Responses by Bryan Cohen, senior producer; Carolyn Centeno Milton, group branding director; Benoit Lemoine, associate design director; Powell May, engineering director; Quentin Renard, group engineering director; and Mark Jarecke, managing director, AREA 17.
Background: about.nike.com is Nike’s new communications platform catering to audiences worldwide, ranging from investors to media to athletes at every level. AREA 17 collaborated with Nike’s communications team to create a centralized, original platform that uses storytelling, value-based content and proof points to express Nike’s mission: to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete—if you have a body, you are an athlete.
Design core: The singularity of the site design was shaped in part by four core design principles, which our team determined in the early stages of our partnership with Nike. These principles guided the design process throughout: gravitas, meaning Nike’s impact on the world; expansive, meaning the global nature of the brand; journalistic, meaning the capturing of real moments; and transformational, or showing impact in action. These design principles were applied to the visual elements of the site and infused into the site’s content to evoke Nike’s vitality and substance.
Another unique feature is the site’s interchange with Nike’s recognizable visual identity. While we referred to the brand’s iconic typography and recognizable color palette, we made a point to distinguish the platform through an editorial aesthetic, including layout, in-situ photography and animated graphics all underpinned by a common core strategy: to communicate Nike’s human-centered spirit.
Favorite details: When we began working with Nike’s communications team, we quickly understood the goal was not only to deliver a best-in-class corporate site, but also a publishing system that would empower its team with the curatorial tools necessary to tell Nike’s story with impact. Our solution was to deliver a dynamic, scalable and sophisticated design system to support its immediate and future needs.
Ultimately, this engagement rewarded our team because it enabled us to deliver value at multiple levels. We delivered an engaging, rich experience driven by a user-centric content strategy for site visitors while also delivering a robust publishing platform that increased the efficiency and flexibility of the communications team.
Challenges: As a complex global organization, Nike has an immense ecosystem, and the process of auditing and synthesizing the ecosystem’s content into strategic categories to meet user and organizational needs was equally complex. Working hand in hand with Nike’s communications team, we reviewed 24 unique properties related to its corporate perspective on the world, including microsites, product collections, public statements, resources and sites for specific initiatives. We then worked collaboratively with Nike’s internal teams to consolidate these insights into a centralized hub featuring three editorial sections: Stories, a biannual digital magazine that covers a theme relevant to Nike’s current focus; Impact, a hub that captures the scope of Nike’s efforts to break barriers around the world; and Newsroom, a page that hosts Nike’s press releases, announcements, reports and statements for journalists.
Technology: The site is built with Twill, an open-source CMS we developed. Through an API, Twill is decoupled from the front end, which is built on React and Next.
The complex content management needs for Nike required a publishing workflow that supported multiple rounds of approval and protected publishing privileges. To this end, we introduced a new Twill extension built from the ground up. In addition to Twill’s standard and robust draft system, our extension provides fine-grained, role-based access to content creation as well as the ability to assign custom workflow steps allowing Nike’s communication team to ensure the website’s content is always accurate.