Responses by Offset
Background: Paul Hobbs is recognized around the globe for his contributions to wine. The redesign of the website for his eponymous home base was initiated as part of a larger effort to realign Paul Hobbs Winery’s brand with the spirit of its founder.
Highlights: While unconventional navigation was pursued, the heart of the site is the tension created between Erik Castro’s documentary style photography and Marjorie Leggitt’s scientific illustrations. Paul equally values the scientific and the intuitive—it was important for the site’s content to reinforce that central idea.
Challenges: From a technical perspective, working out the bugs in the “sliding panel” functionality; for example, small but important details, such as making sure the browser’s back button worked as the user expected were especially time-consuming. From a content perspective, we spent a lot of time working with the client to identify the “defining characteristics” of the estate vineyards that could be communicated quickly through illustration without oversimplifying.
Navigational structure: Taking its cue from Paul’s innovative spirit, the website breaks convention with a split screen layout. The left panel presents a series of editorial-style stories, while the right panel offers site navigation with links to more “matter of fact” content. Sliding panel functionality alludes to turning pages, and the dynamic of having the left panel speak to the emotional side of the brand, while the right panel presents more objective factual information, is carried throughout the site.
Anything new: It’s easy to make the mistake of assuming that established wine brands need to present themselves in a conventional manner. Working closely with Paul and his team, we were struck by how appropriate an unconventional approach was for the website—which in retrospect, shouldn’t have been a surprise given Paul’s history of innovation. As with all of our projects, casting aside assumptions and truly listening to our clients is essential.