Auto Restorations web design showcase, three pages from the site displayed in an overlapping symmetrical composition. Rebrand for growth. Brands for New Zealand companies, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Auto Restorations logo. Brands for New Zealand companies, Christchurch, New Zealand.This well engineered website redesign for Christchurch Classic car restorations firm Auto Restorations was a combined rebrand and website redesign project that has been very well received by the client and their target audience. It considerably strengthened Auto Restorations’ online marketing because it looks great and it sells.

A website can look great and still not sell anything. In web design as in print design and advertising, what you say is as important as how you say it. If I had not collaborated with General Manager Allan Wylie to co-write the web copy and ensure the site’s message is in tune with their clientele and sells, then all the project’s creativity would have been wasted .

Auto Restorations capab

The first spread inside the cover of the 8 page gatefold “peek-a-boo” capabilities brochure. The key to a website or a print brochure that sells is simple: Keep all eyes on the product.

The website was the point of departure on a comprehensive marketing communications project. The key was going back to the drawing board to re-create the existing logo, which was in need of repair. Once the legacy logo was converted to clean web & print files, the marketing campaign to secure the firm’s pre-eminent position in their field nationally and internationally could roll out.

The strongest conclusion is the one you draw yourself

The campaign built a strong brand for Auto Restorations by communicating simple ideas with clarity and charm. It involved readers and site users by pleasing their eye, challenging their curiosity, telling stories in plain speech, and letting the reader think. Good creative direction ensured that as it proceeded the project did not lose clarity and creativity did not overpower communication.

Great research turns information into strategic assets

Reading library books and enthusiasts’ photo gallery websites about the classic cars Auto Restorations had restored enabled me to solve the roadblock the web design project was hobbled with at the start, Auto Restorations had almost no professional standard photographic images of their sixteen prestigious award winning restorations completed and on-show.

‘First in Class’ award winning 1947 Talbot Lago T26 Coupé at Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance, California,

‘First in Class’ award winning 1947 Talbot Lago T26 Coupé at Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance, California, USA, 2005.

There were thousands of work-in-progress shots of the cars in pieces in the workshop, which was good, but they had very few quality images of any of their completed restorations, which was not good. The irony was their award winning product has such obvious qualities, but I could not show them. Given their customers lavish money and attention on their passion for rare and beautiful classic cars, the fact our website’s visual resources at project start-up lacked the very thing they were most likely to be interested in… this unbending gridlock was not good enough.

So I fixed it. Emerging from great research, I wrote to all the photographers I discovered who had shot great images of their completed restorations on show across North America, the U.K. and Europe, this initiative secured the imagery necessary to design and build a coherent, appealing website and matching print design assets

There are few projects where my clear thinking, good planning and careful work has paid off so tangibly.

“The international renown and recognition that Auto Restorations has earned over the years is due to the exemplary skills and, talents and exacting standards of our individual employees.”—Allan Wylie, General Manager

Close-up of Talbot Lago half page

Challenging curiosity is the best way to grab and hold attention.This advertising campaign works hard, has a series of great ads that share a single-minded proposition, and a theme that is updated easily. This Talbot Lago T26 ad was the first in a series that make up an integrated marketing communications message. They communicate the newsworthy message clearly and keep all eyes on the product.

The planning, research and development of concept

The client and I shared the single minded idea that to be certain of success the site must simply show off their work in the best light. We planned the web copy to be short, so a dark website was obviously the best way to frame great imagery of the cars, keep all eyes on them, and allow them to shine.

Site “look and feel”, U.I. and behaviour

Aside from the research mentioned and the authority that Allan’s industry expertise and authority brought to project, the project required:

  1. Planning and research including a review of the competition both in New Zealand and abroad.
  2. Inventory current assets followed by the library task of consolidating several archives of digital assets. Sorting and rating digital libraries of hundreds of images, scanning shoeboxes of loose photos and published articles. Following on from this was editing of all site images to a standard. Colour correction, removing dust and scratches, cutting away distracting backgrounds.
  3. High quality documentary photography of the workshop facility and skilled workforce, work in progress and completed restorations. Which I was able to provide.
  4. Selecting the right web coding firm as project partner. The site was coded and the CMS customised by Zoomroom Interactive. The site was populated by MagentaDot Brands.
  5. Follow through with CMS educational and training materials and a brand use / graphic standards manual.

…I think what the website’s purpose is not so much to attract a larger number of customers, as it is for people who might have heard about us by other means to have a look at our profile and see the sort of things we do, the sort of company we are. …to give them the impression we are people worth their while to deal with… So I see the main purposes of our site is to; showcase our work, give an impression of what our company is like, give the impression we’re reliable and work to the highest achievable international standards.—Allan Wylie, General Manager

The new ‘Muscle Cars’ gallery section header page.

Ferrari_1954_PanamericanaBuilding a strong brand by design

Craftsmanship is the attention to detail. The key to an attractive site with durable appeal lies in the details. For example, relevant automakers dimensional badges enhance the individual galleries— the marques help site visitors connect with the car featured. Such attention to detail also gives them the impression Auto Restorations are people worth the customers’ while while to deal with.

The site provides a rich brand experience, designing a suite of custom themed icons and badges enhances the user experience and showcase the cars ‘best foot forward’.

Auto Restorations—Automotive Dreams infographics


The positioning of the brand is also graphically expressed in the ‘Passion point’ marketing communications slider at the head of the homepage.

Siata_Balbo_Coupe_1955The aesthetic appreciation of classic cars, the collection and racing of them is a curious blend of history, motorsport, art, industry and emotionally charged triggers. The rarest and most beautiful examples are becoming elevated to a form of highly prized, highly tradeable fine art object. These characteristics were distilled into the “Auto Restorations.Automotive dreams’ infographics.

Their pre-eminent position internationally in Classic Car Restorations secured

Half page magazine advert, “First in Class”, featuring 1955 SIATA 208 CS Balbo Coupé which won First in Class in the Sports and GT Cars (Post-War to 1953) class at Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Florida, USA, 2009.

Half page magazine advert, “First in Class—Amelia Island Concours, Florida” featuring award winning 1955 SIATA 208 CS Balbo Coupé and the owner’s hearty testimonial.

My work for Auto Restorations met the key challenge to let the client’s award winning work speak for itself. The redesigned site and allied print collateral has given the client the means to express themselves clearly for the first time and enabled them to stand out as world leaders in their field with correspondingly high ranking search engine results. Along with the web coding project partners Zoomroom, the job was done well and Auto Restorations have gained a positive return on their marketing investment. If you think a responsive website redesign might be right for your firm contact me here.



Client: Auto Restorations
Category: Classic car restorations
Web Design firm / Project management/Content upload: MagentaDot Brands.
Web coding and CMS customisation: Zoomroom Interactive
Disciplines: Brand and identity systems design, Copy writing, photography, icon design, digital illustration, Web design, Web content management