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Responses by Maxime Berard, developer; and Julien Derreveaux, creative director, Wookmama Design Studio.

Background: “The website showcases my photography projects,” says Julien Derreveaux. “I don’t use photography as a storytelling tool—especially during the last few years—but more as a way to create graphic work with emotional qualities. So I assume the website attracts photographers as well as designers or anyone with graphic sensibilities.”

Design core: “We wanted the website to be very graphic and visually rich but free of superfluous or unnecessary elements,” says Derreveaux. “The main design decision was to split the gallery into two columns with no margin, inconspicuously fold the navigation and keep the usability simple.”

Favorite details: “I think the website perfectly reflects my approach as a photographer,” Derreveaux says. “Most projects are fairly abstract and better appreciated when seen as a whole with images in conjunction with one another, which, from my point of view, highlights the graphic quality of the work. Like many photographers, I respond more to photography books and prints, so a digital portfolio is a bit of a challenge in that, to me, it’s often less powerful than a tangible physical object. But I believe Maxime and I were able to bring some of the qualities that a good book provides into this simple digital experience.”

Challenges: “Because the website is consumed on devices with both landscape and portrait orientations, the main challenge was to find a grid solution that is appealing on any device,” says Derreveaux. “The majority of the images are vertically oriented, which works perfectly on mobile, but we needed the desktop version to be pleasing as well.

“Another challenge was not to overdo things and keep it minimal!” Derreveaux continues. “It’s so easy and tempting to add features, details and fancy animations, among other things. We went through a lot of iterations to land on this simple layout with minimal functionalities.”

Navigation structure: “The navigation is kind of hidden while being constant,” says Derreveaux. “A lot of my work is set with various angles: Some images are flipped or rotated. Even the name of my last series is ONOW, which is the word MONO rotated 180 degrees. It was this title that inspired the 90-degree orientation of the navigation; when I was working on the layout design, I liked the idea that this title could be read from both directions.”

Technology: “We use no fancy technologies on the website,” says Maxime Berard. “The back end is a WordPress with some custom post types to enable Julien to manage his galleries. On the template side of WordPress, I used a library called Timber that allows the use of Twig, which is way cleaner than the messy default WordPress template files. The front end uses just a few animations from the GSAP library, a Masonry grid, and some LazyLoad to fasten and smooth out the loading of the website, which can have a decent amount of images on each of its pages. We also used a library to detect the dominant color of an image to show color blocks before the image loads.”

julienderreveaux.co

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