01 Cloudfielding [Cloudfields]

Cloudfields is a non-conformist, super-informed management consultancy based in Amsterdam. They have a very clear offer, doing the business thinking that liberates clients to work their best creative life.

Explaining how they do it was less easy though. We needed a special verb that would capture Cloudfields’ attitude and capability. And we didn’t have one until the evening before our last meeting, when we found the answer hiding in plain sight, in the name of the company – and the beautiful, cloud-blown landscape paintings for which The Netherlands is famous.

Introducing cloudfielding, a way of finding vision in the fog, and freeing up Cloudfields’ clients to make money while doing what they love.

02 A concertina partnership [Whittaker Parsons]

Whittaker Parsons is a studio built around two main pillars: building less and designing better. With their new website emerging around the concept of a concertina-ing logo, we decided to apply a similar principle to the words.

The result is an interactive opening sentence that pushes and pulls with the logo, expanding and contracting according to the movement of the user. This develops the pillars and adds ideas about making well, finding worth and seeing further, enabling us to summarise an ambitious intent in a very small space indeed.

The project was shortlisted for an Archiboo Award for Best Written Content in 2024.

03 Always happy [Haptic ]

In 2019, we celebrated Haptic’s tenth birthday by ‘opening the kitchen drawer’ and making a book together – The Haptic Way. Unusually, the book focused on practice rather than projects, so when we came to create a new website (designed, like the book, by BOB Design) we turned our attention back onto the work.

We evolved ideas about process from the book and used these to shape each project entry, meaning the story of a scheme can be told even while it’s still on the drawing board. Bringing the process alive also helps to communicate the haptic-ness of the work – a real challenge in a digital space. The bold and active tone of voice, always approachable, reflects Haptic’s purpose to design places that make people happy, as well as the practice’s optimistic Scandinavian flavour.

The site won the Archiboo Award for Best Written Content in 2022, for its “punchy writing with bags of personality”.

04 Power of five [Allford Hall Monaghan Morris]

Since creating FifthMan, an in-house publishing house for architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, in 2015 Free has commissioned and edited about 30 publications of varying shapes and sizes.

Every book we add to the shelf offers a new opportunity to consider how the practice talks about how it designs, and suggests possibilities for experimentation away from the consensus of more established architectural publishing. Free to play, we’ve designed pamphlets and directories, invented minigraphs and made monographs.

Finally, to appeal to completists (and followers of Factory Records), every FifthMan work is given its own catalogue number, reinforcing each separate piece as part of a coherent whole.

05 People-centred, precision-made [Sheppard Robson]

Sheppard Robson is a mini-city of architects with a design heritage traceable back more than 80 years. Defining a new brand for this ever-evolving collective was a challenge: how do you develop a consistent set of corporate ideas that speak not just of one designer, but of many?

With BOB Design, we developed the central idea from which the practice’s new identity has grown: the fertile ground in which people and places are cultivated. This is brought to life in the website, a ‘terrace of houses’ that celebrates each discipline to its best while reinforcing the strength of the whole: the making of places that are co-created, people-centred and precision-made.

The website was chosen as Best Overall in the Archiboo Awards 2022.

06 A book without fuss or fog [Nordic]

A first visit to Oslo with BOB Design to talk to architects Nordic about their new monograph resulted in the best of briefs: they simply wanted to show, without spin, how architecture can solve real-life problems. They also wanted to surprise people, demonstrating that despite becoming a large practice, the fundamentals of their motivation and method remain the same as when they started out.

This brief became The Force of the Simple, a book written and designed to show the power and the poetry of a clear idea. It presents the projects ‘without fuss or fog’, focusing on plans and pictures to explain why they look the way they do – an ego-free approach that also demonstrates how, with confidence and trust, you can end up with an object of real beauty and coherence.

07 An adventure better done in company [Morris+Company]

This rebrand project, in collaboration with BOB Design, explains the evolution of Duggan Morris Architects into Morris+Company. It shifts the emphasis from the individual to the collective, spotlighting a wider company of voices, all committed to the shared adventure of making architecture.

The central idea of the new identity – ‘a change of state’ – echoes this transformation. We wanted to distil the creative spirit of the reassembled office and communicate the ongoing human experience of the buildings that they make. On the website this is achieved by separating factual ‘beat’ content from more dynamic ‘jazz’, aggregated from many sources to de-objectify the architecture and place the focus firmly on the user.

The site won Best Newcomer at the Archiboo Awards in 2019.

08 Gibson Thornley are good [Gibson Thornley]

Poised on the completion of several reputation-defining projects, Gibson Thornley wanted to develop a practice narrative that was as strong as their architectural stories. Recognising an urgent need for content for their new website, designed by Julia, we started our conversation with the projects rather than the people, and it soon became clear that the practice culture and approach was fingerprinted across the whole portfolio.

The new words aim to reflect Gibson Thornley’s unique brand of good-ness, an architecture that’s clear to read and meets its purpose happily. They also shed more light on the work behind the scenes, an engagement with process that’s about designing with no walls up and being able to drop your creative guard when necessary.

09 Garage to national [Stewart Architecture]

More than 30 years on, the Australian practice Stewart Architecture now has the profile and reach to enact the ideologies of its founder, urbanist Colin Stewart, giving it the kind of energy and purpose that tends to be identified more with emerging studios.

A brand strategy, developed with Systems Studio, explored how this founding ethos could be re-announced, emphasising Stewart’s commitment to making invitational, inclusive places. Words for a new website chart a journey from garage to national, setting out the practice’s position on the city, its acknowledgement of Australia’s first nations and its commitment to the planet. User voices are integrated to give a warmer, human orientation – qualities palpable in our late-night zoom workshops across the miles.

10 We architect fairly [Freehaus]

Looking to take advantage of a moment of arrival after 10 years in practice, Freehaus undertook a ‘studio sophistication’ project to refine the way it communicated. A chance comment from a member of the team led us to throw out the old grammar and rewrite ‘architect’ as a verb, using this as a way of establishing the Freehaus position and point of view more clearly.

The strategy is fitting: we’d talked a lot about the team’s belief in architecture as meaningful action, so the new messaging centres on the effects of their work and foregrounds the people that own, use and encounter the places they make. It also develops the idea of a free haus, a supportive, creative and diverse community where everyone has agency, and difference is welcomed.

Clients and collaborators

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Architecture PLB
Ash Sakula
BOB Design
Buro Four
Child Graddon Lewis
Curl La Tourelle Head
Daykin Marshall Studio
Denizen Works
Elliott Wood
Fletcher Priest
Flower Michelin
Gibson Thornley Architects
Gort Scott
Keystone London
LTS Architects
John McAslan + Partners
MCW Architects
Rock Townsend
Sheppard Robson
Shoreditch Arts Club
Stewart Architecture
Studio Octopi
Systems Studio
Whittaker Parsons
10 Design

Project archive
2024CloudfieldsCloudfieldingCopy, messaging
2024London Festival of ArchitectureBe the changeEvent
2024GillespiesHuman elementMessaging, website
2024Whittaker ParsonsA concertina partnershipWebsite
2024London Swiss MedicalExplaining endocrinologyWebsite
2023Gibson ThornleyGibson Thornley are goodMessaging, strategy, website
2023HTA DesignWebsite feasibilityCopy
2023KKS SavillsShaping change, togetherMessaging, strategy
2023London Festival of ArchitectureGlueEvent, podcast, research
2023PertexNot made of sugarMessaging, strategy
2023RIBAGuerrilla Tactics: Agile PracticeTalk
2023Stewart ArchitectureLiberated spaceMessaging, strategy, website
2023Stiff+TrevillionSeventy-five wordsWebsite
2023Studio OctopiWritten in waterMessaging, website
2023Toast TVEmotive edgeMessaging, strategy
2022DohurLiving traditionMessaging, website
2022Flower MichelinArchitecture begins at homeMessaging, strategy
2022FreeThe Black Path IIResearch, tour
2022FreehausWe architect fairlyMessaging, strategy
2022Gort ScottArchitecture is a live projectMessaging, strategy
2022HapticAlways happyMessaging, website
2022NordicA book without fuss or fogBook
2022Sheppard RobsonPeople-centred, precision-madeMessaging, strategy, website
2022Shoreditch Arts ClubMission for ideasMessaging
2022Studio ReedA portfolio, sidewaysMessaging, strategy
2022Systems StudioGood design makes great changeMessaging, strategy
2022TateHindleDesign custodiansMessaging, strategy, website
2022TschuggenMaking MountainsBook
2021Allford Hall Monaghan MorrisThe Post BuildingBook
2021Keystone LondonUnder a London skyMessaging, strategy
2021Piercy&CompanyInto the design houseMessaging
2021VineLive and lastMessaging, strategy, website
2020Allford Hall Monaghan MorrisChronicleBook
2020AtomikSpecialist non-specialistsMessaging, strategy, website
2020Buckley Gray YeomanAgents of opportunityMessaging, strategy, website
2020Curl La Tourelle HeadWe love constraintsBook, website
2020Morris+CompanyThe biggest social experiment in historyCopy
2019Allford Hall Monaghan MorrisUniversity of AmsterdamBook
2019Allford Hall Monaghan MorrisThe Founders' StatementBook
2019Allford Hall Monaghan MorrisFifthMan 025Website
2019Daykin Marshall StudioEverything is connectedMessaging, strategy, website
2019HapticThe Haptic WayBook
2019London Festival of ArchitectureBoundary-kuchaEvent, research
2019Morris+CompanyBeat and jazzBook
2019RIBA JournalThe evolution of practiceArticle
2018Allford Hall Monaghan MorrisCollected volumesBook
2018Elliott WoodNo ordinary engineersMessaging, website
2018London Festival of ArchitectureIdenti-kuchaEvent, research
2018Morris+CompanyAn adventure better done in companyMessaging, strategy, website
2018Stiff+TrevillionGeorge HouseBook
2017Allford Hall Monaghan MorrisA Promise of LivingBook
2017Allford Hall Monaghan MorrisNew Scotland YardBook
2017Allford Hall Monaghan MorrisWhite Collar FactoryBook
2017OperaA different name…Messaging, strategy
2015Allford Hall Monaghan MorrisPower of fiveBook
2015Allford Hall Monaghan MorrisExtra OrdinaryBook
2015Architecture plbIntelligent handsMessaging, strategy, website
2015AtomikTwelve ideasMessaging, strategy, website
2015Buro FourThirty for thirtyCopy
2015OrmsThe red threadStrategy
2015Rock TownsendRock poolsMessaging, strategy
2014Daykin Marshall StudioLa Tour MaisonStrategy
2014MCWA difficult second albumMessaging, strategy, website
2014WilkinsonEyreMaking the Weston LibraryBook
2013TAPThe SheilingStrategy
2012OrmsTired of lifeCopy
2008WilkinsonEyreAnything but greyExhibition
2007WilkinsonEyreExploring BoundariesBook
2006London Festival of ArchitectureSt Bartholomew FairEvent