"This site feels like the documentary. You don't wonder what the material is about or what the DVD is going to be like because the graphic landscape and classic docu-style narration perfectly capture the spirit of the content." —juror Jacquie Moss
"Although the initial 2MB download tries the patience, the well-executed navigation and stunning imagery make for a compelling site. The subway train gallery is a particularly engaging example of how Flash design can suit subject matter." —juror Jeffrey Veen
Overview: Seeking to recreate the streets of New York City in 1982, Style Wars features images, videos and an innovative exhibit of subway-car graffiti. For those who lived at the time, the site serves as an old school reminder; for a new generation, it offers an educational time capsule of early hip-hop culture.
• 6 videos, 45 images, 20 graffiti trains
• 2MB initial load
• 122,518 unique visitors within the first 3 months
Comments by Dan Gardner:
"Creating a website for the landmark hip-hop documentary movie, Style Wars was an undertaking that required an understanding of the formative years of graffiti culture and its visual language.
"When graffiti icon Carlos Mare 139 Rodriguez brought the project to us, the collaborative effort was a process that required understanding the film and the mining of an enormous photo archive from famed hip-hop documenter/photographer Henry Chalfant. The goal was to create a site that not only engaged and educated visitors, but also highlighted director Tony Silver's film and made it available for purchase online.
"The design objective was to recreate a period (New York City 1982), and bring it back to life. For the people who lived it, the site would become an old school throwback; for the people who were experiencing it for the first time, it needed to function as an educational time capsule—a visual reference of early hip-hop culture.
"The creative challenge was to choose images, from among thousands, that would best represent a world that no longer exists. From the creation of buildings, fences and walls to the actual graffiti and trains, every image that would become part of the site had to be altered in one way or another to form a single, cohesive panorama.
"The technical challenge was to create a distinctive animation style that would set the tempo for the site and utilize various depths of field. We chose to pan horizontally, allowing each layer to introduce new imagery and content, and added audio clips from the movie to introduce sections and aid the narrative.
"As designers and developers, the opportunity to create a project that breaks ground and best represents the client's product—and in this case an entire culture—allowed us to push the boundaries of interactive design. And, having Carlos Mare 139 Rodriguez's insight into the culture assured that the end result would be both credible and accurate."