HCMA Architecture + Design Website

Brand Strategy, Communication Design, Marketing Communications, Website

An architectural practice with an eye to the future, exploring an unconventional online experience and break from the constraints of conventional practice.


“Give me a website that isn’t a website!” was the challenge from HCMA principal Darryl Condon. It meant breaking from the mold of expectation for the website of an architecture practice. The question, “What’s possible?” drove the firm, as well as a desire to become an agent of positive change in the world. The first big challenge for us was in defining the project. The next was working within today’s available technologies and pushing boundaries, while not abandoning our target audiences.


Following a total strategic brand research, visioning and identity process, the site was intended to be a key brand touchpoint and representation of the complete re-conception of the firm. The goal of the site was to break new ground, to not simply comply to a series of expectations.

Even non-conformist websites must be rooted in reality and have parameters. To the client’s stated requirements, we added:

  • Deliver the future of the internet, but use currently available technology.
  • Responsive design for desktop, mobile and varied screen experiences.
  • WordPress or another CMS-based system for ease of client administration and content revision.
  • Follow web best practices for UI and UX—equally valuing an intuitive user experience and creative expression.
  • Show as much about the process as the work itself.
  • Capture the magic of the creative process and DNA of the firm and its people, not just the finished static work.
  • Find a way to make sense of all the initiatives and values of the firm, and tie them back to serve a common purpose.

Building on studio visits, surveying, and interviews, we filled out our understanding of HCMA’s way of working and shared ethos. We developed several concepts that focused on breaking past the walls traditionally separating a profession from people: ideas should be invited inward, and moments of inspiration should be allowed to escape for others to see.

Several prototypes for the more outstanding concepts were built and tested, while we simultaneously coordinated content gathering and engineering the site’s widely-varying page layouts and detailed functionality. The resulting site has the feel of a fully custom product, but the backend is built in WordPress to ensure ease of use by staff, and maintainability over the long term.


“This is really exciting. The site looks really amazing. I am very, very, very happy! I think a celebratory drink is in order.” Great words to hear from the client who set out this challenge, and to us, a mark of success. While too early for full statistics, the new site supports the firm’s evolution and solves many internal and external communications and functional shortcomings of the previous site. In some ways, the website has caught up to what was already happening at the firm. In others, it opens new pathways as HCMA continues their pursuit of “What’s Possible?”

UPDATE: The site has been recognized with a first place win in the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) National 2016 Marketing Communications Awards.

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