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An analogue approach to digital storytelling


Architects Hawkins\Brown have developed an enviable reputation in the industry with over 25 years of delivering great for their clients. Resulting in more success and an expanding team. Rapid growth is fantastic, but comes with its own set of challenges including keeping their own ‘online’ brand aligned to the reality of their core values and personality.

The team also had a much bigger portfolio of beautiful work that they needed help to organise and communicate in a way that would help potential clients see the range of their talents. Having a website that could communicate the essence of their brand and respond to their evolving needs had become a business critical issue.

Credit: Image by Matthew Stone

Listen, understand, collaborate & create

The Hawkins\Brown team selected The Neighbourhood as a partner who understood their culture, philosophy and process for creating great architecture. Our journey began by investigating how the Hawkins\Brown digital experience could be improved through brand storytelling, design, UX and new features.

Our collaborative workshops with the client team helped us absorb their brand values and creative culture and allowed us to define a functional scope that would deliver a more future proof solution. Following a brand audit we proposed an approach to express their ethos more clearly; creating places with personality and purpose that are well-made, well-used and well-loved.

From post-its to paper prototypes

At the heart of the website we developed an idea for an animated brand film designed to bring their unique story to life. Combining over 5000 photos, 1569 digital prints. 78 custom printed boards. 20 packs of blu tack, 58 members of staff (and 2 of their kids), one bike, one scooter, a cowboy hat, a giant ampersand, and umpteen cups of tea, the stop motion video we produced was one of the most collaborative, satisfying and labour-intensive bits of filmmaking we’ve ever tackled.

The polar opposite of a typical architect’s portfolio reel, the stop motion film brought Hawkins\Brown into the process and captured what is special about their company in 2 playful minutes.

Brand film

The making of Hawkins\Brown

Credit: Gabriela Gmuzdek & The Hawkins \ Brown Team

The human touch

The entire site was rebuilt from the ground up to create a responsive, searchable framework that makes life simpler for everyone. Visitors can navigate the sheer diversity of projects with ease and the client team can amend, categorise, author and cross link new pieces of content with very little training.

Case studies and project pages where re structured and templated for consistency and clarity and re written, art directed and designed to elevate their company ethos and bring out the human side of their collaborative process.

As Hawkins\Brown continue to expand they now have a digital platform that can grow with them. Simple to use, maintain and built around the core values that have brought them success from day one.

‘Working with the Neighbourhood was great. They just ‘got’ us. They were able to articulate our culture and values in a way we never quite managed ourselves. We are often complimented on our website. It really, stands out in the industry and showcases our work and our purpose in a clear, user friendly way’.

Hazel York
Partner Hawkins\Brown

Special Commendation in the 'Best Overall Website Experience' award

Archiboo Awards 2016