This semester, the BFA Advertising and Graphic Design Department launched a new departmental Web site that brings the work of its students and alumni together within a cutting-edge context. The site, available at gdad.sva.edu, provides interactive access to departmental portfolios, 3D designs, product campaigns, senior libraries and much more. Visitors can also try out the Playspace, an experimental online art gallery that allows users to curate collections of work from the site and interact with the visuals in a 3D environment.
What was the design brief you were given for the GDAD site?
The brief given to us by Department Chair Richard Wilde was as follows: Position the department’s four areas of concentration—Graphic Design, Advertising, Motion Graphics and 3D Design—to take a leadership role in the world of visual communication as an educational resource, an avant-garde institution of learning that promotes the value of an interdisciplinary design education, and a space to develop and share content. From this we came up with three concrete goals for the site: 1) Showcase the high quality, breadth and diversity of student work; 2) Embody the ethos of the department, which we took to be limit-pushing, risk-taking, avant-garde, smart, sophisticated and always with a high production quality; 3) Keep it fresh with the ability to easily add new images.
Were there some specific Web tropes you were looking to avoid?
Absolutely. We wanted the site to look and feel different, to engender a sense of mystery that would encourage people to explore both the site’s content and design. We wanted nothing to do with traditional color schemes, type treatments or even navigation. Everything about the site was to be built from scratch to be custom-tailored to the department. We chose a CMYK color scheme both as a way of paying homage to the department’s print-based roots as well as to explore new territory by taking CMYK into the digital world. That’s what this department is all about: pushing limits, going beyond accepted boundaries, breaking new ground.
What is the reaction you’re hoping for from a visitor to the site?
I’d like them to think, ‘The work that comes out of this department is amazing! I have to go to SVA!’