Weaving a brand story into the ecommerce experience

Garnet Hill

Weaving a brand story into the ecommerce experience

The situation

Garnet Hill is a retailer that has produced high-quality apparel and home items since the 1970s. They began as a catalog brand—a small, family owned business with a strong reputation for products made of natural fibers. To build on their continued success, they wanted to modernize their website and use more storytelling to highlight the craftsmanship and quality of their products. And they wanted to ensure that navigating the site was as smooth as silk.


Content strategyDesign systemsDevelopmentExperience designPrototypingSEO/MUI design & developmentUser experience research

Brand strategy

Garnet Hill stands for quality and natural fibers. They have many desirable stories to tell about their brand, but we found that their high-quality materials story is most relevant to shoppers. We wanted to see where this key attribute would take us as we created a digital experience, focusing on storytelling and surfacing details that would differentiate product quality. To guide this work, we created experience principles to document the creative direction that would ensure Garnet Hill’s digital experiences reflected their brand authentically.

Design system

Garnet Hill wanted to preserve many of their brand elements, including their logo, typefaces and color palette. We expanded upon their visual brand language and defined styles for their website, including art direction for photography and video that would enhance appeal to shoppers. We also delivered a website design system of foundations, components and pages, accompanied by thorough documentation of design specifications, accessibility requirements and functionality—across multiple screen sizes. The overall result elevated the brand, communicating that its high-value products will make shoppers and their homes stylish and comfortable for years to come.

User experience

Our task was to marry content and commerce, balancing business needs, brand goals and shoppers’ preferences. Our research found that we could support increased sales through inspiration, brand stories and new sections like “Shop the Look.” In addition, our research and subsequent testing led us to improve findability via an updated site architecture, making it easier for shoppers to find specific items. Our overall goal was to create an ecommerce experience that was on par with similar online retailers while providing a smooth transition from browsing to buying. In the end, the site design is simple and elegant: allowing shoppers to accomplish their every task, in style.

Content strategy

As part of our content inventory and audit, we uncovered an opportunity for Garnet Hill to improve its product detail information so that it was better structured for quick reading, consistent from product to product, and valuable to shoppers’ purchase decisions. We also conducted an SEO review and provided recommendations in step with Garnet Hill’s goals for  search. Finally, we provided UX writing, ensuring our final output was clear and intuitive.


Our developers packaged our beautiful, flexible design system into a build kit that developers at Garnet Hill could implement efficiently. We produced front-end code that fully matches our designs across all browsers and devices, is WCAG 2.1 AA compliant, and provides a foundation upon which the Garnet Hill team can build in the future. Ecommerce sites are never one and done, so we wanted to ensure that the Garnet Hill team had all of the tools they needed to continue to shape the site in their ideal image.