Morley Threads

Samuel Morley was a pioneering entrepreneur, philanthropist, abolitionist and symbol of social change. A model employer, he revolutionised workers rights in the late 1880s and funded many organisations across the city of Nottingham.

Over time, the memory of Morley and his ethos has faded. Backlit Gallery approached us with the challenge of creating a digital archive to preserve the legacy of Samuel Morley and reconnect the people of Nottingham with his story.

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The Challenge

As part of a Heritage Lottery Funded programme of work celebrating Morley’s legacy, we created an emotionally and visually led digital experience, that traces the life and impact of Samuel Morley using real human stories underpinned by a contemporary design and cutting edge technology.

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Strategic Thinking


When it came to visualising Morley’s impact, we determined that using emotions and real human experiences would be the best way to engage the local community.

Clarity and context

Making a profound and complex story simple and accessible was critical to the website’s success, along with providing context to the individual artefacts and stand alone stories

A modern twist on heritage

We needed to tell an old story in a modern way to engage people, positioning Morley’s story in a way that feels relevant to the audience. The site also needed to be responsive to reflect their growing needs.

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Hands-on research

To kick things off, we devised and delivered a bespoke UX (user experience) workshop to develop our understanding of the audience and Backlit’s unparalleled insight into Morley’s life, work and impact.

Once we had a clearer picture of who Morley was as a person, the lives he transformed and the relevance his legacy still holds today, we then began work on the content strategy to determine the best way to tell the story.

This resulted in organising the content into three main ‘threads’: human rights, industry and education.

Contemporary design

We created and developed an engaging interface to trace Morley’s past and the long-lasting impact his actions had on society.

Each ‘thread’ is guided by concise slides of text, seamlessly integrated with engaging multimedia elements including a variety of interactive videos, historic artefacts, original photographs and more.

Bringing together bold colours, illustration and multimedia content, we created an enlightening educational experience that encourages interaction throughout.

Cutting edge technology

Morley Threads is responsive across all devices, from smartphones to computer screens and utilises technology to provide an accessible experience that is relevant to a modern audience.

Personal community stories come to life through interactive videos and audio content, while subtle animations and transitions create an elegant and contemporary effect, giving historical content a modern twist.

Using Craft CMS, we gave Backlit full flexibility and ease of use to maintain the website themselves going forward.

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See the finished product at: