Responses by Aimee Lehto, associate creative director; Michael Mesker, associate creative director; Brad Nowak, project manager; Becky Sanders, creative director; and David Sieren, studio partner and director of design and strategy, One Design Company.
Background: HOLLY HUNT is a luxury, to-the-trade custom furnishings company that has been setting the standard for the industry since 1984. The team came to One Design looking to transform their digital experience, and we harnessed the power of user research and human-centered design to create a solution as modern, service-oriented and beautiful as the brand itself.
The site is a supremely functional tool for interior design professionals who work with HOLLY HUNT, as well as a modern luxury experience through which the furnishings company can articulate the story of its brand and its latest creations.
Target audience: Designers use the site to shop and specify products, so we made sure the site functioned as an immersive digital showroom and online catalog. We wanted to include the design story of each piece through compelling (but scannable) sound bites that designers would then be able to use when selling specific pieces to their clients.
Through our research, we learned about the complexities of custom orders and how around-the-clock access to order information and next steps would help designers keep their projects moving. We created a comprehensive account management portal that gives designers control over their orders, including transparency into shipping status, approving cuttings and samples, and 24/7 access to their local showrooms and sales representatives. Adding this functionality to the site was completely on brand, extending the impeccable service that designers associate with HOLLY HUNT into the digital space.
Design core: The new design system brings the brand’s modern, minimal aesthetic to life in the digital space through an elevated use of typography and a content-first user-experience, leveraging immersive video and editorial photography to embody the brand’s point of view. We collaborated closely with the HOLLY HUNT team to inform a new photo art direction that captures the essence of the brand’s mystique and design sensibility through rich, atmospheric lighting and cinematic staging.
Favorite details: The research process and how it backed every decision we made on the site. We harnessed the power of user research and human-centered design to give experts a fresh look at their own industry and serve their clients even better. Our user research included interviews, analysis and insights, journey mapping, ethnographic studies, prototyping, and usability testing. In-depth field research involved design studio immersions, showroom shadowing and secret shopping trips, plus an audit of inspirational peers and analogous luxury experiences. Through it, we gained a deep understanding of the interior designer’s processes, pain points, requirements and expectations when it comes to interactions with luxury vendors online and off.
Challenges: Translating a primarily print-focused brand to the digital space. HOLLY HUNT is a very minimal brand, which challenged us to think creatively about accessibility, wayfinding and navigational cues. On top of that, we also had to translate the many stakeholders’ visions, opinions and decades of brand experience to the site design, making a cohesive experience that everyone would love.
Navigation structure: We used black fields throughout the site to indicate primary and secondary menus. The black background provides a sense of drama and glamour as well as increased legibility for an elegant, yet accessible navigation experience.
The menu slides out and floats over content, which makes it feel like you haven’t left the page. That was very intentional; we wanted to let users browse products easily or jump deeper into the site without multiple clicks. The design of the sliding menu was inspired by the tactical nature of interior design work, handling and layering textile samples. Seeing, touching and feeling, and sliding things around is part of their process.