The Hartley at Blue Hill

Identity & UI design for Agency FIFTY3

Project Overview

The Hartley at Blue Hill is a luxury apartment community currently being built in Chapel Hill, NC. They came to Agency FIFTY3 in need of a brand identity, custom brochure, 2D floor plans, an email confirmation page, and a responsive community website.

Chapel Hill, NC is an affluent town with various art museums, The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and The Morehead Planetarium & Science Center. The area is home to upper-middle-class individuals who can buy a home but prefer to rent for the amenities. Chapel Hill is home to a large percentage of young working professionals in healthcare.

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Identity Design

Research  |  Concept  |  Brand Identity  |  Marketing Materials


Their competitive audit helped guide me through the entire project. By comparing The Hartley at Blue Hill to nearby competitors within the housing market, I found it was best to take inspiration from their location, which is truly unique to them, and the meaning behind their name.

The Concept – From the Deer Pasture

I first started by creating a mood board of the direction that I saw this logo going. Once I felt comfortable with that direction, I went ahead and jumped into Illustrator to start designing.

Brand Identity

The Hartley is a surname that means “from the deer pasture.” Keeping this concept in mind, I incorporated a delicate deer antler to make up part of the Y in the primary and secondary logos. The full deer illustration is revealed within the brand icon.

The selected color palette helps to make this concept sophisticated, yet approachable as the client mentioned.


Marketing Materials

Once the brand identity was finalized, I carried their elements throughout the remaining marketing materials, consisting of 2D floor plans, a social media package, a confirmation email design, and a custom brochure.

UI Design

Research  |  Mobile Files


Since Agency FIFTY3 specializes in real estate, and the goal here is to design a website that converts, the UI design was approached with a few things in mind from a study conducted by Google and revolving around trends of apartment renters.

To understand the user, it’s necessary to think about what renters, the user, actually want and expect from an apartment community’s website.

Based on the study, users have four specific needs:


According to Google’s study, 72% of participants immediately jump online to search for an apartment, and about two-thirds of respondents rented an apartment that they found online. With this in mind, it’s crucial that a community site offers real-time data in an easy and accessible manner. The site should be kept up to date and easily accessible.


Users have come to expect engaging visual content within a community site. Having a visually pleasing site with quality photography increases the likelihood of users sharing listings, which increases traffic. The site should contain high-quality photography and videos, if applicable.


8 in 10 participants consider reviews the most important factor when searching for an apartment. Embedding a community’s social media and search engine reviews directly on the site give users verified opinions of current tenants and greatly helps influence their decision. Testimonials should be embedded and placed throughout the site. 


Google’s study found that nearly all participants use a smartphone when searching for apartments. From an SEO perspective, Google will tank your search ranking if a community fails to provide a mobile version of their site. With this in mind, the site must be responsive and easily accessible on mobile devices.

Mobile Files

To stay consistent with the typical layout of real estate community websites and to incorporate the four user needs from above, I created nine pages that display all of the necessary information.

01 Home, 02 Amenities, 03 Residents, 04 Floor Plans, 05 Gallery, 06 Location, 07 Contact, 08 Thank You, 09 Error

Moving Forward

Key Takeaways  |  Next Steps

Key Takeaways


The site is currently in development. However, since it’s designed around research, a competitive audit, and the four user needs; searchabilty, media, reviews, and mobile, it’s expected to lead to conversions.

What I Learned

The Hartley was my first ever branding project at Agency FIFTY3. Portions of the project were a learning experience. Most importantly, I understand how crucial it is to start a branding project with meaningful concepts and a clear idea of how the rest of the marketing materials and UI will adopt the guidelines.

Next Steps

  1. The client is providing images taken on-site. I would take those and edit them accordingly to fit the layout and style of the overall site and update some of the marketing materials with them.
  2. Before the site is ready to launch, I would make sure to address any new client / design revisions.
  3. Once the site has been live for some time, I would get its statistics and make any further changes to better the user experience.
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