The Sheldon Website

This website launched early in the pandemic when the future of many arts organizations was threatened. The site invited The Sheldon's audiences — previously thought to be digital-averse — to embrace the brand in new ways.

- Paradowski Creative Team

Can you describe your project and the concept behind it?

Our agency believes access to the arts is a human right, and our friends at The Sheldon share that belief. In late 2019, The Sheldon felt it was time to pursue a rebrand and website redesign. The goal? Provide more arts experiences to all. Our first deliverable — the new tagline Arts Without Borders — exploded our minds into fractals, culminating in a website that can only be described as a microcosm of sound, color, light, motion, art and yes, code.

Tell us about your initial moodboard, wireframe, or prototype. How did things change throughout the process?

Throughout the project, we were inspired by the variety of events held at The Sheldon — from art to live music to educational concerts. The initial design concepts were quite serious and heavy, using dark tones and clean geometry to evoke reverence; but, once we had a clear vision from the branding, the site ended up playing out much more boldly than we originally thought. It is lighter and more airy, with more organic geometry and lively tones.

What influenced your chosen technical approach, and how did it go beyond past methods?

Our technical approach utilized a more granular partial system than we have created in the past, which allowed us to reuse sub-components across top-level components for a highly customizable experience. As arts organizations are traditionally underfunded, this ease of use helped our client manage content within their staff and budget. We also integrated 3D features in the homepage to hit home the borderless nature of the brand.

What web technologies, tools, and resources did you use to develop this?

We utilized Blender, Cinema 4D, Adobe XD, WordPress, Gutenberg, and HTML5 among other tools and software.

When did you experience a breakthrough or an "a-ha" moment during this project?

We had just finalized the branding when we were concepting the home page. Someone joked about a site that "literally didn’t have borders,” and thus the horizontal-vertical scroll feature was born. We white boarded to map every state. By the end we had an embodiment of Arts Without Borders. It ended up being the easter egg that inspired the remainder of the site. We started to bring Arts Without Borders to life in distinctive ways across the site.

How did you balance your own creative ideas and technical capabilities with a fair representation of the client’s brand?

This experience was a celebration of collaboration and cross-functional engagement throughout. Internally, all disciplines — UX, tech, design, account, copy — had a seat and a voice at the table from the outset. The clients also remained enthusiastic and involved. Weekly check-ins ensured that we continued to have a shared vision, and the result is a site that deftly and beautifully expresses the brand’s current and future aspirations.

How did the final product meet or exceed your expectations?

The final product expanded the organization’s new branding, taking its tagline Arts Without Borders to a level of expression that even our team couldn’t have imagined. With inspired UX, beautiful design, unparalleled collaboration internally and alongside our passionate and trusting clients, this site not only expresses the new brand but brought it to life, engaging audiences and opening new lines of communication and experiences for The Sheldon.

Why is this an exciting time to create new digital experiences? How does your team fit into this?

This website launched early in the pandemic when the future of many arts organizations was threatened. We were excited to create a site that would usher The Sheldon into a new era before COVID-19, but never could have predicted its ultimate significance. The site invited The Sheldon's audiences — previously thought to be digital-averse — to embrace the brand in new ways. It continues to help our clients adapt, grow and bring arts experiences to all.

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