In the beginning, there was a proliferation of awful looking websites. Infancy was nourished by programmers, bewildered print designers and tinkerers; all of whom faced severe (and unknown!) limitations. To further add to the confusion the technology supporting these websites was still aggressively moving in different directions. This was an environment that did not allow for elegance. The fact that there were beautifully designed websites at all was a minor miracle, a gentle tap on the shoulder confirming some degree of human ingenuity through collaboration. On occasion a relic from this recent past will appear; a website from, say 1997, yet there is little to assuage me from the anesthetic discomfort I feel.
The Consortium of Catholic Academies is a non-profit organization supporting students at four Archdiocese of Washington inner-city Catholic elementary schools. This consortium, the same non-profit that benefits students in the historically underserved inner city of our nations capitol, has a website from 1996. That the CCA deserves better is self-evident. Prior to hiring Silverpoint to design their site, the CCA had undergone a re-branding and marketing campaign. As we delved into the task of redesigning their website it became clear that our primary role would be to translate this new material into a functioning website.
When we state that we are to "translate this material into a functioning website", we tend to mean that the fonts, color scheme and general tone of the marketing material needs to be apparent on the website. But in addition to those requirements, there are opportunities to explore and expand upon that concept in creative ways. One design detail I particularly enjoy is the "WE" on the homepage slideshow. Emphasized in theme, scale and placement (notice that strong horizontal line connecting it to the background leading into the eye into the content area) the "WE" is a device that bridges the design to a core CCA Belief.
"Education is a collaborative responsibility"
The overall organization and clean feel of this design reflects the clarity of mission and need to articulate their values. Obviously a design should never interfere with the content, but in this case I wanted the separation to be stark. As you move to the interior page views this starkness is clear and in my estimation appropriate to the nature of the CCA. I think it's safe to say that we've elegantly escorted catholicacademies.org into the