Many of the malls in the Macerich portfolio have a partnership with HGTV to construct a Santa’s workshop experience in addition to visiting Santa himself. It’s a full experience that has interactive elements, set pieces, and many branded advertisements. The Macerich team requested I look at it and see if I could introduce new background textures in an effort to make it feel fresh for the new year while adhering to the existing guidelines to gain HGTV approval. They also did not want to redo any set pieces so many of the largest pieces would remain the same.
I quickly realized that although the team was requesting backgrounds what they really were hoping for a cleaner look. The previous look relied heavily upon thick borders and multiple special effects including gradients, shadows, and 3D effects. The set pieces did not rely on this trick, however, because it was a real-life object there was no faux shadows or other effects.
Here is what the previous look was before I took a look at it:
I found that the elements were still strong when used together, it was just best to remove the special effects especially since the set pieces hadn’t been using them in the first place. I redid the logo without shadows and gradients, took the gradient shine out of textures and really pulled back on the busy elements to focus on a simpler messaging strategy. I ended up rewriting the Santa HQ brand guide to support the refreshed look in addition to creating many of the various set signs, backlit ads, digital banners, etc.