in to ensuring the entire brand look and feel translated to a working and moving website was incredible.
It then fell back to us to provide completely new content for all the pages, following the art direction from Mark. Again, this was a mammoth task as we needed new photography of the team at work, as well as headshots. Every case study needed revising to ensure that we were putting the design and process across in the best manner, telling the story of the journey we had been on with the client.
You will have seen us talking about sustainability within the development of products, but we also wanted to make sure that our digital footprint was just as considered as the products we produce. It’s not often considered, but all online content needs to be stored somewhere physically and that it takes energy to transmit and download that content to be viewed. Every website has a carbon footprint and we wanted to ensure that ours was as small as possible, without compromising on the quality of the content.
Paul has been championing sustainability for years now and we’re proud to say that our new website pushes that agenda even further. It currently generates only 0.09g of CO2 per page load and scores in the top 9% of all sites tested on the Website Carbon Calculator and is rated “Great” on the Beacon website tester.
How this was accomplished:
- Images are compressed into webp format and use ‘lazy loading’ so they are only loaded in when needed as you scroll down the page.
- In addition, images are loaded in at sizes dependent on the screen displaying them, so viewers on a phone will load in a smaller sizes image than desktop uses.
- Vector graphics such as the logo are embedded directly into the page code.
- Our hosting package runs on sustainable energy, compresses files and uses server caching to minimise load time.
Overall, it’s taken over 12 months and almost 200 hours of work to get to the stage we’re at now. But this isn’t the end of the process. We’re incredibly proud to have a brand image that shows who we are before you meet us, and we’re excited to continue adding to that content and build upon this foundation for years to come.
If you want to find out more about how we can help you bring good ideas to life, please get in touch below.