Background: “The new site functions as the Mellon Foundation’s digital town square; it’s both a core storytelling platform and a resource, both meant to serve Mellon’s grantees and enrich a broader, interested public,” says Vanessa Correa. “As Mellon is the nation’s largest funder of the arts, culture and humanities, the foundation’s new digital home broadens the focus beyond the organization itself to foreground the work of artists, scholars and leaders that Mellon supports through its grants: visionaries that make a real, tangible impact to move us toward a more just society.”
Design core: “The digital redesign underscores Mellon’s president Elizabeth Alexander’s vision for the organization: one that centers social justice in Mellon’s grantmaking in the arts and humanities,” says Jenny Hirsch. “Visitors can now learn not only through Mellon’s voice, but through the voice of its grantees, staff, experts and broader network with a variety of media, such as video, audio and slideshows. In our digital work, we were lucky to leverage a dynamic brand—created by Eddie Opara at Pentagram—that incorporates different shapes, colors and materials to reflect the diversity of grants and grantees that Mellon supports.”
Favorite details: “The impactful presentation of the work of Mellon and its grantees through a variety of media, use of motion, the adaptive color system and an intuitive navigation combine to evoke a sense of delight while the user interface rewards curiosity,” says Pierre Tardif.
Navigation structure: “It flexes for different levels of familiarity with Mellon,” Hirsch says. “For visitors who might not be familiar with the scope of Mellon’s work, we invited them to ‘Explore Ideas’; we collected the great work enabled across grantmaking areas and organized it around essential topics and ideas that help a broader audience know where to dive in. For users looking for specific information about Mellon, they are able to find more information about Mellon’s mission, staff and grantmaking areas in ‘Inside Mellon,’ as well as any other important updates. For folks looking for a specific topic, staff member or grant, they can easily search and get what they need quickly.”
Technology: “With the new site, there’s now a solid, extensible foundation that uses best-in-class, modern technologies for the Mellon team to build on,” says Hirsch. “We at Work & Co worked closely with Mellon to create an entirely new architecture, employing a range of frameworks and third-party partners including Azure Active Directory; the headless CMS Contentful; the Fluxx grants database; GraphQL for APIs; Next.js for its super-fast loading times, image optimization and code bundling, among other features; Netlify for its front-end hosting; Splash’s event marketing platform; the Storybook component library; and YouTube for video. For the back end, we used AWS for its infrastructure cloud platform, configured with an extensive array of services across monitoring, security, access management, BE APIs and load balancing; Kotlin for its API, data migration and data ingestion services; and the database MongoDB.”