One of the United States’s most iconic and respected design schools, Philadelphia’s University of the Arts (UArts) has been educating visual and performing artists for over 130 years in design, Visual Arts, Film, Dance, Theater and Music. In 2011, the increasing predominance of digital media in its students lives led the university to reconsider the role of its website in fostering a closer connection with not only the students themselves, but the potential students, parents, alumni, donors and faculty that make up the extended UArts family. In an effort to help www.uarts.edu evolve as a central destination for this diverse group of users, UArts turned to the most experienced team of designers it could find to help.
The core strategy of the new site was to strengthen the UArts brand by focusing on their community—the diverse population of successful graduates and current students that embody the spirit of the university. Showcasing the work of students and faculty, past and present, underscored the University’s persistent leadership in the world of arts education and captured the spirit of the school as an artistic force of nature, continually releasing new creative works into the world.
The execution focused on streaming the existing UArts site to bring these themes to light; an audience-oriented navigational structure and innovative cross-linked content strategy was developed to support the university’s brand identity while paying tribute to the students and teachers that has been so central to its success. Pivotal to making this strategy a success is the Studio Spotlight, a feature that enables students, alums and faculty to share the work, experiences and feelings that connect them to the UArts Brand, creating a diverse and continually expanding online catalog of work.
The resulting www.uarts.edu has redefined the UArts brand to a new generation of users is a visual portfolio for the school, showcasing the worlds of it’s finest students across multiple disciplines. It stands out among the websites of other fine arts institutions in that it is in every sense about the students and the work that define the UArts brand. The proud recipient of the 2012 People’s Voice Webby Award, the site has garnered accolades from across the web for its innovative design, content and community spirit.
Copyright © 2011, the University of the Arts, Philadelphia. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Produced for the University of the Arts while employed at Siegel+Gale.