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Designing a human connection with QVARTZ

There’s a life-size cow in one of their meeting rooms. A windmill in another. They’re a structurally flat, democracy-driven organization profoundly unlike any of their industry counterparts.

QVARTZ is different. With human-centricity as their North Star, the Scandinavian-born – and globally operating – management consulting company set out in 2002 to challenge the traditional values of management consulting. By recruiting and shaping a new breed of consultants, QVARTZ has been able to engage and mobilize their clients on their most pressing business challenges.

QVARTZ’s digital presence had to reflect their unique philosophy and position in the market. That’s where THINK came into the picture. We helped QVARTZ design and implement a brand-new website with a human connection at its core.

Top-tier consultants – and dynamic publishers

At QVARTZ, they love producing content and sharing knowledge. They don’t see their expertise as proprietary; they strive to inform and inspire clients, colleagues and future recruits.

This made it clear that had to be a publishing channel – not an online business card. The workflow of the preceding QVARTZ website, however, was influenced by an ad-hoc application of content, which created inconsistencies and processes that proved longer than necessary.

THINK interviewed key stakeholders in order to identify and prioritize key themes as well as set an overall plan for simplification. Together with QVARTZ, we set out to create an information architecture that facilitated frequent publishing while easing the editorial process and allowing the team to focus on engaging their readers.

An automated, rules-driven layout grid with pre-defined content tiles

We implemented an automated, rules-driven layout grid with pre-defined content tiles. From here, content would be dynamically positioned and shifted based on a set of parameters – for example publication date and content type.

The navigation was carefully limited to nine central themes that encompass QVARTZ’s core offerings and philosophies.

QVARTZ’s own growth spurt also posed an interesting challenge. The company had successfully expanded into markets beyond the Nordics and it needed to communicate local presence and relevance without straying from the messaging and structure on the main site.

Our solution was to localise; to determine the user’s geographic location through their IP address, and apply fixed content rules – just like the main site – to determine which tiles would show local content.

The new CMS and website, built with our friends at Kraftvaerk, gave the editorial team both flexibility and control. The website is now low on maintenance, high on efficiency, and able to display content that is relevant and enjoyable for the user.

Designing ‘the GQ of consulting’

QVARTZ already had a bold visual identity – but the full range was only being implemented in their print materials.

This gave THINK’s designers an ideal starting point. With a client unafraid to take risks, coupled with a willingness to stand out from the crowd, we adjusted QVARTZ’s colour palette and introduced a new typography, both of which were ideally suited for a buoyant, refreshing website experience in the consulting industry.

Each tile and content page was designed to be distinctive and to have its own expression. THINK’s designers created page templates for every type of publication as well as a plethora of modules for the QVARTZ team to combine when building their content pages. These modules, designed to seamlessly interact with each other, came with their own set of rules that would both create consistency while retaining flexibility – for example when it came to colour combinations.

The result is a platform that lets the amazing content team at QVARTZ create visually engaging pages at a rapid clip. We call their efforts ‘the GQ of consulting’.

At QVARTZ, we strive to take the high road in everything we do. With our new website, we wanted to challenge the norms and push the bar for a website in our industry. QVARTZ is unique but definitely not perfect, and thus we asked THINK to push us to the next level.

In the process THINK has shown passion and a deep understanding of the QVARTZ brand, our values and our challenger position in the market. They have managed to push us right to the edge, both in terms of design and information architecture, and the result is a website that truly supports our brand and reflects who we are.
Hans Henrik Beck, co-founder and managing partner at Qvartz