When Suzie and Alastair initially approached us with their plans to turn an old fish-packing warehouse into a cinema, we had mixed emotions. There was excitement at the return of independent cinema to Cornwall, and a desire to do things differently, but also slight fear for them at a business level, thinking about the location and just how different they wanted the experience to be.
They had high aspirations to see this as a catalyst for regeneration and change, and walking around the empty space full of dust and cobwebs, you couldn't help but be inspired. The resultant Newlyn Filmhouse identity was formed from the old stencils that are used to brand the casks of fish, and whilst I loved the craft that went into the project, this isn’t the reason I've chosen it. When I look at Newlyn today and see the likes of Lovetts, Jupiter Gallery and the Newlyn Fermentary, I can't help thinking back to those initial conversations. When you see a project make such positive change to an area, it shows the true power of brand for good.
I’ve worked on so many great projects that it’s hard to choose, but one I’d like to talk about is H Foster & 1875 Ltd. When starting on the re-brand, we looked at the industry they are in and I felt we could make a huge impact on how they could stand out with a really strong and beautiful brand identity. I loved looking back at the history of the company as it has been going since 1875, and we used lovely elements like the bricks they have around the old sign where their business has been in Leeds for over 100 years, as the inspiration for the 1875 logo.
On developing the chosen brand, I was able to see how this could then be used across a general website, and then a functioning ecommerce website – which was really interesting!
I also loved finding a solution to their product imagery problem. They supply many products, some of which aren’t very aesthetically pleasing, and some that can look very similar, but these have different elements within them that H Foster wanted to showcase. A photo shoot for all of them would have been incredibly expensive. We were able to do some really clever Photoshop work, to create images for over 100 products, but without needing to shoot very many.
We also did a fantastic photo shoot for the candle and soap making section of the business – we chose a beautiful property managed by our lovely clients Latitude50 and the shots we got from this enhanced H Foster’s image bank significantly, compared to where they were before the rebranding.
Having been born and raised in Cornwall, I've always known it was a special place.
It was therefore a huge privilege to be selected in 1998 to design 'Cornwall For Ever, Kernow Bys Vyken', a book produced to mark the millennium and given to 20,000 school children in Cornwall. We were delighted to create an accompanying website some 15+ years later to encourage new audiences to recognise just what a special place it is. Kernow Bys Vyken!
As a branding project, Golden & Co (case study coming soon!) was a great experience.
I enjoyed visiting Trewithen House and Gardens, walking around the grounds, taking inspiration and capturing photographs of architectural and structural motifs to draw inspiration.
I think the finished identity nicely captures the sentiments of its environment, whilst drawing on the principals of reiterative agriculture. I’m particularly pleased with the colour scheme; it feels warm and welcoming, but also classic and steeped in heritage, much like the estate.
I’ve been with Nixon for over seven years now, and in that time I’ve had the opportunity to work on a huge variety of projects, with some brilliant clients. One of the projects I’d love to highlight (just as Martin does, but this time from a content perspective) dates back to 2018, when we created the website for Cornwall For Ever! I’ve actually still got my copy of the millennium book (the predecessor to this website), which I was given during my time in secondary school, so it was lovely to be a part of reimagining it for a modern audience.
This project was different to the norm in many ways – there was a huge amount of content to plan, wrangle and edit, and our primary audience was school-aged children, rather than adults. I was able to create simple tone of voice guidelines for the project’s many contributors, edit supplied articles, and research and write some of the entries myself. Writing for children is completely different to writing for adults, and I loved learning more about this and challenging myself in a new direction. The website was also a true team effort across Nixon, involving design, art direction, and development, and the end result still makes me smile today.
I’ve only been at Nixon for around six months, so I haven’t been at the forefront of many projects. I have, however, enjoyed working on websites where so much thought and skill goes into both their design and usability. Examples would be the impactful use of video on sites like boatfolk and Pendennis, and the playful boat loading overlay on Latitude50.
One of my most interesting projects to date is the redesign of the Duchy of Cornwall Nursery website from our previous iteration. It enabled us to bring the website more in line with the brand and focus on how audiences' needs and desires had changed over the years.
Later came the UX challenge of Click & Collect, which allowed website visitors to not only buy their plant products but also their food and drink offerings, which was critical for commerce during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
One project I'd like to highlight is the rebranding of Latitude50. I loved that the project spanned the whole of our team: from establishing values, to the creation of the brand identity, through to the website and signage, it was all encompassing. This led to an authentic and powerful brand change, meaning you could really see the impact in their marketing. I also enjoyed working with photographers and illustrators throughout to help bring it to life.
It was also getting to know the operations side of the business that was both interesting but also vitally important for us as we developed a new website with a booking engine integration. This meant that the website was not only customer focussed, but made a real impact on the team internally, when it came to how they operated the business.
I really enjoyed working closely with Katy, their marketing lead, throughout the process too – her commitment to the brand is what makes it such a success.
The Scarlet and Bedruthan project was everything we like to see in a web project, drawing skills from all areas of the team. Despite the two hotels being only a stone’s throw away from one another, the two previous websites lacked cohesion, both visually and technically.
With the two new sites, we were set the challenge of designing and building separate entities that could be managed from the same CMS, whilst providing enough flexibility to make each site unique but easy for content editors to manage. The flowing lines and extensive colour palette were a particular challenge, as we needed to ensure each element could sit alongside any other component to deliver a cohesive design.
Though I’m not directly involved in the creative side of our work, I often see and hear snippets of projects as they go through the studio. I enjoyed watching the new Hotel Meudon website coming together, and this was rounded off nicely when myself and the rest of the Nixon team went to the hotel for an away day back in May. After seeing designs from afar, which were then realised in the finished website, it was lovely to experience the hotel from a customer’s point of view too, and really experience the quality that we were trying to convey.
It has been inspiring to see a company like boatfolk demonstrate a commitment to making genuine, positive change within their sector by setting up the ocean conservation charity, Coastline Deadline.
They’ve used this platform to highlight environmental issues and support pioneering projects that include tackling ocean plastics and protecting marine wildlife. They have also introduced more sustainable practices to their marinas, such as the development of eco mooring buoys and biohuts under pontoons to support the re-wilding of native seahorses.
We worked with boatfolk to create a bold and striking visual narrative around Coastline Deadline, including the development of a cohesive brand identity and campaign video that cut through the noise and delivered a serious message in a way that felt impactful, but ultimately hopeful.
Having previously made only small changes to the boatpoint site, I really enjoyed the much bigger project of restructuring existing sections and creating new functionality.
We completely changed the menu, added a site-wide search and created the ability for users to add boats to a favourites list. We also made smaller layout changes and improvements. It all adds up to create a website that is more enjoyable to use without distracting users from its purpose and I’m really proud of it.