It's been an exciting few months at Makermet. Since winning the bid for the position of Digital Partner in October last year, a fantastic relationship has formed between our respective teams, and today we're presenting the outcome of everyone's work on the website that presents Nottingham to audiences both local and global; the brand new website for Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature is live.
The new website gives a voice to Nottingham's writers and wider literary scene via the blog, works as an indispensable tool for promoters of and visitors to literary events, matches local talent with international writing and performance opportunities and promotes Nottingham's cultural heritage and contemporary literary scene to the global audience it very much deserves.
The project began with an exploration session, which involved representatives from key funding and support partners including the Arts Council, Nottingham Trent and Nottingham Universities, The Creative Quarter, representatives from Nottingham Libraries and the Nottingham City of Literature team themselves. The discussion gave all attendees the opportunity to share and debate their ideas for how the website could best relate to the diverse audience represented by the initiative.
The Makermet team, led by Alex Traska, developed a good understanding of our organisational objectives for the site and have completely transformed our website. They were equally dedicated to developing a creative site with user-centred personas as a focus. We hope the new website proves a successful platform for a more integrated experience for users. And the architecture and design allows Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature to develop exciting new ways to communicate with our many audiences in the future.
Sandeep Mahal Director, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature
We all agreed that simple, tangible, human emotion should be the starting point for all subsequent creative output on the project; user experience, copywriting, user interface design and social media presence. Copywriter on the project, Martin Rockley, helped us cut through buzz words like "passion" and "innovation" during our exploration workshop to settle on a concept absolutely basic and universally understood: "enjoy".
It's far easier to deliver an experience based on a real emotion like enjoyment than something complicated and abstract like "innovation" - we used bright colours to represent a vibrant scene and a tone of voice that represented Nottingham's rebel spirit and legendary dialect, duck. Indeed, their weekly Nottingham Word of The Week article flies that flag across the homepage.
We were keen to break up a familiar grid-layout with graphic devices, like "the sail" which scythes through feature images for blog articles and events with flat colour and carefully selected type; the sail and the vibrant user of colour is purposefully more "Channel 4" than "Dewey decimal system".
Before exploration and specification development had even begun, we were clear about our intention to build with Craft CMS and work with a number of third party plugins to deliver all the functionality we required; events calendar management, flexible content publishing tools, multiple user roles and more besides. It's been all-hands-on-deck towards today's launch, but we'll be exploring the exploration, design and build process in more detail in a case study blog post we'll be publishing soon.
Working with the Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature team has been a fantastic experience. Their vision and subsequent engagement with our process and trust in our creative direction has helped us deliver a product that contributes towards their end goal. So let's build a better world with words.