SOW

2020
  • Logo
  • Visual Brand
  • Dynamic Website
  • CMS Integration

The Scope

the dots between is an artist residency program founded by Tamara Bates to provide established artists with structured financial advice related to their creative endeavors. When Tamara first contacted me, she was eager to work toward a logo, visual identity, and dynamic website.

As we discussed the details of her vision, I was able to isolate three goals she had for her website. The website needed to serve as a comprehensive resource for would-be applicants. Tamara also felt it was important to showcase each cohort's artists. Finally, she wanted a frictionless method of collecting applications to the program.

One of my primary concerns was setting Tamara up for success with a site that could offer all of this yet maintain ease of use to facilitate adding, removing, and editing information on the fellows' profiles without touching a line of code.

The Results

The initial response was incredible! The inaugural cohort accommodated 25 fellows, and over 200 artists and creatives, mainly from the Southwest, applied for the residency directly through the website. The program has continued to grow; by its sophomore year, cohort size doubled to accommodate 50 artists. This growth has allowed the dots between to extend its reach and accept applicants from around the globe.

Logo

This project hit the ground running, and Tamara had a vision for this brand. She came prepared with a series of mood boards to communicate the visual ideas and color motifs that she found most appealing. I was able to take the documents she provided and use them as a lens for iteration. With the inspiration in place, I could dive into Logo Lockups and Color Palettes.

Tamara wanted a word-mark logo, so choosing the right font and creating a solid lockup would be crucial. It was important to me that this logo looked great and spoke to the background of the residency. By asking great questions and being sensitive to the aesthetics she was interested in exploring, I built the trust necessary to collaborate effectively. Having made that trust, I produced a logo that she felt great about within a couple of rounds. Once we arrived at a logo she adored, I focused my efforts on the website.

Website & Graphics

My goal with this website was to create something unique and speak to the brand's core using the elements that Tamara provided. I use Webflow to offer sophisticated websites with the granularity and optionality of a hand-coded website. This tool allows me to offer more than a templatized grid or the everyday interactions that appear on thousands of other websites. I was excited to help Tamara realize her vision for this website.

My first task with the website was to organize the information in a coherent and accessible fashion. I started with a site map generated from Tamara's content. With a workable sitemap in place, I could prototype an experience that helped Tamara offer feedback to guide my process and allowed her to see the potential for what form her site could take.

Once we decided that we liked the flow of website content, I began implementing graphic elements. This meant applying the brand color palette we derived from our earlier efforts and integrating pieces of artwork that Tamara's advisors had provided for the site. The art assets, together with video footage and color palette, allowed me to cultivate a sense of patina and evoke the artistic solitude of the Southwest.

Video Backgrounds

Tamara envisioned a website that would greet visitors with video footage of the advisors. Although I have extensive experience designing graphics for video and animation, I am not a video editor. I took this project as an opportunity to experiment and grow my skill set; I learned the skills I needed to edit and treat the footage myself.
 
Some of the unique challenges presented by the video informed specific design decisions. For instance, the videos utilize dark color filters to preserve the legibility of the copy. The experiment gave me new insights into the potential and possibilities for future projects and clients.

Ongoing Updates

After the program launch, Tamara discovered a few more needs that she hadn't anticipated. She wanted to add a personal "about" and "contact" page. Along with the additional pages, it was vital for me to address any future growth potential in the design. I wanted to give Tamara a turn-key site so she could be free to focus on the tasks that matter without worrying about troubleshooting or reaching out to support.

The most dynamic content on the site is on the fellows' page. I wanted to empower Tamara to update this quickly because the artists will change year to year. After its first year, the program doubled in size, so we reconsidered the layout based on user feedback. Ultimately, we decided to move away from graphically treated or uniform artist's headshots in favor of a more streamlined process that would allow Tamara to use any photos provided by the artist. Webflow features a built-in CMS Editor, so I set Tamara up for success by leveraging the automated tools that make designing future profiles much more accessible. Tamara can be self-sufficient while maintaining our carefully crafted design.

Lessons

I was delighted to provide Tamara with a website she loved and could be proud of! This website was my first opportunity to deploy a robust site design to a client without troubleshooting code. Building this site, I could stretch beyond my previous experience in Webflow and implement features that were even new to me. I also had the opportunity to experiment with video editing and treatment. My designs must reflect what is unique about a project, and I am thrilled to offer web design services that are not the same boilerplate templates a customer is likely to encounter out in the wild.