I was asked to oversee the development of a timeline mechanic that would sit within the HRP website and direct users to events inside a given time period. The time periods were the reigns of five monarchs between 1689 and 1901, and a means had to be found of devising a visual key for the interface. Initial rounds concentrated more on portraits - actual and stylised - of the monarchs themselves, but this didn’t seem to stand out from the imagery of the website itself.
So taking cues from the palaces in HRP’s remit, I looked at architectural and interior features to see if they could give distinct visual information for each time period in a clear way.
The solution I hit upon was that of windows. Each period had at least one distinct form of window in one or another of the palaces, and I had the team work them into vector illustration cutout form to provide the headpieces of our timeline bars.
The texture and detail of each vertical bar was then provided by an interior detail in a semi-opaque layer over the top. Chair back and leg details, dresser edges and chinois wallpaper patterns all went into generating the feel of graphic elements that would evoke a particular time and place.
The timeline was then assembled and inserted into the website, guiding visitors to the stories of their choice.