Through catalogs, showroom-like stores and a digital retail platform, as well as ancillary businesses to the trade and contract, Design Within Reach (DWR) is a single source for the best in modern design. Prior to our engagement, leadership had clarified brand positioning. However, positioning without implementation is like a house with no furniture, and the in-house team had too many ongoing deadlines on their plates to rethink needs from a new point of view. This is where we found our home: in a year-long collaboration which activated storytelling across all sales channels, amplified product launches and branded the customer experience.
Work from the inside, out.
To maintain a 10,000-foot view of the brand, we embedded ourselves as Brand Coaches in weekly creative meetings at corporate HQ, joined photo shoots, and attended architects’ meetings to understand all sides of the business. We interviewed the “front line” of both B2C and B2B sales to learn how people shop, then anonymously shopped as brand personas to experience first-hand. Along the way, we reported back, with design concepts and strategies that the in-house team felt part of, and was excited to create, together.
Show the human touch.
Our initial audit revealed opportunities to use the tools of editorial—typography, reportage photography, TOC, heds and deks, and a more narrative story flow—to humanize the way customers shop for classics. Redesigned catalogs balance voyeuristic views into real homes with product designers' stories, connecting intent and use through the voices of people. Art direction suggests interrupted moments to tell the story of actually living with the products. And a new serif font, set in larger sizes to animate voice, bridges the editorial feel from print to digital retail.
Design for how—and when—people shop.
We interviewed top-selling associates to learn what questions customers ask when shopping and what they ask the customer in return. Learnings led to new tools which simplify robust product categories like storage, accessories and bedroom by focusing on life needs first: “What are you storing?” “Do you read in bed?”
Create a design-first relationship, from the start.
First-time purchases are the chance to make the name "Design Within Reach" embody the mission. Branded packaging for DWR-manufactured products now makes unboxing and assembly part of the design story. When all packaging is removed, the brand—and designer’s—signature is the mark of quality and permanence.
Invite customers to create, together.
Field research and long discussions around the store of the future led to Design Services, a branded CX program of complimentary design consultations, at-home space planning, and 3D visualization, supported by human-touch tools for co-creation and confidence. The program, together with activated Design Pavilions in stores, connects the customer experience to DWR’s origin: bringing the tools of the design trade within reach.
Language Dept. is always asking the right questions to pull out who we are and bring positioning forward in every design solution. There’s nothing I wouldn’t trust them to do.
Michael Sainato, V.P. of Creative,
Design Within Reach
- Stakeholder Interviews & Workshops
- Audience & Landscape Research
- Brand Audit
- Persona Development
- Insights & Positioning
- Customer Experience
- Storytelling Strategy
- Art Direction
- Catalog Design
- Packaging System
- Brand Activation
- Environmental Experiences
- Brand Coaching
- Sarah Asip, System Design & Research
- Jenn Cash, Strategy & Creative Direction
- Jesse Lankford, CX & Visual Design
- Tanya Quick, Strategy & Creative Direction
- Rachel Shim, System Design & Research
- Niquita Taliaferro, CX & Visual Design
- Jada Vogt, Art Direction & Visual Design
- Frank Wild, Studio Assistant
- DWR Marketing, Retail and Product Development Teams