Namchetolukla

Challenge

Starting my own business with my wife (no pun intended!) and expanding my creativity outside of design.

Namchetolukla

The name came to my wife while we were venturing around the Himalayan mountains. We met in Nepal in late 2015 and from then on, we have been inseparable. One of my most enjoyable parts of the trek was going from Namche back to Lukla. It was 12 hours of undulating paths, laughter, team work, and stories.

Namchetolukla is more than a photography website; we want it to grow with our written content on metaphysics, philosophy, stories and videos to help spread awareness and inspire others in meaningful ways.

Background

I have been in photography for the last 15 years – dipping in and out of it every opportunity I had – with an emphasis on meaning. I like my photography to tell a story of personal journey that aspires to expose awareness to others. My wife has a passion for creating and capturing beauty. She is a hopeless romantic with a love for nature and exploration. Her talent lies in uncovering the narrative embedded within the people and places around her. We realised together, that we could turn our talents and passions into a lifestyle change.

Brand

From Within, From Without – The idea of working on my own business has come around several times. It was important for us to bring our skills into photography. To achieve the goal of connecting our thoughts and ideas with people across the world. We had to draw from within and without.

Our main goal was to inspire and raise awareness through photography, using our writing skills to add more depth through our stories, journeys and personal experiences.

We weren’t quite sure of what the logo would look like. We knew that our brand had to have three cores values: Honest, Real and Conscious.

Logo

A gold fish is a very unique animal as it adapts itself to the environment it is presented with. It has a quintessential philosophy of balance and harmony as it grows to huge sizes inside the ocean or shrinks inside a confined space such as a fish bowl. We wanted our logo to adapt itself to the space it would be presented with, much like a gold fish. Our logo inherits our core values of consideration, simplicity and focus. We wanted it to still be present but adapt its size and colour to the environment.

This meant disrupting a couple of design methodologies and allowing the logo to be in harmony rather than consistency.

A) Our strapline is to inspire and raise awareness through photography which helped us look at the foundation of our logo: a shot of a scene, that moment of a story.

B) We wanted the logo to adapt itself to the scene, taking on the colours and growing/shrinking to suit its surroundings.

By default, the logo had to be square or rectangular in nature like a photograph but it wouldn’t be constrained to that shape if it had to fill a different shape.

Design

Design for me is about bringing together a language that feels and looks fluent and natural in its own environment. It can be almost anything but it has this innate expression across any medium. That was one of the key factors for the design; to give ourselves the tools to express content across any required medium.

Language allows us to express our thoughts to others – it is the very foundation of our society. And so, design language needs to occupy a similar space within the design world.

Number system

A design language needs to incorporate a number system that gives designers a scale of numbers that allows them make consistent decisions. This number system also starts to create an invisible design that cannot necessarily be seen but felt on a subconscious level. Just like the scale of our human bodies, we cannot see the choices made by nature but once we get into the maths, we see that Phi is nearly in everything natural.And by using our own number system, we are trying to replicate what nature has been doing for over 13 billion years.

A design language needs to incorporate a number system that gives designers a scale of numbers that allows them make consistent decisions. This number system also starts to create an invisible design that cannot necessarily be seen but felt on a subconscious level. Just like the scale of our human bodies, we cannot see the choices made by nature but once we get into the maths, we see that Phi is nearly in everything natural.

And by using our own number system, we are trying to replicate what nature has been doing for over 13 billion years.

The rule of thirds also plays a big part in photography so it felt fitting to use this sequence of numbers to design with. Odd numbers also provide symmetry in designs.

3, 6, 9

With this in mind, I decided to use the Fibonacci sequence to create numbers in a harmonious way that would bind all the design together in that invisible fashion.

Position Number
1 9
2 18
3 27
4 45
5 72
Position Number
6 117
7 189
8 306
9 495
10 701

I also created another set of numbers that follow multiples of 3 to ensure the design had enough breathing space.

Grid

Using the foundations of our number system, I was able to create a grid that worked across our website. I made sure that all numbers would be divisible by 3 – allowing for continuity through our designs.

One of the important decisions for our design language was to establish a clean, simple and emotive link to our readers and customers. Typography can be a very strong way of doing that.

We looked through a couple of different type faces and felt that Proxima Nova connected with us the most. It’s a simple and geometric font with a large family of rounded and condensed variations with many weights which makes this type face very versatile for our long term goals.

Breakpoints

Responsive websites have become the norm. It is important for us to be able to showcase our content to all of our users no matter the device. Our stats show that 60% of our visitors are using mobile phones to view our content. This showed us how important it is for our whole shopping experience to work as seamlessly as possible on a mobile phone.

Responsive websites have become the norm. It is important for us to be able to showcase our content to all of our users no matter the device. Our stats show that 60% of our visitors are using mobile phones to view our content. This showed us how important it is for our whole shopping experience to work as seamlessly as possible on a mobile phone.

Templates

I started looking into what content could be featured on our website – a shop, articles, travel stories, video posts, quotes, audio. It helped bring together an array of atoms and components that would construct the templates used across the website.

Development

I wanted to use a CMS that didn’t cost us any monthly bills as those expenses can hurt a business that is just starting out. We also wanted a single CMS to house our content and shop as this would make updating and adding content much easier and more secure. WordPress has an array of functionality and plugins that make it a versatile platform to use for our content and shop so it felt like the right fit for this project.

I’ve also been using LESS a pre-compiler for CSS for the last 6 years and I’ve found that it made my life a lot easier when creating websites from scratch. During the creation of my website, I built a LESS framework that gave me a toolkit to quickly start writing CSS with all the necessary code to normalise any browser quirks.

I prefer building a website from scratch rather then using pre-built templates as they can lead to more issues down the road. This makes updating the website much easier knowing where everything is. It has also allowed me to appreciate the work and dedication involved in both front and back end teams. This integral understanding has been vital when I’ve been working with development teams – to be able to speak in their language.

Final Designs

Blog section pageHome pageShop section page

Blog section page (left), Home page (middle) and Shop section page (right).

Semi-styled article pageFully-styled article pageNon-styled article page

Semi-styled article (left), Fully-styled article page (middle) and Non-styled article (right).

Shop details page Shop category page Checkout page

Shop category page (left), Shop details page (middle) and Checkout page (right)

Capture

It is important for us to capture and express our thoughts and ideas. I feel that we have equipped ourselves with the necessary tools to do that.

Namchetolukla is not a just a brand or an image, it’s the collective development of us as a couple as we aspire to motivate, educate and relate to people on a personal level. Our passion for culture and creativity gives us a vibrant flair that strives to spread honesty, compassion and gratitude. We are our happiest and most connected selves when we are surrounded by natural beauty, capturing unique moments, or giving back to others.

Credits

Company

  • Namchetolukla
  • Photography

Devices

  • Computer
  • Mobile
  • Tablet

Roles

Creative Direction
Visual design
Front-end development
Back-end development