Responses by Satu Pelkonen, visual design manager, Squarespace.
Background: Squarespace is the all-in-one platform for websites, domains, online stores and marketing tools that powers the online presence for anyone who wants to stand out. We have some amazing customers using our platform, and it’s important to us that we showcase their stories. Makers & Dreamers was designed as a mobile-first online experience to celebrate the end of 2019 by spotlighting four Squarespace customers who respectively had a major year.
We selected four unique creators, artist Antwaun Sargent, the design duo Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough behind menswear line Abasi Rosborough, award-winning restaurant owners Kyo Pang and Moonlynn Tsai of Kopitiam, and athlete and mental health advocate Noah Rubin, and invited them to share their stories as a meditation on the past year and creative inspiration for the year to come.
Design core: We wanted to try a completely new format, which is why we designed Makers & Dreamers to be experienced specifically on mobile devices. We thought that was a nice way to segue into 2020—a time that feels more connected to mobile devices than ever before—and really challenge ourselves to create mobile-first content. For the design of the experience, we wanted to reflect our brand in a new way by pairing beautiful typography with a tone-on-tone color palette that is also reflected in the photo art direction. We also played around with incorporating different types of content for each customer spotlight, so in addition to written interviews and videos, we interspersed each feature with vibrant portraits and audio clips.
Favorite details: I’m really proud of the team and the amazing job they did on this project. Everything was created with our in-house creative team, all the way from content creation to art direction to web design. I love how it all came together.
I’m also a sucker for old school Magic 8-balls so, I’m really glad we decided to add that fun little easter egg at the end of the experience to brighten up everyone’s day.
Challenges: Building projects mobile-first isn’t a new thing from a web-design standpoint, but oftentimes, the content is still created to be viewed on bigger screens. We tried to approach the site from this perspective: “What if desktop screens didn’t exist? How would we do this?” I’m really proud that we were able to find a way to shoot in a way that still looks gorgeous no matter what device you're viewing the site on—especially the video content. It was refreshing to approach design from a different viewpoint.
Navigation structure: Because a lot of mobile browsing is either swiping or scrolling, we wanted the experience to feel very fluid on mobile. That’s why we chose to create one continuous scroll that takes you through each individual story without having to do a lot of jumping back and forth. The color palette behind each feature is distinct and offers a unique mood for each creator. We really liked how the experience flowed, yet was succinct so that you got a good sense of who these creators are and what they accomplished in 2019.
Technology: There’s a fun little feature that we coded into the end of the experience just to add an Easter egg moment on the site. Once you’ve read about what these inspiring customers accomplished in the last year, we wanted to help you look to the future by sharing some predictions for 2020. It’s meant to be like a modern Magic 8-ball. You press and hold down on the website and a prediction for the new year appears. They’re all pretty cheeky—like, “This year, you will learn the hard way that no useful work texts are sent after 10 p.m.,” or “This year, your shower thoughts will meet your bank account and they’ll fall in love.” We had a lot of fun coming up with those.