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Responses by Fidel Pena, designer and cofounder, Underline Studio; and Mathew Sandford, partner and designer, Pear Interactive.

Background: “Toronto-based Jaberi Dance Theatre (JDT) creates contemporary and interdisciplinary performance art defined by the interface of performance, politics, people and places,” says Fidel Pena. “Its previous brand and site did not reflect that vision but instead felt and looked like a site for an entertainment-led dance company. We were brought in to portray a more accurate image of JDT. Its website ”

Larger picture: “Besides the website, we also designed the JDT’s new logo, printed brochures and stationery,” says Pena. “We hope to continue this working relationship with the theater as we admire its work.”

Design core: “The main design elements are clean typography and strong imagery that clearly presents JDT’s work,” Pena explains. “Because of the simplicity of the design, we knew we needed outstanding photography and smooth transitions and functionality.”

Challenges: “Making some of the complexity in the site’s content seem simple,” says Pena. “For example, there are several categories and types of projects. We wanted the site to feel accessible but exciting without seeming complex.”

Technology: “Authored in WordPress, the JDT site leverages the Advanced Custom Fields plug-in as the foundation for an entirely customized administrative interface,” says Mathew Sandford. “Beyond simply providing a more intuitive content-maintenance experience, it features a number of specialized tools for managing the site’s device-responsive attributes and nuanced design vocabulary. Selection and application of preauthored logo animations, custom video aspect ratios, animation trigger and timing control, and variable text indentation—all are easily assigned from the site’s back end. This breadth of control encourages a more dynamic and rhythmic—but still disciplined—content presentation.

Special technical features: “For content types that demand a higher frequency of update—News, Publications, Courses and Conversation Series—the site will, by default, automatically organize and distribute content as it’s made available,” Sandford says. “This includes promoting like content—lateral navigation—based on custom relational taxonomies. However, where there is a need to break from simple date-based publication, the site also provides a manual override—the ability to promote content arbitrarily in response to events or trends. This affords JDT’s administrative team the opportunity to choose when and where to focus their time and effort in maintaining the site, as well as a means to ensure that vital content is given the attention it deserves.”

jaberidt.com

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