About the Client
The client is a multifamily real estate development and operating company with a diverse portfolio of institutional quality multifamily rental communities across the US. It has a 31,800-unit pipeline of communities ranging from operating to under pre-development that exceeds $12 billion of high-rise, mid-rise, and garden apartments.
With 60+ luxury apartment communities, the client was looking for a scalable approach to manage sub-branding for their property websites. To do this, they hoped to provide their content marketers with modern web authoring tools, specifically Acquia Site Studio, on a single scalable platform that allowed them to adopt sub-brand theming through a flexible design framework.
As part of our design discovery, the client identified three prioritized audiences and property types: high-rise, urban, and luxury. With these audiences and properties in mind, our design system approach had to be mindful of the sub-branding considerations required to spin up distinct property websites using a set number of themes.
The key challenges were:
- Equipping the centralized marketing team with a flexible universal set of themes that meets the digital needs of their three unique audiences and property types and a highly distributed team of regional property marketing managers
- Using themes to enable the client's marketers with a self-service model for website creation, reducing reliance on outside agencies to produce one-off designs for each sub-property website—accelerating time to market from months to days and weeks
In our discovery, we worked with the client to establish a framework for how theming could be leveraged through the design process. We reviewed key property types offered by the client, conducted an analysis of decor styles that influenced homebuilding across the nation, and looked to express these home design aesthetics through web design.
During our design phase, we priortized high-rise, urban, and luxury property types. These property types were most common in the client's portfolio of homes, and represented a broad aesthetic look, one that could be applied universally with very minor changes to typography and color schemes.
Our approach included:
- Identifying key property types and aesthetics, and looking at the design influences across these property types
- Reviewing existing branding for prioritized property types, and translating these into flexible theming structures within Acquia Site Studio
- Designing three universal themes that reflect the key property types: high-rise, urban, luxury—and creating style guides to inform usage and guidance
We leveraged Site Studio’s preconfigured Themes and Helper Templates, which allow community websites to be quickly created and modified. We used them to offer three themes based on property type, market, and style. The themes allow key property brand elements to be customized, while delivering unique community websites on the fly.
The High-Rise theme is geared towards residents looking for “modern” and “elevated” features in their living space. So the design explores offset treatments around imagery and overlapping typography for a more unique look that is textured, and full of depth. We also introduced gradients and overlayed design motifs to give the designs a luxury feel. Gradients used were reminiscent of glass materials, while the overlapping elements gave it form and structure. We highlighted content as a design element by using texture, and layering over imagery and backgrounds. High-Rise also uses prominent branding elements to layer color background blocks and extend brand colors to the site mosaic and parallax views of imagery.
The Urban theme is targeted towards residents looking for a clean, modern, and community-oriented living space. This theme explores a cleaner look with less visual clutter, an inspiration we took from sleek and modern space-conscious apartment blocks in the city. It uses the outline treatment over imagery in a minimal way and a muted color palette with subtle branding elements. The Urban theme highlights imagery by placing full-color background blocks with thin borders, color washes over full imagery, mosaic views, and overlapping blocks over imagery.
The Luxury theme is geared towards audiences looking for elegance and sophistication. So, the design conveys a cleaner, more sophisticated look and feel, with a subtle use of the modular color blocks and imagery with little-to-no overlapping. To highlight its more refined aesthetic, this design subtly uses light and dark gradients over full imagery. In addition to the highly refined lines, and polished edges, the Luxury theme also has full texture/color background blocks and mosaic views of imagery.