Posted by Diggory Gordon
9 April, 2014

Being authentic is genuinely a challenge to most brands.

When we first sat down with Tresco Island and started tentatively talking about the website, the word authentic leapt out instantly.

Before a mouse has been moved, a pen picked up, or information architecture explored, we like to ask questions. Most of those questions revolve around how, why and what. How do you want your customers to use your website? Why do you do what you do in a business sense? What is the end goal? More units sold, more bums on seats, more charitable donations? You get the idea.

Tresco though, felt different. A whole island to contend with. Businesses within businesses, restaurants, working fisherman, a gallery owner who swims every morning at 6am (yes, it is as cold as it sounds), charities, events, world-class gardens, and binding it all together, the people who make the island tick.

We began by breaking down the main challenges of the island. How do I get here? Where do I stay? Where can I eat and what can I do when I arrive? We felt that each section needed its own visual personality and content strategy, not a one-size-fits-all approach. Four websites within one. It made the client excited and the designers enthused. It gave our developers headaches.

Each area posed its own unique problem, with individual briefs within something much larger, but underlining everything was the same word: authenticity.

Take just one of those problems: how do I get there? Both a political hot potato with the disappearance of the helicopter link and a matter of confusion for those who have never been before. After a series of workshops we decided to create a level of information hierarchy. On the first level, a light touch dispelling the myths of how hard it is to get there underpinned with a secondary level of all the core information you could ever need – from hotels to stay in en route to mooring costs. Once the strategy of the section had been resolved, the content mapped out and agreed, came the fun part: the aesthetic.

We wanted to capture the genuine spirit of adventure in getting to an island, so we commissioned illustration based around the golden era of travel. We wanted to glorify that in an era where you can hop on a plane and be in most places within a few hours, the essence of what Tresco is all about is very different: a small by-plane, a concierge service to the docks, the smell of sea spray as you take the powerboat to one of any number of landing points depending on the tide, the sense of relaxation when you get picked up in a tractor (a luxury one of course), knowing you don't have to worry about where your bags will be... All this made us want to sell the journey to Tresco as much as the island itself.

Creating a point of difference is important to all of the brands we work with. Sometimes the easy things, the things which people expect, blend into the background and get lost. We wanted to be brave with Tresco and stand apart. The proof is in the pudding regarding how it’ll increase numbers of bookings, but we’re confident in our small piece of the larger website jigsaw. We’ll keep you posted.

Discover more about the Tresco website here.

The brief

An illustration brief, with written descriptions and mood-board pictures.

The result

An iPad with the Tresco website loaded.
The Tresco website on an iPad.