The Project: The long-vacant lakefront parcel known throughout Kingston as Block D has been making headlines for decades, but when Homestead Landholdings won the right to develop the embattled lot, they decided to celebrate its more distant history.
The site, at the foot of Gore Street on the shores of Lake Ontario, was home to a brief skirmish during the War of 1812. When a six-ship American flotilla attacked Kingston, the Provincial Marine frigate Royal George fought back and sent the Americans fleeing to safety.
In honour of the heroic ship, Homestead christened its new luxury condo complex the Royal George and hired Boom Strategy to help with the marketing chores. “It was more than just a marketing project,” says Boom Strategy principal Theresa MacBeth. “It was very much design-driven, because they needed to be able to show the building to prospective buyers while it was still under construction.” MacBeth turned to BmDodo Strategic Design for help.
The Challenge: “They came with a brochure that had been done for them in the past,” says BmDodo Strategic Design partner Jennifer Cameron. “It was plain and not particularly impressive. They wanted to use something similar to sell their building to luxury customers. We felt we could do better.”
The Solution: “They wanted to use history, culture and location as the main elements of their sales pitch,” explains BmDodo partner Brian Dodo, “so we concentrated on the people who look for those elements in a home. Most of the people who value those things have a lot of money, so we started looking at other buildings that they might consider living in. We looked in places like Niagara and Toronto. We realized that the people who are going to look at the brochures for this building might also look at the brochures for the new Trump Tower in Toronto. We were able to convince the client that their brochures needed to be at least
as impressive as the Trump Tower brochures.”
The Result: “When we met with the client, it became clear that they really cherished the history of the area,” says Jen. “They wanted to make the history feature prominently in the design. At the same time though, the building itself was very modern. We had to find a way to connect the old with the new.”
The partners merged past and present by incorporating period elements into a thoroughly contemporary package. They chose rich, lush crimson, Canada’s official colour in 1812, as the predominate colour for the brochure’s glossy, elegant folder and all of the materials inside it.
The partners extended the period feel with historically–inspired typefaces and accents and brought the early 19th century to life with evocative illustrations and maps, enhanced with sepia tones for an aging effect.
Although the inspiration was historic, the presentation was firmly rooted in the present. The package includes modern innovations such as envelope flaps and hidden compartments and is enhanced with vibrant photography and luxurious overlays, giving prospective buyers a preview of the magic that is possible when history and technology come together.
The Outcome: “Buying a luxury condo is an emotional decision, and I think Brian and Jen understood that,” says MacBeth. “Design plays such an important role because it shapes your experience of a company, which shapes your mood and eventually your behaviour. The brochures they created were emotionally engaging.” Prospective buyers agreed and the Royal George sold out well before construction was completed.