We work with a wide range of clients from large corporations to small family-owned businesses, nationally funded organizations to grass-roots startups; but keeping design fun and creatively challenging can be difficult. As the art director, designer and front-end coder all-in-one it can feel like I am designing in a vacuum, and all too often I rely on tried and true layouts instead of really pushing the boundaries of design. But every once in awhile a project comes along that snaps me out of the daily grind and really challenges my design and coding techniques, improving the design standards for all of our clients.
In the past year, not one but TWO of those projects came across my desk. Being a huge fan of independent musicians I jumped at the chance to work on sites for the Diamond Center, a band out of Richmond, VA; as well as their publicity firm, Deus Ex Machina Publicity, in New York, NY.
The Diamond Center was extremely challenging. Having gone to design school with one of the founding members of the band, as well as being friends, I knew I had my work cut out for me. Working with designs the band had already put together I created a fun, relaxed concept that reflected the band's personality and style while also maintaining clean code and text for search engine optimization. We also had to integrate Flickr images and their Twitter feed into the design without them looking like an afterthought. We accomplished everything we needed to with .png files and a lot of CSS wizardry. The end result was a bulletin board effect with dynamically placed images of push-pins and tape with torn paper and uncommon fonts to give the site an organic feel on top of its clean, structured code.
Deus Ex Machina PR was a very similar project also with a non-traditional site layout. The owner wanted something similar to The Diamond Center but with a cleaner, more open feel. Again, using .pngs and a lot of CSS we created a site that had structure as well as some uncommon design elements. Positioning was key with this project and it took a lot of time in tweaking to get the images to line up properly in all browsers.
I look forward to more projects like these in the future. Any bands out there that need a website, let us know!