Responses by Artem Militonian, designer.
Background: I was born in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, and while I am now based in St. Petersburg, Russia, I love to visit my homeland. The idea to make this project came to me after I visited Armenia a couple of years ago. I was amazed by the culture, people and attitude towards tradition. The country welcomes you with a sunny disposition and also sees you off as sunnily; as the poet Yeghishe Charents once said, “I love my sweet Armenia’s word, which is filled with the taste of sun...”
While many people know Armenia as a very small country somewhere in the region of Western Asia, few know that Armenia is one of the oldest countries in the world, the earliest information about which is found in the ancient writings of Herodotus and Xenophon. Yerevan itself is actually older than Rome. Armenia has an incredibly rich culture that cannot be told in a single generation—and a lot will remain unspoken—but the thought came to me to try and make a contribution toward popularizing Armenian culture.
I conceived this as a nonprofit cultural project, and originally I just posted it as a design concept on Behance. But the work garnered a huge number of views, awards from Behance, and generally created a lot of noise. After some time, I thought, ‘Why don’t I develop this site?’ And so everything began to spin into place.
Design core: It is quite difficult to isolate something specific about the site’s design because it feels like everything works together. Of course, I implemented a number of fashionable tricks—for example, using trendy fonts and colors. But what I like more is that the site turned out to be kind of a long read, almost like an excursion. The idea was for the site’s visitor to just scroll and gradually discover something new. You may notice that the site’s title is “100 Armenians” and there are not 100 of them on the site. I wanted the site to be a preview for now, as it would be quite voluminous to make 100 pages.
Challenges: I created this site alone without developers. But when there is a goal and the desire to meet it, anything can be achieved. I studied a lot of material and got to know a lot of new people. I would like this project to remain forever in the culture of Armenia and to help more and more people get to know this wonderful country.
Navigation structure: The site uses a rather nonstandard navigation: horizontal scrolling is replaced by vertical scrolling—and vice versa. Just like in a museum, visitors don’t solely walk forward or to the side. I wanted to combine these two modalities on the site so that people wouldn’t get tired of the rhythm.
Technology: This might come as a shock to some, but I built the site without a single line of code. To make this project, I discovered the excellent website builder Readymag, which enabled me to do everything. It seems that we’re entering a new era on the web, and the very fact that this site has already received so many international awards only confirms this for me.