Responses by Mélanie Hubert-Crozet, creative director and art director, monopo.
Background: As the global leader in badminton, Yonex has been the driving force behind badminton’s global growth. A key initiative is the Legends’ Vision, a program that brings together the most legendary athletes in badminton to create new initiatives that propel the sport forward.
At the start of 2020, the Legends’ Vision initiative shifted gears, and it was time to redesign the website to reflect the high ambitions for its new phase. The website mainly targets existing badminton fans but aims to go beyond that. We wanted to seize this opportunity to indirectly rebrand badminton as a sport and highlight the characteristics that can give it mainstream appeal: speed, power, strategy and sophistication.
Design core: The Legends’ Vision represents a vision for the future where badminton is a staple of mainstream sports. We wanted the art direction to match this ambition. Badminton had to feel like a rich, modern, multifaceted sport you want to be part of. There are two aspects that we wanted to represent in the design: this concept of portraying the future of the game and showing that badminton is highly technical and strategic.
The technical/strategic aspect was shown through 3-D-generated wire graphics, data visualization and line illustrations representing the lightning-fast decisions that need to be made on court.
To represent the future of the game, we commissioned a set of four custom artworks created by Hashmukh Kerai to introduce the four pillars of the Legends’ Vision program. Designed to make people excited about where the game is headed, the artwork shows badminton in an abstract, almost futuristic light.
Time constraints: The tricky element was that we were working towards a fixed live date: the Yonex All England Badminton Championships in Birmingham. The Legends were scheduled to perform, so it was an immovable deadline. The final website was not affected by this, but we made sure that we had the option of doing a staggered release of just the core pages in case any problems came up.
Navigation structure: We wanted to focus on the vision of the Legends, rather than just celebrating their athletic prowess. To do that, we built the website around four key pages that each go deep into one pillar of the Legends’ Vision program. The homepage has a horizontal scroll functionality that prominently features the four pillars. Each pillar page then takes an editorial approach, going through different case studies and providing deeper information through “hotspot” buttons. Aside from the pillar pages, we also built a set of secondary pages to celebrate the five Legends and show upcoming live events.
Technology: A custom build was necessary to have full design flexibility. So we built a bespoke API system on top of a WordPress CMS, stripped to its bare bones. The template system has been disabled as we built the front end entirely from scratch, coupled with an API relying on the use of several custom fields. This enables a lightning-fast experience on both ends of the website. We also enhanced the SEO through Server-Side Rendering and Vue.js.