New Work: Mackey Mitchell Architects

| By: Nathan Sprehe
Nathan Sprehe

For the past year, we’ve been guiding the 47-year old architecture firm Mackey Mitchell Architects through a significant branding effort. It’s been a tremendous amount of work but a ton of fun, and we’re excited to share it with you!

Case Study: Mackey Mitchell Architects Branding & Website

Founded in 1968 by noted architect Gene Mackey [fun fact: Gene’s dad was the architect for the world’s first geodesic greenhouse], the firm has grown from a small boutique practice mainly focusing on regional projects, into a 40+ person powerhouse of experts in architecture for higher eduction, particularly: student housing, dining and the design of student centers.

With this growth came the questions you might expect: Was the firm’s existing positioning and messaging out of step with the company they had become? Is the visual identity still appropriate? The website was past due for an overhaul, but what features were needed to support their sales process? With company architects flying all over the country for face-to-face interviews with university presidents and campus architects, they desperately needed the tools to back up the good work they’ve been doing.

After initial interviews with Mackey Mitchell clients, partners, and a session with their staff, we presented our recommendations.

A new focus
Two things stood out from those interviews:

  1. The power of perspectives. Mackey Mitchell believes their best work is the result of their commitment to collaboration. The firm uses a series of exercises and workshops to truly engage everyone who will experience the finished environment, whether they be faculty or students.
  2. People before buildings. The buildings Mackey Mitchell designs provide an opportunity to shape, shelter and inspire the many individuals who experience them.

We developed updated positioning and messaging around these themes—including a new tagline Shape the Inspired—to reflect this.

Shaping the identity
The existing identity was developed 7+ years ago. The mark itself was interesting and the company had built up a certain amount of equity around it. After exploring alternatives, we recommended keeping the logo, but simplifying the color palette, expanding the system to include a new typeface family and additional assets that would support both the firm’s traditional and digital marketing needs.




People believe in what they create
In an effort to gather additional insights, we held a working session at our office with the entire team at Mackey Mitchell. We presented each concept via Keynote and hung printouts around the office. Markers, highlighters and post-it notes were scattered throughout and staff were encouraged to share their thoughts about each concept.


The new website is where the brand fully comes together. The firm’s culture and the personalities of the employees are brought to life through staff bios and original photography of the team. An interactive timeline reinforces Mackey Mitchell’s proud history. Project templates are intended to showcase both the finished project and give a behind-the-scenes look at the firm’s process. A series of pages are organized around each of the firm’s specialties and help to establish subject matter expertise by pulling in related project work and thinking. A client-provided video on the homepage reinforces the connection to what the work is ultimately about: people.

The site is responsive (aren’t they all now?) so it works great across desktop, tablet and mobile. With WordPress as the CMS, Mackey Mitchell will be able to keep the site humming.

For more, check out the screenshots below, read our case study, or just visit the site!

Case Study: Mackey Mitchell Architects Branding & Website