• Denny Kurien

Branding for Real-Estate Developments : Stylescapes

Now that the real-estate housing market is booming again here in Toronto after the pandemic, we thought it be a good time to get on the radar of real-estate developers, who are looking to employ design thinking to come up with the branding for their upcoming high-rise condo or town-house property. But how do you bridge the gap between design thinking, and visual design (ie. the logo, the website, the marketing collaterals etc.). Well that's where using stylescapes comes in handy.

Branding is a collaborative process (and quite enjoyable may I add). We work with real-estate developers and their partner architects and interior designers, to co-create the branding for their upcoming property. As designers, we need to have a clear understanding of WHO exactly are the customers we're targeting, and WHY they would choose to live in the condo that is being built. Once we know this, we start planning on what the brand for the condo should look like, and sound like. This means coming up with:

  1. The name of the condo property

  2. The logo

  3. The website design

  4. Marketing collaterals (brochures, flyers, & corporate stationary designs)

  5. TSAs (billboards, construction hoardings)

  6. Digital & Social Media Marketing Content

  7. Interior way-finding signage designs

But all of the above manifestations, would be determined by WHO the customer / future home-buyer is that we're targeting.

To be able to figure out our ideal customer profile, we ask the following questions during the Brand Discovery Session:

Let's imagine our ideal customer. The one who is going to fall in love with our condo before the construction of the property even begins. They are so enticed by the location & neighborhood of the future condo, the finishes and accessories of the model show-room, the sleekness & elegance of the property marketing collaterals, that they are ready to put down a significant portion of money as deposit. Not only that, they are also excited to tell all their family & friends about this particular condo they are about to buy:

  1. Let's give this person a name.

  2. Gender?

  3. Age?

  4. Academic Background?

  5. Where do they currently live?

  6. What's their Occupation?

  7. What Fashion Brands / Tech Brands do they buy?

  8. How do they move around? (do they walk, drive, take the train etc.)

  9. Where do they currently work? (Big downtown corporate office / trendy co-working space / cool startup office).

  10. Where would they like to go on vacation? (relaxing calm beach, fancy luxurious resort, multicultural big city?)

  11. What kind of music do they listen to? What hobbies do they enjoy?

  12. What adjectives would you use to describe them?

Now that we have a clear understanding of who our target home-buyer is, we get to apply certain brand attributes that would attract these buyers to our condo. Now we get to shape the visual language of what's to come. This is where we collaborate with our clients to come up with stylescapes (moodboards on steroids) to make sure we are all on the same page. Once we are all in agreement on a stylescape we like, our designers now have a clear idea of how to visually manifest the brand.

Here's an example of a stylescape we did for The Echelon high-rise condo:

Our target home-buyer is female, and in her late 20s early 30s. She loves shopping therapy, and the excitement of living in the Downtown Core, where she also happens to work. This is the first time she is owning a condo (600 sqft) - the space of the condo doesn't matter, as long as it has all the amenities, pool, gym, 5G internet, and located right in the heart of the city with the best shops, restaurants, and nightclubs. It's girls night out, every night out. We then start gathering images from the internet, to start constructing a stylescape of what this person's life would look like, and the aesthetic sense of style they are into. Remember, we haven't started designing anything yet. Stylescapes are purely an internal communication tool to gather feedback from the client, to get rapid and high-fidelity prototypes done, with a low-commitment from us.

Only once the client is happy with the stylescape, do we proceed with the design:

Now compare the above, to the stylescape we came up with for a historic condo property in South Boston - that targets a very different customer profile:

Here our target home-buyer is still female, but a little older (mid 30s to early 40s). She is a high-income earner who has climbed the corporate ladder, and doing really well in her career. Her taste is a bit more sophisticated and refined. She appreciates the historic qualities of a neighborhood, and be able to buy artisan bread, wine, and cheese. She appreciates the elegance minimalism, and considers her home to be more of a sanctuary for her and her long-time boyfriend (double income, no kids). And so to appeal to her taste, you will notice that the color palettes we use are much more subdued and restraint.

Key Takeaway

The process of creating stylescapes is a technique that we designers use to reduce the friction and shorten the gap between the familiar and the new, through perpetual alignment.

Blair Enns, the author of "Win Without Pitching Manifesto" aptly put it:

Stars do not audition. We must give up our addiction to the presentation and the big reveal. - Blair Enns

By using stylescapes, we are replacing presentation with conversation, and taking steps TOGETHER with the client to arrive at what the brand should look and feel like. We all have different ways of coding language, and interpreting certain words. The words "beautiful, elegant, organic" may mean one thing to a client, but as designers we may have a completely different take on it. And so it's important to be on the same page as the client and all stakeholders involved in the project right from the very beginning, to ensure a successful delivery and project completion.

Hi, I'm Denny Kurien. I'm the Creative Director & Co-Founder of Rayvn Design, a branding & design consultancy in Toronto. Our primary clients are real-estate developers and boutique hotels looking to attract prospective buyers & investors to their property before it's built.

We do everything from coming up with the name of your property, to logo design, website design & development, architectural 3D renderings, all the way to designing the brochure, construction hoardings, and social media content for your upcoming properties.

If you would like to work with me and my team, then please schedule a 15 minute zoom consultation or shoot me an email at and we can chat about your upcoming property, and it's rapid path to market.

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