The previous version of Tilt’s online domain was five years old, though an ever reliable platform to show off our work. Over time we have seen the old-timer cry out for a new, contemporary execution that reflects our creative approach today. There has been a few team members brave enough to attempt the mighty re-design, with several interpretations hovering on a server somewhere, but no concrete approach has ever been plotted and prepped.
Back to present day, or, well, September 2014, and the three musketeers (founders / directors / people that pay me) finally sat down and agreed that it was time for a definitive evolution at www.wearetilt.com. Their first port of call, to find a naive, semi-balding gentlemen amongst their ranks to delegate the task of the initial planning stage…
I took on the task willingly (again, they pay me) and began to outline the initial criteria required to progress to the creative stage. The first item on the docket was to gain an understanding of the Tilt culture and the team’s perception of what the Tilt brand meant to each of them. Tilt is as much the team as it is a business entity designed to help other business entities. Me and Katie (project manager and key member of the marketing team) went about creating an exercise that would have members of the team evaluate their own perception of the brand. Similar to a closed card-sort, we created three categories: ‘No way is’, ‘It maybe is’ and ‘It definitely is’, followed by a series of varying notions such as ‘strategic’, ‘crazy’ and ‘sophisticated’. After only a few participants, we had already gained a strong understanding of Tilt’s unspoken qualities.
Tilt are experts.
Tilt is evolving.
Tilt are friendly.
Tilt are strategists.
Tilt are experimental.
Tilt IS the team.
You might just start to gather an idea of how the homepage copy came to be. With these ideologies printed on the whiteboard wall of the meeting room, we subconsciously gave ourselves a blueprint for the creative direction a few phases down the line.
Being our own client for once, there was less discovery required than other projects, less time getting to know the business behind the brief, instead the biggest task of the initial phase was the content strategy and information architecture. I created an initial content structure and then turned to Paul Mallaghan, chief strategist and Gabrielle’s favourite Scot, to help me define the taxonomies and tone of voice in a style that reflected the previous brand workshop.
I then began to sit on my lonesome and draft some low-fidelity wireframes that Chris (CD of interactive) could review and query. After weeks of evolving wireframes, we began to see a strong framework for the approaching visual design. Using both the brand study and refined UI layout as a foundation, Chris and the design team saw this stage of the project as a catalyst to reinvent the digital aspects of the Tilt brand. Replacing Georgia with Merriweather, Helvetica with our beloved and on-brand typeface Sero, we began to instigate minor design tweaks that would bring major impact to the site’s aesthetic.
With a modular structure acting as the skeleton for all pages, the motion and film team began to plan out the media requirements of the site whilst the interactive team (composed of design and development) began to discuss the technical considerations and innovations available to us. As the creative team began to draft mobile-first responsive designs for the parent level templates, the development team began to build the foundation and setup the CMS. Myself, Dave (Senior Designer) and Chris would frequently gather over the latest version and critique away, in a constant state of iteration.
As our beloved clients walked through the door and the project board quickly maxed out. The project held on by a finger, the empire closed in… but our optimism was suddenly re-awakened as Stig (Steven) Coldham, our Head of Motion decided to blow our minds with an awesome showreel he had been cooking up in the editing suite. Honestly, I thought he’d just been sleeping in there for a week, turns out the man’s magic. And whilst I love the music, if it keeps getting played in the office, I’m sure it will become like any song you set as your alarm sound in the morning. Fingers crossed it won’t.
As the major production phase hit the project management boards and the copywriting team hid in cafes, we injected supreme coder Miles with a saline drip of original Lucozade and chocy biscuits, hoping he would last until the beta phase. Sure we were our own client, but as our lovable commercial manager (who will remain nameless, first name begins with a ‘G’) would say, ‘Time is money’, we set ourselves strict deadlines. Meeting them was an absolute joy and required a few late nights for a few members of the development team. As we reached completion of the major build phase, we began a series of internal QAs in a funnel strategy, firstly small groups looking for particular bugs and issues, followed by mass hysteria. As it all slowly and painfully came together, we quickly realised we had arrived at something we could be very proud of.
Welcome to the new Tilt site. It’s in phase one.