‘A Picture Speaks 1000 Words’ – Ootlier Case Study

Ootlier Publishing .

Ootlier is a photography and publishing project based in Scotland. A key part of the Ootlier’s purpose is to change the way society looks at it’s surroundings and give new perspectives on cultural shifts through photography. This is explicit in some projects e.g. ‘Waterworks’ and how people view the highland landscape or the overlooked and forgotten crafts in ‘Shetland Oo’. In other projects it’s less so for example in the flora still life series and demolition of housing schemes. This ethos runs through everything Ootlier does.

Ootlier’s projects cover, but are not limited to, portraits with the purpose of capturing the dignity of human endeavour, books documenting the work of Shetland wool manufacturing and photographs exploring the human engineering of landscapes. The work documents people, lost or forgotten skills and elements of life that are often overlooked. We sell our work as prints and books, the majority of sales come from the United States and Europe.


We were tasked with designing a website that was clean and didn’t obstruct the photography but gave each piece space and emphasis. The design had to be clear and have some character.

Ootlier’s main goal is to grow the publications following and get more people interested in the Ootlier project. The long term goal is to create a magazine based on the photography and concepts explored within the projects.

Experience Design .

Ootlier’s stunning photography made this a really fun project to design for. On the home page we gave the photography front stage as the imagery speaks for itself.

The navigation button when pressed/clicked reveals the links with a smooth elegant transition bring a dynamic feeling to navigation but also giving the design some character.

In the gallery each image is almost full screen width and height with very little distractions putting emphasis and importance on the photography. Along the bottom of the gallery are translucent dots indicating how many items are in each album. We added another image counter indicator to the top left of the gallery so it is quickly clear how big the gallery is. In the bottom right corner is a gallery toggle which when pressed gives you a preview the images.

Each page with a text section is given one full page height which makes each section a joy to read as the text glides in with a smooth animation. Giving the text section space to stand on it’s own asks the users to pay attention to the content without screaming and insisting upon itself.


Within the first 30 days Ootlier’s website received 4,791 hits. Ootlier have successfully launched their new Zine.

“Working with Nana and the team at Spectre was a real pleasure. From the first meeting, to ensure Spectre understood the ethos and brand identity of Ootlier, to the final signing-off for the finished website, I felt that they took the time to understand what Ootlier is all about. The team were enthusiastic and excited about the project – providing original and creative ideas for the website design and functionality. Even when I couldn’t articulate exactly how I wanted something to work and look, they came up with ideas which fitted perfectly with the Ootlier ethos, delivering a website which I’m really very proud to have as a showcase for my work.”

– Tom Barr – Creative Director

The perfect match.

Working with Tom from Ootlier was a true pleasure. Having the opportunity to work with such a creative professional who’s passion for photography and his work truly shined through into the project.

If you would like to find out more about this project or find out how we can help your business please get in touch.