New Work: MorePeaceCorps

June 16th, 2008

We’re feeling mighty good today. Just one week ago, we were anxious about the daunting task of building a website in just five days. The layout designs and site map had been approved but a number of tasks lay ahead: gathering all the content, coding all the pages, installing the content management system, creating the Flash and Javascript elements, checking for browser compatibility, etc. Basically, stuff that usually takes a month or two. But it’s projects like these that can make the business of web design fun and rewarding. Some background and screenshots:

MorePeaceCorps is a national outreach campaign by the National Peace Corps Association to reinvigorate the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps, a creation of the Kennedy administration back in 1961, has been experiencing a steady decline in both the number of volunteers and the funding appropriated by Congress. This campaign, by creating a strong network of returned volunteers, lawmakers, and leaders, hopes to increase Federal funding and to raise awareness about the importance of Peace Corps to America’s global image.

We began the project on May 13 with the goal of launching the site for an important conference on June 14. A few other milestones were set – to have a logo in place by May 23 and to launch an interim website by May 30.

Our approach to the logo was to keep it simple, keep it flexible, and to make it friendly yet bold. We opted for Hoefler & Frere-Jones’s Gotham Rounded as the typeface and a bordered circle as the shape. After a couple rounds of back and forth, showing variations in colors and text arrangement, we narrowed the choices to two final logos and eventually selected the winner:

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Next was the interim site. We initially thought about something extremely simple – perhaps a one-pager with some text and the logo slapped on top – but the abundance of great photographs made us want to try something different. The layout was pretty much a one-pager, but we decided to use the logo on top as a frame for a dozen-photo slideshow and also broke down the content into the three words of the tagline: Bigger, Better, and Bolder. This way, a visitor could get a clear sense of the campaign’s goals in a format different from the standard mission statement.

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With the logo and interim site out of the way, we focused our attention on the design of the website. We wanted it to be colorful, fun, informative, and energetic – a site that would convey the process of reinvigoration. With this in mind, we assembled a palette of bright colors – orange, bright green, and magenta – to complement the blue colors. We then focused on the navigation and layout of the site, to make sure everything would be easily found and readable.

Here’s how the homepage turned out:

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and the News & Events page:

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For the content management system, we used Expression Engine, which we think matches the needs of this site very well, especially in the management of the numerous states pages. We also created a Flickr group pool for MorePeaceCorps to encourage returned and current volunteers to upload photos to share with visitors to the site. We used FlickrSlidr for the slideshow.

By June 13, after what seemed like an endless week, everything had come together very nicely. The site received positive feedback from the NPCA staff and was fully operational. It was presented at the NPCA conference in Pocantico on the 14th . Yesterday, we came in for a few hours and put in some finishing touches, made some tweaks, and officially launched the website. There’s still some more content that’ll be added later, but for now, a big “whew” and some catching up to do on other projects.

Visit www.morepeacecorps.org.

Working With Constraints

June 6th, 2008

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From the ingredients left over from our party last weekend, we concocted a Friday late afternoon delight.

2 oz. of Bacardi Gold rum
4 oz. of Sprite
half a lime, cut into fourths

A White Cuba Libre?

A Couple New Looks

May 22nd, 2008

It feels like our various projects are colluding with each other to make sure they will all be launched at the same time rather than the staggered releases we had planned for. Such is the nature of the business!

In the meantime, a couple of sites to share:

We updated and improved the look and feel of the site for Tomorrow’s Business Leaders, a wonderful non-profit doing great work for high school students in the City.
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We also launched the site for Kouzan, a Japanese restaurant on the Upper West Side:
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We’re currently working on some exciting client projects, and we’re also eager to release new features and content for Gobbl. Also, if you’re looking to throw parties this summer, check out high-quality DJ equipment for rental on Rheewind.com – we couldn’t help playing around with the strobe lights at work the other day.

We’re Turning Two! Come Over!

May 14th, 2008

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Barrel will be turning 2 years old in a couple of weeks. Perfect excuse to throw a little party, no? Come join us May 31st at our place. Details and RSVP here.

New Brink Issue: Variety for the Homepage

April 19th, 2008

We’re excited to announce the fifth issue of Brink Magazine, our fast-growing online literary publication. In addition to the wonderful short stories and poetry in this issue, we were blessed as creative directors to have beautiful photography submissions to use on the homepage. To maximize the dramatic effect of the photos, we made full use of the top box and decided to feature only one photo at a time. Since Brink is published quarterly (and updated only 4 times a year), we thought having the homepage randomly rotate between the selected photos of the two featured photographers would help extend the freshness of the site. We hope you enjoy!

When you visit the site, you may see either of these (press refresh on your browser to see both):

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