Keeping a historic railroad foundation on track
The Oregon Rail Historic Foundation provides for the preservation, operation, and public enjoyment of Portland’s historic locomotives, and educates the public about Oregon’s rich and diverse railroad history.
ORHF approached us seeking a modern new website that captured their passion for historic locomotives, was easier to navigate, and enticed new visitors to their museum and events.
Heritage style with modern shine
ORHF had minimal existing branding, giving us a blank slate but also a challenge: how do you distill the history of century-old locomotives into a 21st-century aesthetic?
We chose a shade of maroon for the new brand color and geometric fonts that bridge the gap between the antique luxury of the railroad era and contemporary design sensibilities. We recolored a close-up photograph of bolts on a locomotive with our new maroon as a common background image, visually holding our website together like the bolts physically hold the locomotive. To counterbalance our dark color scheme, we populated the site with vibrant photographs, showcasing the joy to be had at the museum.
ORHF invited us over for a private tour of the museum and locomotives before we got started, and we used this experience to inspire a suite of design homages to make the website unique and memorable.
Our homepage includes a playful graphic that colors in when hovered to evoke the construction of railroad lines, and a long vertical line connects most inner page sections, recalling the vastness of the railroad network. The buttons feature a unique animation of long lines that slowly extend to call to mind the motion of riding a train. All together, our new website mirrors the awe and wonder of these giant machines and encourages visitors to experience them in person.