Responses by Folker Wrage, chief executive officer, Leavingstone
Background: Georgian millennials, the most active advocates of democratic principles in their country, aren’t aware of the first democratic republic of Georgia and have no clue how progressive their country was more than 100 years ago. Our challenge was to provide information about Georgia’s first democratic republic with the idea of continuing the history of Georgia. Since the site’s target audience is a group who are very active on social media and get all their information from the web, we had to present this information in an appealing way, combining content and visuals. The site supported a social media campaign, gathering visitors in one place to learn more about this part of Georgian history.
Design features: The website’s main style mixes Bauhaus and Dadaism, as these styles were very popular in Georgia from 1918 to 1921. For each highlighted historical figure, we created web versions of their “home museums,” using their personal possessions alongside detailed stories that brought the audience closer to these people. In addition, each page features elements that personify their subjects: for example, a diary tells the story of national heroine Maro Makashvili, whose deeds became known after her diary became famous; composer Zakaria Paliashvili’s page features a clip from his most well-known work; for Ekvtime Takaishvili’s page, we implemented the concept of a book, as he was a prolific writer; and we used the color blue for the symbolist art movement “Tsisperqantselebi,” Georgian for blue horns.
Challenges: The most challenging aspect of the project was to create content and a design which would closely tie into each individual, reflecting their character and spirit. Another big challenge was to provide a plethora of information in an interesting, enjoyable way that does not intervene with understanding the core meaning of each text. In addition, we had a very short deadline—just 45 days to develop the website from scratch. Nevertheless, we had a lot of restless nights, but it proved that if we believe in an idea, there are no such thing as limited resources.
Navigation design: We drew inspiration from books, old leaflets and documentaries. Our aim was to make something that would captivate visitors and demand their full attention. We decided to make every page unique, and this materialized in the navigation as well. It was not an easy choice because it meant we had to develop different solutions for each page. Depending on the page they’re on, visitors can see various events on horizontal and vertical scrolls, discover stories within interactive books, observe events as they develop on timelines, and much more.