The changing face of diamond jewellery website design in Bangkok

Of all the things I’ve learned in the last six months, the most valuable is that the world is much smaller than I thought. When you put your mind to it, distance isn’t an obstacle but an opportunity. Let me explain. About a year ago, I began an exchange with Wit Sudjaimpun, the director of Above Diamond, a custom jeweller in the legendary Ban Mo diamond district of Bangkok. Wit’s family have been involved in the diamond trade for generations, both in the wholesale and retail sides of the business. With an eye on the future, Wit was keen to start again online. His challenge to us was — can we complete the branding and diamond jewellery website design project he had in mind, from London? This is that story.

How we engaged

The shift in this case covered so many angles, having a great deal in common with our design work for luxury hotels. Firstly, Above Diamond was going to be our first Thai client, with a marketplace almost entirely within that region. Second, this was a return for us to working on physical retail, with a brand identity central to the project. Third, Above’s approach to selling jewellery online was quite singular, requiring us to devise, totally from scratch, how their clients would approach a purchase both from a design and technical perspective.

Having established all this, it was an easy decision to work together. As we began work in June, we had been operating under lockdown for almost three months and this exotic project felt like the most amazing opportunity, a total shift in mindset and approach to business. Creatively, the first step was an evolution of the Above brand. This elegant upgrade seemed to set the entire project on a fantastic trajectory — very much a taste of things to come.

Taking Above to new heights

One of the reasons I say ‘remarkable’ is that very little of our process was conducted over email. Rather, for the first time we created a Slack channel specifically for a piece of work that our client was a part of. In a sense it could be a risky move, but I saw it as a natural next step in an evolution of our working practices. In recent years we’ve been keen for our clients to move ever closer to our creative process, such that they feel invested, feedback is swift and hardly any time is wasted. This project saw a client take a step closer and be a direct witness to our design, build and upload process. Distinctly ironic, considering Wit and his team were more than 7,000 miles away.

It’s fair to say I’m biased, but I consider the website redesign to be really beautiful. One of the most distinctive elements is its use of type, with fonts designed by Pizza Typefaces, based in Paris and Oh No Type Co., in California. The typography completely transforms the project, giving it a very particular look which I particularly enjoy.

Thais that bind

In a sense, this dual approach, applying as much consideration to the Thai as English typefaces is symbolic of the entire project. Essentially, it embodies a pairing of approaches, both aesthetic and retail. In theory, the distance and language barrier ought to complicate and frustrate our partnership, but what’s thrilled me is how in fact this has been the easiest part of the work. Modern communication tools like Slack have certainly helped, but a willingness to embrace the difference and opportunities that presents is the real story here.

The end result of our brand and web design work with Above Diamond is one which I hope forms the basis for a long-time partnership between London and Bangkok, building on this first project and evolving over time.

Find out more

More about the project

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Richard Chapman

Founder of a home-made branding and web design studio in west London.