Although Complete Control are best known as one of the UK’s leading children’s interactive production companies, we are often asked to take on exciting digital challenges that sit slightly outside our normal remit. We like to call these ’Special Projects’.
Our most recent of these happened when we were approached by the world famous, Michelin starred chef, Raymond Blanc and his team to reimagine and rebuild his website – raymondblanc.com. His existing website had become outdated and wasn’t responsive, plus it didn’t really reflect Raymond’s personality, philosophy and passions.
Complete Control’s quirky creative approach and attention to detail were the perfect match for Raymond’s vision and direction for the website, which is the same philosophy he applies to his food… ‘Keep it simple, keep it fresh. Let the flavours of the ingredients do the talking’. After winning a multi-agency pitch, the Complete Control team brought the project back to Bath, and immersed themselves in a world of exquisite dining experiences, seasonality with only the finest ingredients, plus large servings of ‘ooh-la-la’ and ‘je ne sais quoi’ to produce a truly unique and ground breaking interactive experience for one of the world’s greatest chefs.
The process began with us immersing ourselves into discovering everything about Raymond Blanc. We created a comprehensive ‘mindmap’ sketch that encompassed everything about the legendary chef, from him having no formal chef training to be being continually inspired by his mother, ‘Maman Blanc’ and her passion for great food. The success of this mindmap was proven when it ended up pinned to the notice board in Raymond’s office for several months! Once we knew the man, we began to build a website that changes and adapts for every season – just like the food that Raymond produces in his many restaurants.
We were very keen to avoid creating ‘just another recipe website’. Everything we did reflected the passion and attention to detail of the food and the beautiful fresh produce used in his dishes. We wanted this site to be more a lifestyle magazine with Raymond himself as chief content curator and editor-in-chief. We worked with a top food photographer to shoot brand new photography for all of the recipes on the site. We also produced a series of beautiful step-by-step videos for many of the recipes, to show the user how they should evolve from the basic ingredients into a finished dish – these also provided exceptionally mouth watering social media content. We also created a range of cinemagraphs – still images with slight motion that really highlight the beauty of the recipes. We produced a range of stunning seasonal illustrations and animations to make the recipes and their seasonality come alive. These change for every season, and were painstakingly accurate – being developed under the keen eye of Raymond’s head gardener from his award winning restaurant in the Oxfordshire countryside.
To give the user a truly personal experience and a unique insight, we worked to capture the ‘real world’ of Raymond and his team. As part of an ongoing process, we shot video and images of Raymond, his restaurants and gardens, capturing many ‘behind the scenes’ and candid scenarios that give a real sense of being ‘up close and personal’ and part of his world. Like the website, this will be updated every season to always keep the site fresh and new. After discovering many of Raymond’s interesting stories, anecdotes and principles during our research, it felt really important to share these with the audience. To do this we produced a beautiful parallax scrolling story page that tells his story from the early days in France right through to the modern day. To do this we were privileged to have access to Raymond’s own family photos and archives.
We also developed a Manifesto page – inspired by the classic Bob Dylan ’Subterranean Homesick Blues’ movie – that highlights all of the ‘little things’ that are important to Raymon, reflecting his key philosophies and principles. The design of the site itself was all undertaken by Complete Control. We started with a brand logo and a colour palette, and went on to create the full digital look and feel, including custom icons, typography, illustration, plus art direction for photography and video. We also produced all the animation and videos in-house, using our already well-known flair from working with some the best animated brands in the world.
The site itself is fully responsive to work across the wide spectrum of devices. It is powered by WordPress that enables the Raymond Blanc team to edit almost every element of the site without any technical skills. It has been created in a modular way that enables our design and development team to rapidly build new pages in minutes rather than days, enabling the site to be extendable and expand into the future. This ’Special Project’ has been a truly rewarding and challenging experience. It has delivered something that both Complete Control and the Raymond Blanc team are incredibly proud of, and exceptionally happy to be part of bringing Raymond Blanc into a new level of interactive engagement.