Case Study by Shenelle Pankratz RGD
For Reid’s Heritage Homes, one of Ontario’s leading builders, effective design is a key requirement for their community booklets and sales centre graphics.
For over 40 years, Reid's Heritage Homes has developed detached homes, mid-rise condos, two-storeys, executives and bungalow town homes. The community booklet for the mid-rise condo development, Williamsburg Walk, required organizing floor plans, illustrating building site plans, developing pagination layout/page count, selecting paper stock and creating a cohesive theme. I had the privilege to be the lead graphic designer on Reid’s Heritage Homes in-house marketing team for 2 years, working on multiple fun and challenging projects just like this one.
Research and analysis is important before embarking on any real estate community project. This part of the project was proportionately split between myself, my team and an internal analytics department, who determined to which demographic we would market. We needed to understand who we would be selling to by identifying the nationalities most prevalent in the area and the average income bracket and age demographic. We also researched competitors building in the area and the selling points of the development's location. Each community has a unique set of amenities, so information needs to be gathered on what’s convenient so it can be promoted in the sales piece. With this information gathered, it is used to make design decisions like the colour palette, font choice and overall imagery.
The book tells a story with each spread starts with a word that begins with the letter ‘W’. This played off the logo and created continuity throughout the book. The letter W is also embossed on the cover, which required printing white ink on black paper. A thick stock for the cover achieves a rich texture. Because it would be difficult for white ink to penetrate this paper stock, we selected a metallic silver foil that pops off the page and complemented it with a white ink. It forms a subtle grey tone that balances the bright metallic foil.
For the design and layout of the sales centre, our goal was to create a inviting space that was on-brand.
I performed multiple walkthroughs of the new building to analyze the space from the buyer’s perspective. To optimize the flow, it was important for the artwork to draw focus to important elements and communicate information that condo buyers would be looking for.
After establishing the best placement for each element, we measured each wall to ensure accurate sizing for the final artwork. These measurements were especially important for the full wall mural located in the office room and for the floor plan wall displays.
A legible typography design on a computer does not guarantee legibility once the design is on the wall. It was important to continually revisit the site to ensure a successful final product. The floor plan displays needed to be at the right height for visitors to view them easily, and large enough to be read from a comfortable distance.
Along with creating the designs, I assisted in choosing materials for the wall displays and murals. I chose a matte finish for the murals to avoid potential glare, and pin-mounted acrylic panels for the floor displays to add dimension to the wall.
Having a good layout was crucial as hundreds of potential buyers funnelled through the sales centre on the grand opening day. The graphics and print materials were well received by both customers and the client, ultimately helping contribute to a successful grand opening day for the condominium.
From conceptual design to final installation, the project took me 3 months to complete. The result was a customer friendly, cohesive brand design that helped the client make the sale of the condominium building a success.
Although last minute changes are common in the home building industry, I found myself needing to adjust to constant revisions from other departments. For example, when a floor plan layout was revised by an architect, it was my job to ensure all artwork in the booklet and within the sales centre was up-to-date and accurate. Working in this environment taught me to be flexible and patient.
Remain organized and communicate well. When working with so many moving parts, different departments and those constant revisions, it is important to give yourself deadlines and take initiative. Many problems can be avoided by giving as much information up-front to avoid back-and-forth and wasted valuable time.
In the end, when you’re working with a team, it’s important to remember you’re all working towards the same goal. Find the best way to work together to produce the best results!