arrow-down Arrow-Left Arrow-Left Arrow-Left Arrow-Left CircleFacebook twitter-inline locationplay twitter

Background

Since 1903, Gainsborough has been producing some of the world’s finest interior, furnishing fabrics. Specialising in historical reproductions, contemporary new designs and completely bespoke commissions has meant that discerning designers, architects, set designers and even royalty have come through their doors for over a century in search of the most exquisite fabrics; designed, dyed, warped and woven with care and integrity.

To be launched at an international exhibition, our task was to take their vast amount of heritage and unparalleled craftsmanship and translate it into a website that proudly told the Gainsborough story, showcased their fabrics and demonstrated the possibilities; all in a short and succinct time scale.

The Heartbeat

Bringing brand heritage to the modern day.

With such a wide history, one of Gainsborough’s biggest challenges was that it existed almost wholly in the ‘real’ world and was in major need of a digital transformation. With techniques, machinery and fabric swatches dating back more than a century, the idea wasn’t to forget the past but instead use it as a focal point for the future.
Our first objective was to get underneath the skin of the company and understand Gainsborough as a brand, what they did and why they had gained such prestige. This led us to undertaking not just a website redesign, but we used the website as a primary project to create and ‘stress test’ an evolved brand identity.

Getting hands-on

Visiting the Gainsborough Mill opened our eyes to a world of fabrics and fine weaving. We followed the journey of a single thread; winding, warping, weaving its way through the mill. We immersed ourselves into the distinct sights, sounds and processes in order to fully understand the heritage and the premium service that Gainsborough proudly provides to a range of impressive clients.

Quintessentially British

Steeped in British heritage and proudly adorned with the Royal Warrant from Queen Elizabeth II, the new look-and-feel of the website had to reflect the company’s roots. Utilising two of the most well known British typefaces and pairing them with dark, classically British colours, we created a minimalist brand palette with a traditionally British feel.

Editorial-inspired layout

Taking cues from fashion, interior design and architectural communication, the new website was designed to be a digital portfolio of the archive of fabrics and examples of work that wear them. An editorial inspired layout allowed us to layer and collage stunning, detailed imagery by placing textures and fabric swatches next to lifestyle or craft imagery. This created a visual way of storytelling.

Showcasing the craftsmanship

Nobly creating all of their fabrics from scratch, the Gainsborough Mill is a unique place that reverberates the sounds, sights and smells of traditional weaving techniques and the looms on which craftspeople weave.

One of our key objectives in designing the new website was to showcase this idea across a new digital presence and show the painstaking amount of time, passion and detail that goes into creating each individual masterpiece – committed to excellence.

Using short bursts of information, paired with beautiful imagery and videography, we were able to give true insight into the Mill, the process and a good understanding of the craftsmanship within.

Simplifying the Archive

Bringing fabric swatches in to the digital world.

With a growing archive of fabrics stretching back to the company’s inception in 1903, one of the challenges was the sheer quantity of fabrics. Previously, the only way clients could see the range of fabrics was to either be sent some fabric swatch images or visit the Mill themselves and dive into the archive books. With the majority of clients being well informed in what they were looking for this made the entire process laboriously slow, and comparing colours and patterns could prove to be a difficult task.
Whilst nothing compares to the senses when you visit the Mill in person, we took this analogue process and turbo charged it, creating a new browse section within the website. This area clearly displayed the full collection of swatches within the archive in one place, using clear, detailed imagery which, once clicked, can be seen at almost full screen size. To make it even simpler for users to find what they were looking for, we added a filtering process that seamlessly allowed for fabric styles to be found by the choice of colour, reason for use, collection or period the fabric was created.

Results

The design and evolution of the new website, and brand identity, has helped to move an almost completely paper-based business model into an active and efficient, digital brand.

The website has given a new lease of life to the Gainsborough brand whilst at the same time honouring the history within. It has also given Gainsborough the freedom of showing their vast archive of fabrics, simply and in one place, remote from the Mill, meaning that clients can get a quicker understanding of their offering and overall a more efficient experience.

We’re looking forward to how their audience and clientele engages with the website and the new brand evolution, and look forward to helping progress the brand further in the future.

If you’re interested in working with us then please

Email us