The Making of the Lakehouse Brochure: Placing Experience at your Fingertips

Imagine yourself in your new condo located on a lake in Colorado. You have a lakefront view from your living room, floor to ceiling windows that let the outside in, and the pool, wellness center and meeting space are footsteps away for you to socialize, lounge and recharge. Have we caught your attention yet?

When you describe real estate that sounds like this, you want to make sure the tools you are using to sell the space communicate the same message and feeling.

For Ellen Bruss Design (EBD), communicating the right message is important.  EBD is a Denver-based graphic design and brand consultancy that takes pride in learning everything they can about their clients’ needs and getting the job done right. Last year, EBD was asked to brand a new high-rise condominium project called Lakehouse, the ideal urban oasis of private penthouses, condominiums and rowhomes located on Denver’s Sloan Lake.

EBD partnered with a variety of companies to get the job done, one of which included a partnership with commercial printer Sprint Denver Inc. to produce the printed collateral for Lakehouse. EBD and Sprint harnessed their expertise in materials and worked together to create an over-sized brochure that communicates the experience you’ll have with Lakehouse right at your fingertips.

The catalog was printed on Mohawk Options Vellum Crystal White 100 cover. A custom cream-colored ink was created for the piece and a matching thread was chosen for the singer sewn spine.

We spoke with Ellen Bruss, Creative Director of EBD, to discuss the inspirations, struggles and approach behind the creation of the catalog.

Can you walk us through your design process?
We always start with written buyer profiles so we understand who we are targeting. This sets the foundation for all creative. Once the team agrees to that document, we start design boards where we pull images that reflect the style of the buyer types. We do a number of different options and have the client review them. They all fit the buyer profile but are intended to narrow down the possibilities for when we begin design–ie, this one is too formal, this one is too natural. From the client and broker’s reaction, we get a better idea of their exact vision for the buyer. That really helps our design team get an idea of direction.

Then we’ll have a few designers work on identity concepts, with internal reviews of what everyone thinks is working or not working. The client presentation is scheduled, and once a direction is selected, we continue on the project collateral.

Was there any source of inspiration you want to highlight?
The inspiration came from growing up in the Great Lakes region and spending my childhood summers on lakes. I still take a summer vacation on a lake out east. Those two different lake experiences; the approachable and calm pace of the midwest, and the casual elegance of the park pavilions that were built on lakes in the east, informed our design.

How did you come up with the name?
Due to the expansive views of the water, mountains and city were one of the premier selling features,(also because lakes are very rare in Denver, the name clearly told people the location) the high-rise was named Lakehouse.

Tell us more about the oversized format for the brochure.
Simply put, it is impossible to file it. We hope buyers leave it out on their kitchen or coffee table and then their friends come over and they show off their new place. It becomes two-fold: The buyer keeps seeing it, helping to reinforce the purchase decision during the period where deposits are put down but are still refundable. Secondarily, their friends become organic marketing.

Can you provide more detail about the production?
We painstakingly worked through the details with Sprint who made comps for us before the files went out. The stitching placement, color of thread and the stitch size, the crossovers, the placement of the tip-on, the deboss in back of the tip-on–everything was reviewed.

The cream color that is featured within the catalog is a custom ink mix, so we looked at drawdowns of that to get it just right.

Internally, we tested sizes for what was too big, too small and what felt just right. All of the details are double and triple checked so that before the printing even starts, we already know that it functions perfectly.

What was the biggest challenge you faced creating the catalog?
I think the crossovers were the hardest part. But surely Sprint would add to that list!

Why did you choose Mohawk Options?
We wanted an uncoated stock but not anything too clean and super smooth or a too earthy and textured. We asked Sprint for ideas, and they sent us some printed samples. The ones printed on  Mohawk Options were exactly what we were looking for–a hint of fiber to really communicate the high-end aesthetic; a great hand; and great photo print quality. We went through a lot of papers prior that just weren’t right.

What was the client’s feedback?
Everyone – the client, buyers, brokers, party VIPs have loved it. We’ve gotten nothing but great feedback. All of the largest units are selling, which is hard when all you have is a dirt lot. We haven’t even broken ground yet. That puts a lot of pressure on the brochure and the paper. They have to set the tone for what life will be like at Lakehouse. This piece, and Mohawk Options, have achieved that exceptionally well.

Want to learn more about what it takes to get a piece like this printed? Head over to MakeReady to read Sprint’s insight on the project.

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