Things we designed in 2009 that we think are worth blogging about.
Dave Riensche, Art Director
We don't automatically think everything we do is amazing. We are pretty tough critics when it comes to our own work. There were, however, some things we did in 2009 that we think are worth reviewing. Sort of a 2009 year in review"¦ design stuff anyway.
1. Screenlife Games homepage
Warning: This is the second blog post in the past month that mentions Twilight. But come on, the Twilight visuals are fun. So are Simpsons visuals. And pretty much all of Screenlife Games' projects. This homepage design sticks out in my mind because the task was to bring the same vitality of the Screenlife Games (many of them Scene It?) games to the site, with the homepage being the grand entrance. The design is clean, vibrant, and works seamlessly with the subtle flash animation.
2. Apex Learning homepage
Apex Learning approached us with the creative task of representing online education visually. Only one problem: they wanted to avoid the tired cliche of a student sitting on a beach with a laptop (for example). We agreed. Cliches aside, the concept of not being in class while learning didn't bother us, it was the ridiculous notion that a student would actually be doing their work on the beach. Anyone who has taken a class online can tell you that they spent most of their time on a computer at home. In the case of Apex Learning's students, most of them would be in a lab on campus. Showing them in a lab is the safe visual, certainly appropriate for interior, literal pages, but not at all the dramatic imagery needed for a homepage. So we analyzed the cliche. Is it so bad to show a student out of their typical lab environment? Where could they be? How could we show this?
We decided to show the student where their minds would take them during online study. Then we gave the image a unique perspective that would translate well on a web page. In the example above, the student is studying science (Earth Science, Lesson 2.4: The Universe, to be exact), and this has transformed her to a location in outer space, the only visual being the dramatic solar system background along with the student and her monitor. Because learning has never been so limitless!
3. Red Hook mini-site
Summer, movies, beer. It's hard not to get inspired by those things. From start to finish, this was probably one of the fastest projects any of us have ever worked on. The Red Hook team was open to our ideas and pretty much let us run with what we recommended. They also had a great lineup of movies, event artwork and beer that made design elements easy to come by. Did I mention the beer and movies?
4. Vertafore homepage video
The flash design of the homepage banner for Vertafore's Phase 1 design (Phase 2 coming to a world wide web near you soon) is really slick. The banners rotate through different animations, and the first one has the added ability to play a video directly in the banner. This isn't the first of its kind by any means. But the design and smooth flash animation all came together really well.
5. All Star Directories
We have done quite a few mini-sites for All Star Directories over the past couple years. The objective of each site remains similar, although with a new variable each time. Mainly, they have to draw people in with a human connection. Attempting to connect with strangers through design is a challenging task, and very rewarding when we get reports that the sites are not only doing well, but exceeding expectations.