For a change of pace, I’d like to showcase a web design with this post. I don’t design web sites nearly as often as I design printed material, but here’s a site I’m particularly proud of. It’s for BoHo Theatre, a company I’ve been part of for two years now, and been associated with for longer than that.
This project began when I finished acting in my second show with BoHo, The Tempest, back in 2008. At the time, their website was a drab, dreary affair which had fallen on hard times and wasn’t being properly maintained anymore. This was in stark contrast to my experience with the company as a vibrant producer of art populated with outgoing and colorful personalities. I volunteered to redesign the company’s website with the goal of making it truly reflect the vibrancy of their work.
I worked with the Artistic Director the create a design based on a grungy, bohemian-inspired collage style that seemed aptly suited to a company whose full legal name is the Bohemian Theatre Ensemble. I wanted something highly graphical, but also adaptable, with a modular sidebar that could add and remove content sections easily. The company loved it, and so did audiences. I’ve received heaps of praise for this design over the years and it has long held a prominent place in my portfolio. Soon after I completed it, the company invited me to join them as their Media Director.
Over the next two years, as I managed the website, I began to see its limitations. As we expanded and wanted to include new content, I had to recode it in places to accommodate such changes. There were many places where I wished the site was more legible, and the layout crisper and clearer. And when we brought on somebody who increased the use of the blog and other social media tools, the site wasn’t prepared to effectively highlight these additions.
So this winter, I took on the task of another redesign. I kept the aesthetic, because as I’ve also taken on the role of being the company’s resident Graphic Designer, this lush grungy style has become part of the company’s visual identity. But I shrunk the header and the sidebar to give more prominence to the content, and reworked the body to make the site more legible overall. I gave more prominence to the blog and social media, and included a place to highlight upcoming events. I also streamlined the file naming and organization system, and made strong connections to our Flickr and YouTube accounts. Perhaps this is more of a major facelift than a full redesign, but it was nonetheless a great opportunity for me to learn from my earlier missteps and continue growing a brand image.
The company is continuing to evolve, and I’ll be interested to see how I feel about this design in another two years’ time.