We’re proud to have designed a new website for the Jackson chapter of Parents for Public Schools. PPS Jackson engages the entire community with what’s happening in Jackson Public Schools. I’ve been to several of their Ask for More Arts performances, and it’s so cool to see what the students are able to produce and learn.
We had an inspirational intake meeting with PPS Jackson’s Executive Director Carolyn Jolivette that left me feeling personally inspired and also clear about how their site should sound. Public schools can’t be pushed to the margins, but must be a commitment for the entire community.
PPSJ has incorporated the African philosophy of Ubuntu, “I am because we are,” into its work and it has in turn been adopted by all of Jackson Public Schools. It’s a beautiful concept that builds in the organization’s call to all of Metro Jackson to become engaged in what happens in Jackson’s schools. We wove that language in through every page, and included multiple ways for site readers to get involved whether they’re a parent, an educator, or a citizen.
We let the information drive the design on this project. It helped us make decisions about visual hierarchy, how pages should be organized, things like that. The big color bands instantly communicate kids and learning without feeling childish. The typography is bold & confident to proudly declare support for public schools in Jackson.
PPS Jackson has great photos of the students and parents who get involved. Many of the photos are not taken by professionals, but they feel 100% real and that works well in this case. The site also looks great on smartphones with a fully responsive design.
We’re really proud to work with such a great organization and excited to help them amplify their voice to the community.
Whether you're a nonprofit or a business we can create branding work that captures your message and engages your audience. Contact us to get started.
We were honored to be chosen by the Mississippi Museum of Art to develop a new website. The MMA brings national-quality exhibits to Mississippi (they just wrapped an exhibit with a Van Gogh self-portrait!), has an incredibly diverse and free to view permanent collection, and hosts countless cultural happy hours and fun events. The website design process was very involved, using equal parts design, problem-solving, and workflow solutions. Here’s a look at how it’s come together.
The first step in this website was discovery, gathering input from the Museum about what they’d like to see in the website. There were some internal things like usability, browser compatibility, and other things of that nature that needed to be addressed to make the site more useful for staff. We also looked at other museums around the country so that locals and visitors alike would feel that the Mississippi Museum of Art’s website is comparable to the standard.
As regular visitors to the Museum, we were immediately struck by how important events are to the Museum. While art and exhibitions are always the soul of the MS Museum of Art’s identity, there are so many other functions that take place there. The MMA regularly hosts happy hours, outdoor movies, musical performances, and food tastings. These frequent events make the MMA a beacon of culture for both locals and visitors, and needed prominent billing on the website.
The MMA is fortunate to have a strong brand (which predates our work) through its logo, typography, and color palette. We didn’t look to reinvent the wheel here. For the website, we looked at bringing in the Museum’s print look to the site. Innovations like webfonts, which didn’t exist when the old site was designed, allow for a much more consistent brand across print and web.
The design really came together when our designer Rob put together a button design with a box and border underneath (see above image). I immediately felt that this looked Museum-y and we expanded the design to the submenu navigation and other treatments throughout. Coupled with a tight grid layout and lots of white space to properly show off the artwork, the site’s design came together as a smooth extension of the MMA brand.
Those events get a nice spot on the home page, and also are broken into categories that go to the appropriate areas. So, if a site visitor is looking at the current art exhibitions, they’d be interested to know that there’s a day of activities for homeschoolers about the current featured exhibit. We try throughout the site to link visitors among related content.
The Museum has a large staff that is going to be making the primary updates to the website, so usability is an ongoing concern. As of this writing, we’re still working with the staff to tighten small things up according to their workflow. When we design a custom CMS website for clients, we want to adapt the workflow into their existing structures as best as possible.
There is a sweet spot to hit between templating and complexity in the different page design templates. The template must be simple enough for them to use, but visual enough to be interesting, on-brand, and not look like a stock template that a site visitor has seen somewhere else. I think we’ve hit that mark, with some cool features like custom top-left logos for some of the MMA’s sub-brands like the Palette Cafe.
First off, it’s simply a best practice to design new websites responsively, in a way that the content resizes to fit devices from smartphones to our office’s 27” monitors. For the Mississippi Museum of Art, it’s been especially important because so many of the website’s visitors are visitors to the Jackson area. These visitors might be at a next door to the Museum at the Jackson Convention Center and want to know what’s going on at MMA. The Museum is now better equipped to attract those visitors with a smooth viewing experience on smartphones.
One reason we call ourselves Creative Distillery is our ability to take complex problems and break them down into powerful, branded pieces. Contact us to begin your website design process.
“A Year at Mission Hill” is a project we came to through our work with IDEA. It is a documentary web series following a year in the life of an innovative public elementary and middle school in Boston, Mission Hill School. The series launched January 31, 2013 and has released a new chapter every two weeks for a total of 10 chapters. The last chapter launches Thursday, June 6.
The team and funders behind the project had a larger vision: to use the web series as a spark to launch conversation around issues in education. The YouTube link for each chapter is made available to a team of backing partners (and, of course, anyone else who wants to use and share!). The partners share the video with their networks and write framing copy from their perspective on the video. For example, the Ashoka Foundation’s Start Empathy initiative creates content inspired by the relationships between students and teachers. An organization focused on standardized testing might create content that focuses on how the students are assessed.
Each chapter is also paired with a set of resources categorized as Watch/Read/Listen/Do so that each chapter of the series can inspire specific action. There’s an ongoing conversation on Twitter using #YearAtMH. It’s been an honor to be a part of the team presenting this project. Watch the videos at the Mission Hill website and check out some of the resources.
We love feel-good and format-busting projects. Get in touch with us and let's come up with something cool.
The Challenge of Jesus is a video production of Faith & Reason featuring noted historical Jesus scholar John Dominic Crossan. Dr. Crossan has been recently elected president of the Biblical Archaeological Society. The final Challenge of Jesus product is a 2-DVD set and resource guide targeted to church groups and seminaries.
Creative Distillery has been involved with this product since its inception. We’ve worked with the video team to develop the look of the series, created custom illustrations for use in the production, and developed the physical materials for the product. Below is the cover to the Resource Guide:
If you couldn’t tell from our name, we’re big wine & spirits fans. Throw great food from local restaurants into the mix and we’re sold. We were excited when Kathy McDade of the Mississippi Hospitality Beverage Association asked us to design this poster for their new flagship event taking place in Vicksburg. We went for a look that felt fresh & premium, and hit some notes of steamships in the Rolling logo.