Volume 35 - Summer 2022

Building a Story of a Home: Interview With Tanner Wilson, Founder and Creative Director of Tanner Wilson Design Inc.

Long before a Townline building stands proudly in its carefully chosen location, before construction even begins, we need to express the meaning of the project , its positive impact on our community, and its possibilities for the future. To do so, we work closely with graphic designers, writers, and creative agencies to bring the concept of the project to life as colourfully and descriptively as we can. The plans, the vision, the design – all of this and more exists through meticulous planning processes that lead up to the final, tangible building. But we need to show you what we’re thinking.

It falls into the category of marketing – but this isn’t about being “sold to.” We want to connect personally with the people who want to connect with us – to show them what we have to offer, why it might be important to them specifically, and to help them envision the home they wish to live in, and the lifestyle they wish to lead. That’s where creative professionals like Tanner Wilson come in. Tanner is a graphic designer with nearly 20 years of real estate experience who knows how to build a brand that is perfectly attuned to our city’s buildings and neighbourhoods. Here, Tanner shares his insights on the importance of building meaningful brands.

The Story Developer

“Creative individuals and agencies work closely with the developer to create a brand for the project that feels distinctive, but most of all, genuine. At the very basic level, the brand involves a name, logo, and colour palette, wrapped in a narrative that tells the story of the project. To tell these stories properly, we need to understand what makes each project unique. What are the characteristics of the place that makes the location desirable? What are the architectural elements that make the building distinct? Is there a unique package of in-building amenities? What inspired the interior design and how do the spaces benefit the homeowner?

“Once we’ve done our research, we combine design, copywriting, photography, and digital renderings to create engaging and informative websites, beautiful print pieces and other collateral that tells our significant stories to the right people, at the right time. Presentation centre spaces are another crucial component to the storytelling process – this is where future homeowners can really envision what their lives might feel like in this new iteration of it.”

Collaboration is Key

“In essence, we are inviting our audiences to imagine the future. Our communication needs to be honest, exciting, and resonate truthfully. A strong vision from the developer is important, and it needs to be strongly communicated to the whole team so that everyone contributing to the project is pushing toward the same destination, from architect to interior designer to landscape designer.

“Seeing the work of the architect and interior design teams can help a great deal. A townhome, five-storey wood-frame structure, or 40-storey tower is the result of an incredibly collaborative group of creative people. Often, something in the architecture, interior design or landscape provides the jumping off point that inspires the brand identity development. It’s great to have the opportunity to interact early with the partnership team and bounce ideas back and forth.”

Crafting Understanding

“Vancouver is an increasingly appealing city for buyers from around the world. Immigration continues to be an important part of the Canadian experience. We need to create homes, brands, and stories that resonate across different cultures.

“We also have a shifting environment in the types of homes and living experiences available to us. Many people grew up in single-family homes, but population growth, environmental considerations, and work-life balance are changing our cities. Condominium living is increasing, and we need to create the spaces that maintain and even improve lifestyles, while telling the stories that make a positive urban approach understood and appreciated.”

Building Success

“I’ve seen strong markets where inventory sells fast, and weak markets where inventory can languish. In slow markets, there are always projects that sell more effectively than others. I have come to recognize that there is a correlation. A developer who is wholly committed to their belief in making their project the very best it can be uses the best partners. They have great trust and belief in the space, form, and materiality of the building. They give deep thought and make a substantial commitment to adhering to the original vision, regardless of changing market conditions. I believe the consumer is savvy, and sees and embraces quality. The brand and its application are often the first showcase of this commitment to quality.”

Townline Teamwork

“We’ve done multiple projects with Townline. We began on a few of their rental projects in Vancouver and Victoria. Now, we are creating the story for their residential project ‘BAND’ in Coquitlam. This is a great example of how interesting architecture leads to crafting a brand story. There is a unique vertical expression to the building – a ‘band’ of sorts that has a distinctive verticality to it. It has informed our creative work from the start.”

Local Love

“I love seeing our work in the marketplace, seeing the success of a story. The phone call you get from the sales and marketing team or the developer expressing appreciation for a job well done is fantastic. Ultimately, seeing the finished building filled with homeowners who bring a new dynamic to the neighbourhood, and knowing we played a small part in that, is hugely satisfying.”

Past Volumes