Northcourt House

Author: James Braithwaite

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We were approached by James Harrison, for whom we have worked on numerous architecture and land planning projects, to design an identity and website for his family-owned manor on the Isle of Wight. Northcourt Manor a grade II listed heritage property, set within 15 acres of gardens in the idyllic village of Shorewell.

We first looked to the historic significance of the Manor. The Harrison family were originally stamp and printmakers, so we explored the use of a stamped ‘crest’ with perforation lines. After discussion, we felt the mark was too ornate and fussy; we needed to balance the history with a modern audience.

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We then turned our eyes to geometry of the building; it’s shapes and elevations. The roof, specifically it’s gables and chimneys, formed some interesting shapes. We traced these, then applied brush strokes, to form a mark that sat pleasingly over the type. We framed this in an inset square, to echo the square-shaped plaques found on the exterior walls of the house. We complimented this with colours picked from the mossed-stone and surrounding landscape.

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We chose to pair this with the beautifully elegant Freight Text typeface, famed for it’s long-form readability and used on sites such as Medium.

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With such a beautiful historic building and grounds, not to mention the Isle of Wight itself, designing the website was an exercise in letting imagery lead. We employed large format images wherever possible to break up text content.

All features of the site, from the image galleries, to the facilities and floorplans are content-managed and easily updated by Northcourt. To keep up-to-the-minute availability information available for the two manor houses, Northcourt requested the use of a Google calendar. We pulled this availability information into the site, displayed as a custom calendar, without compromising the design of the site.

View the site at northcourthouse.co.uk

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