- Leadership Guidance
- Creative Direction / Brand Identity Development
- Purpose Clarification
- Website Design & Development
- Stationery / Collateral
- Content Marketing Strategy
- Social Media Guidance
- Ben Callaghan
- Suzi Craig
- Louisa Desson
- Bruce Kaechele
- Joe Philippon
- Brent Robertson
- Custom Content Management System
- Wordpress with custom applications (for Blue Design)
- Search Engine Optimization
- Google Analytics
- XHTML Compliant
“ Our public presence, as seen in everything from our new logo to the website, is now in alignment with who we are and where we are headed. With Fathom's help, we have a market differentiation that is opening up new opportunities for the firm and furthering our goal of embracing a fully sustainable world. ” - Ed McGraw / Principal, Ashley McGraw
What do you do when disruption is staring you in the face?
Disruption of what you do and what you believe; what you know and what you see; what you expect and what you tolerate. And what about when you are the cause of the disruption?
If you are Ed McGraw and Peter Larson of Ashley McGraw you invite it in for a chat.
For over 25 years, Ashley McGraw has provided the K-12 and higher education communities in New York with exceptional architectural design. In 2009, the firm came to Fathom for a new website, saying that it "didn't feel like us anymore." We soon saw why. One of the firm's leaders, Peter Larson, was embracing the possibility of a fully sustainable world. His philosophy, if adopted by the firm, would rattle everything they believed. As advisors, Fathom's creative team was there to help them understand what this could mean for their marketing and, ultimately, their business.
The website quickly dropped further down on the project list. We knew that the next phase of work, discovery sessions to explore Pete's philosophy as a belief system for the firm, would be a difficult and potentially divisive exercise. Founding partner and CEO Ed McGraw didn't shy away from the process, despite not being able to predict what would happen. Ed saw the work as necessary to their future and for uniting the firm under a cohesive mission.
The discovery process revealed that Ashley McGraw's future was right in line with the ethos that had been there all along. It could be seen in Blue Design, Pete's deep and personal exploration of the meaning, impact and viability of "sustainability." It was also found in Ashley McGraw's Advanced Building Studio (ABS), an initiative dedicated to designing buildings that generate zero impact on their natural environment. These developments were never fully owned or expressed by the firm as a belief system but they were there, quietly building momentum and strength.
Pete and ABS were thinking differently. But, could this thinking scale to the firm's beliefs and into the industry too?
When exploring this question with Ed and his team, we determined that Blue Design had to be more than a firm-owned idea. It needed to be shared with the world so that others could add to its ideas and application. We launched PeterLarson.org, a publishing platform designed to connect Pete with architects, engineers, environmentalists and other sustainability visionaries intent on building a bridge from current sustainability knowledge to new paths that can't even be conceived of today.
Pete's thinking and the firm's changing view of architecture's role in the world was not limited to buildings. It involved relationships that Ashley McGraw was forming at all levels of the firm's interactions - with the earth, their industry, other firms, within the company, with their buildings and even with other fields of study. In the end, we realized that these interactions were the foundation for the firm's belief in harmony, particularly as it is created between the built and natural worlds.
In parallel to this work together, Fathom saw that this firm does nothing half way. Ashley McGraw recognized that the possibilities of Blue Design and the clarity achieved in their belief system meant a full commitment from the firm's leadership. And this, in effect, meant re-examining everything they knew about architecture and its relationship to the wider world.
The launch of PeterLarson.org and the clarity of the firm's commitment allowed us to then see a clear way forward for expressing the Ashley McGraw brand. The firm's brand identity was planted squarely in the arena of "where we've been," and needed to be redesigned to reflect the new direction before progress could be made on the website. Again, discovery and experimentation led us to where we needed to be. Rather than being confined by what an architecture firm's logo should be, we approached it from the point of view of what Ashley McGraw's logo had to be.
We arrived at an identity that inspires possibility and represents the firm's shared belief. The icon is a visual representation of what they now see as their ultimate purpose and daily mantra, a synthesis of what they create and what is already in existence.
With the brand identity in place, we were able to approach the original project, the website.
Following the spirit of the firm's new commitment, the website promotes an open environment that emanates from a centered perspective, mirroring the design intent of the brand identity. The background images draw from the natural world to set the context for the firm's work and thinking. Clients and partners gain insight into the firm through stories and images that highlight critical discovery points and perspectives in the development of a project.
The journey of discovering who they are and how to share that with the world has just begun. Through Blue Design, a new brand identity and a new AshleyMcGraw.com, the firm is empowered with clarity and inspiration for how they need to be in an uncertain future. What began the journey, a disruption in the firm's thinking, is the first of many. Disruption is now a constant and welcomed agitator for the impact Ashley McGraw can have on their firm and our world.Back to Top