First Person: How We Brought a Luxury Showroom to Life on the Web

by Bryan

“I chose typography that’s luxurious but also friendly. Its like the person greeting you at the showroom.”

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Designer Bryan Schmidt led art direction for the Perennials Fabrics and Rugs site, which we recently launched. We asked him to talk about what inspired him and how he developed his vision for the project.

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I knew I wanted to differentiate Perennials from the competitors. If you look at a lot of the luxury fabric or rug sites, they're all very similar – clean, black and white with a sans serif typeface. There's not a lot of unique character to any of them.

Perennials wanted their site to be sophisticated and playful. They don't have expansive brand guidelines, so they told us to experiment with it. In some ways, that makes it easier, but it can be hard because, as a designer, you're just like, “I could go anywhere.”

You have to step back and say, “What could I do that also works for their business goals?”

Since color isn’t something that’s been utilized, we explored that to convey the fun, whimsical aspect of Perennials’ brand. The site that we built them still has lots of black and white, but there are moments where we use green for backgrounds, type and accents, expanding the color palette based on their logo. We then added blue and burgundy to liven it up even more.

The colors really complement one another, but they can also complement the fabrics and photography, and if they don’t, we’ve provided neutrals that can work with anything.

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A screenshot from the Perennials website

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After establishing the colors, I wondered how we could piggyback off of that and use typography to give it more personality.

There was a sense of discovery because Perennials wanted the site to be like going to a showroom. We asked ourselves, “How can we use the layout or even the type to mimic the showroom experience?”

So, I chose typography that’s luxurious but also friendly. It's like the person greeting you at the showroom.

While looking for the perfect piece, Perennials designers will take samples off the wall and write down their favorites.

That’s where we got the idea for the script typeface that we use as an accent – it's like designers scrawling notes to themselves.

For the display typeface, we went with a serif font that’s on-trend but still classic.

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Example of script text in the Perennials website

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To find the right one, I scrolled through thousands of styles. I mean, I love looking at type.

Sometimes my wife will see me scrolling through and she'll say, “How do you even see it?” I'm like, “I’m looking at one specific letter. I want to see how the ‘R’ is shaped.”

I have a picture in my head of what it should look like, so I go through so many different kinds searching for a match. Most people would say, “These all look the same,” but I'm looking for one little detail that gives it a different personality.

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