The brief

Create a standard image that would act as a placeholder on web and mobile applications to those places and spaces in the care of the National Trust that didn't (yet) have an image available. Initial suggestions included using the National Trust's oak leaf, using the logo over blurred images of generic buildings and open spaces, and a combination of the two.

No image available
An authentic picture frame, without a picture, put to good use

Getting underway

It didn't seem right to approach the task by just using the oak leaf – it felt like a misuse of using the logo. It's a proud marque to be used predominately and sparingly, not necessarily in a place that appears simple and obvious.

It also didn't seem appropriate to use a particular building to represent all buildings in the care of the organisation and an outdoors space to represent all countryside and coastal areas under National Trust care – it's misleading and in such a critical space, not at all helpful to the user.

Having explored the typical approaches (because you always have to go there to come back) we hit upon the idea of having some fun with the execution and making it authentic to the organisation.

Making the picture

The National Trust is fortunate to have its own picture library and within it, many pictures of the items in its collections. It's the perfect resource for the item I had in mind.

A picture frame.

A picture frame with no picture.

This would be the approach that would make the 'no image available' more in keeping with the spirit and authenticity of the National Trust because of its use and provenance.

Two potential images were found. One was an ornate golden frame, with its wooden rear visible, another, a more utilitarian frame with parts of a picture still attached in two corners. The ornate frame was ruled out because of it being portrait and not suitable to the final landscape format. The plain looking frame was ruled in, being landscape in format and retaining the vestiges of the picture that once sat inside it.

Little remained for us to do, other than cut the object out and place the 'no image available' text inside the frame. A quick turnaround for such a unique approach and one that stayed true to the spirit of the organisation.

It's a great alternative image that showed another side to the charity, and stayed true to its values in a unique and fun way.