Cottage Home created a book to express its lifestyle brand.
The Cottage Home team is made up of experts in building custom homes on the shore of Lake Michigan. They’re also experts on the lakeshore lifestyle, and they were looking for a way to make their brand attractive to potential customers. Brian Bosgraaf, president and lead designer at Cottage Home, came to Black Lake and asked for our help creating a coffee table book that would tell the stories of several Cottage Home clients. Our first step was to interview nine of the company’s clients. From these interviews, we determined the outline of the book’s narrative. Over the course of additional discovery with Cottage Home’s leadership, we determined that staff interviews and a greater focus on the lakeshore lifestyle were also necessary. Our conception of the book and its purpose grew over the course of the discovery process.
The book needed to follow the narrative of families that have built a home on the lakeshore with Cottage Home, making the client the hero of their own story.
The clients’ stories go through ten common steps: Dream, Location, Decision, Design, Build, Move-In, Life on the Lakeshore, Aftercare, Community, and Legacy.
The book needed to highlight the lakeshore lifestyle and what makes it so special. In addition to stories and homes, area attractions should be featured to give a sense of place.
While Cottage Home should be featured in the book, it should not be the main focus. This is a book about life on the lakeshore, not a brochure for a company.
Black Lake’s design team worked on a layout for the book that honored Cottage Home’s existing brand standards and harmonized with them while also introducing some new elements. The spreads feature large photos of homes and the lakeshore, quotes and other callouts, and some larger sections of body text that tell the clients’ stories or highlight a lakeshore attraction. We made sure that the book wasn’t too text-heavy and was easy to flip through. On the content side of things, we transcribed the client and staff interviews and used that material to write stories and features that followed the book’s narrative structure. Black Lake interfaced directly with printers and collaborated with Cottage Home’s leadership to choose a suitable format for the book.
Together with Brian and his team, we envisioned Cottage Home giving copies of the book to prospective clients to help them get excited about the lakeshore experience. We also saw the book as a gift for past and existing clients, something that could sit on their coffee tables and generate interest for Cottage Home. We also helped Cottage Home figure out how to sell the book online and in local shops. After facilitating the printing process for the book, we designed an invitation for a book release party. Clients and contractors alike had great things to say about the book, and we’re excited to hear more feedback as Cottage Home distributes the book and spreads their love of the lakeshore lifestyle.