New branding and web design for the centenary of architecture practice Mountford Pigott

One of the great things about being a designer is that very specific deadlines are fairly rare. The result of that is not prevarication or delay, quite the reverse – we all want to get our work done, make clients happy and to see it out in the world. But at the same time, in general, creative work requires time and consideration. It’s done when it’s done. So, efficiency is welcomed but ‘design emergencies’ are scarce.

However, we’ve had a set of projects recently where both creativity and a finish line has been part of the brief. The most recent of these has been the branding and web design project for Mountford Pigott, an architecture practice celebrating their centenary in 2021. In this case, the calendar couldn’t be dodged. As we began work in September, we all knew a new look had to be out in the world at the turn of the year.

There was no way around it: the clock was ticking.

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Celebrating our 2020 design client testimonials

Running this business, I love the fact that we have clients who stay with us over many years. What we do for them over all that time varies so much: some involve projects that dovetail, perpetuate or more usually evolve their branding. I expect much of our work to be project-based, so it’s particularly satisfying (as well as being enjoyable) to maintain these connections. What can I say, working relationships can be great too.

Most satisfyingly, we have some clients who have us on a retainer basis, requiring ongoing materials, month-in, month-out. Whichever model they choose, the most important thing is to treat all clients the same and apply an engaged, creative mindset that avoids being emotionally attached to stale ideas. This past summer we’ve had some great feedback from new clients and old as we’ve wrapped projects that were mostly completed during lockdown, in less than perfect circumstances.

The end result is a set of 2020 design client testimonials that I’m really proud of – and also present a set of highly varied work too.

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Our special niche: bespoke web design that’s neither DIY nor break-the-bank

The first thing people always say to me when they call about a new website is – can you tell me the cost? Which is fair, I get that. Our clients consider budgets very carefully and running a business, that’s what I do too. However I sometimes wonder if the best initial question is rather, how will you approach this project? It will be, after all, the primary way of reaching people and vital to future growth. Of course this ‘approach’ changes. Our design process has evolved over the years but this year has been breathtaking. Few windows of time have moved quite as rapidly as 2020. In particular the ways in which we apply our usual creative, bespoke web design techniques to the ‘very pandemic’ necessity of virtual working have been unexpectedly exciting.

As we speed towards the end of this bizarre year, there are a set of projects we’ve completed which capture the essence of this. Each has something specific about it that makes the work stand out, capturing one element of the kismet about this space.

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Shoot for the moon: our new venture capital brand and web design project

Everyone loves new beginnings. That visceral thrill of a totally fresh start. Some people thrive on the adrenaline of casting everything old to the four winds and reimagining their home, personal life… and of course, business. While I couldn’t live my entire life this way, for me there’s a jolt of this feeling every time I discuss a ‘blank slate’ project with a completely new client.

It’s for this reason that I’ve never been able to resist working with a startup.

There’s an amazing creative freedom that few other opportunities offer, so few barriers and preconceptions. In recent months a venture capital brand and web design project has fulfilled these impulses – for a new firm called Moonfire Ventures.

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Facing the future: branding and web design for the energy industry

In the past year, by total coincidence we’ve worked on a set of different projects which are considering the future of energy. In particular, this has involved working with businesses which consider how energy is stored and new ways of creating it. We’ve worked with research projects, where tangible results are sometimes years in the making.

They tend to involve (I’ve noticed as a lay observer who has technology to them explained in fairly simple language) a blend of entirely new thinking with accepted theory. My other observation is that none of these projects get off the ground without… investment. It’s the key to it all. And people working on new energy, renewables, often apply knowledge learned working on the old variety – oil and gas.

When we become involved in branding and web design for the energy industry, it’s often either because a startup needs to up their game visually – or in our most recent project, because an established energy investment firm has changed focus.

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The changing face of diamond jewellery website design in Bangkok

Of all the things I’ve learned in the last six months, the most valuable is that the world is much smaller than I thought. When you put your mind to it, distance isn’t an obstacle but an opportunity. Let me explain.

About a year ago, I began an exchange with Wit Sudjaimpun, the director of Above Diamond, a custom jeweller in the legendary Ban Mo diamond district of Bangkok. Wit’s family have been involved in the diamond trade for generations, both in the wholesale and retail sides of the business.

With an eye on the future, Wit was keen to start again online. His challenge to us was – can we complete the branding and diamond jewellery website design project he had in mind, from London?

This is that story.

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