"Easily the most original company site I saw. Even with the amount of content, the site is quick to load and very readable. Awesome!" —juror Oscar Llarena
"Playful, engaging, persuasive, unfolding, smart, click-and-drag, horizontal, vertical, never-ending, layout." —juror Véronique Brossier
Overview: Gracefully scaling to fill large displays, this new site for a Toronto-based ad agency mixes campaign case studies, reels and agency information with an eccentric mix of facts and ephemera. One of the goals of the redesign was to inject some personality and fun into the classic portfolio model; from bizarre employee facts and scratch-able radio spots to the dense typography and rambling copy, the site rewards a spirit of exploration and discovery. Content is presented in a series of collapsible columns that are horizontally and vertically scrollable and multiple methods for navigating reward exploration and accommodate instinctive user responses (some people will simply drag, some will try out the arrows, some will immediately access the main menu) so, although it's somewhat experimental and interesting, usability is never compromised.
• In addition to being completely modular—new work is added as a new column—custom work selections are easily created for pitches and prospective clients, and published under separate URLs.
* “Grip Facts” are populated through an XML file generated by an internal employee survey that new employees take when they join the studio (answers are automatically removed from the database when someone leaves).
* The site is also displayed on a large touch-enabled iMac in the agency’s lobby; the dragging interface is perfectly suited to the touchscreen environment.
• Since launch, the average time spent on the site is close to nine minutes per visit.
Comments by Colin Craig:
What was the most challenging aspect of the project? "With agency Web sites, the biggest challenge is always just getting started. Prior to this, we had an ancient 'built-in-a-day' site that really didn't do justice to Grip's capabilities. As a crazy-busy agency with so much client work coming through, just finding the time to design and produce our own site was nearly impossible. And because we were the client, we had to be careful not to get stuck in an endless loop contemplating all the possibilities and options." Is the audience you were targeting a particularly difficult one to reach? "I think most people assume that prospective clients are the intended audience for an agency site; while they're certainly a key target, gaining the attention of prospective and current employees is equally important. It was important to us to go beyond a restrained and minimal portfolio site to provide a sense of the strong culture and personality of Grip. The copywriting and fun facts column reflects our culture, respect for employees and our sense of fun and I hope it will continue to appeal to that employee audience and (actually, potential employees have responded really well to them)."